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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Fund a child or a bigger bureaucracy? 
(en francais)

This article from the Windsor Star caught my eye yesterday, specifically the fear element. What I find interesting about many of these stories is while they bemoan the loss of spaces, invariably they talk about not being able to roll out new services, programs and infrastructure.

The more articles you read, the more you realize just how badly flawed these agreements negotiated by the Liberals were. They are nothing more than no strings attached money transfers to the provinces. The only provisio is that the funds be spent on something related to childcare. The Liberal's so-called 'National' daycare program is nothing more than a mish-mash of funding agreements.

Why are the City of Windsor's 'hubs' so critical to adding more capacity to the daycare system? Is this really about expanding the states early education or about funding childcare spaces?

With all the wailing and moaning going on at City Hall, I wonder if the staff have done any investigation into the second half of the Conservative plan. You know, the one that you rarely hear mentioned.

The plan will provide tax breaks of $10,000 per space to businesses and non-profits to create spaces. If the city doesn't qualify as a non-profit, then certainly many of the daycares they partner with should be able to.

Has the city done an informal survey of local business to see if there is any interest in taking advantage of the tax breaks? Maybe the local NDP MP could actually do something besides protesting and facilitate local business creating spaces. Wishfull thinking for Windsor.

We continue to persist in always seeing the glass half empty instead of stepping up to the plate and encouraging development, especially if that development is in any way associated with either business or conservatism.

The more I look at things locally, the more I realize that Windsor is the poster child for the Canadian nanny state. There's no problem that can't be solved with generous infusions of your tax dollars. When the tax dollars aren't available, nothing gets done other than more moaning.
Cuts threaten day care space(subscriber only)
Elimination of federal funding means it's 'back to Square 1' for planning

Lee Palser, Windsor Star
Published: Thursday, March 16, 2006

ESSEX - The elimination in 2007 of federal funding that allowed creation of the provincial Best Start program could mean elimination of nearly half the proposed 660 day care spaces, all the "hubs" that would have offered family oriented services and a third of school day care sites.

Ronna Warsh, general manager of social and health services for the city, which operates regional public day care, told Essex County council Wednesday that "it's back to Square 1" for planning.

That means they won't be able to keep to a timetable that would have seen the first new spaces open up April 1.

"We're going to wait and see where the province lands in the next two weeks," she said, referring to continuing discussions about Best Start program funding without federal involvement.

The operation has received about $8 million from the province for the first year. That cash won't be used until a new plan is drawn, which would be presented to city and county councils.

But, she said, in response to questions from Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara, there won't be any cost to the area's taxpayers.

"Once we know, we will ensure that basically we live within our means," she said. "We won't go to the city or the county for additional funding."

Warsh said one of the issues that must be addressed is equity across the area's five school boards. Another is placement in specific areas to deal with special needs.

"We have to go back and meet with our school board partners," she said outside the meeting. "Most of these new programs will be delivered in schools.

"We have to revise the plan because we want to make sure these programs are rolled out equitably among school boards and among the whole community in Windsor and Essex County.


"Basically we're looking at about a 50 per cent reduction in the number of spaces and we won't be able to roll out the hubs as they were envisioned with public health nurses, speech and language folks, the clinical support and other types of support in the community."

Essex MP Jeff Watson, who also addressed county council, defended his government's decision to end funding for the third year of the Best Start program.

He said outside council chambers that he has found the Tory plan of providing $1,200 child care allowance to each family is winning favour with constituents.

"I'm hearing a real consensus on this one."

He also said Ottawa has committed to spending about $1.25 billion over five years to create 125,000 child care spaces across Canada.

Paul Synnott at 8:00 a.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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