Big Daycare: Advanced Education Minister Melanie Mark and B.C. Premier John Horgan announce additional early childhood educator training spaces, Langara College, Vancouver, Sept. 5, 2019. (B.C. government)

B.C. VIEWS: It’s an uphill battle to build the nanny state

Training positions added, filling them is another question

The Quebec dream of universal subsidized state daycare is coming to B.C., but slowly.

Premier John Horgan signalled the priority he places on $10-a-day child care by personally making an announcement last week that an additional 300 training spaces are being added to the province’s post-secondary school system. The $2.7 million over three years will double the number of training spaces across the province to 800.

(In politics, funding commitments are announced over and over, first as a global budget figure, then annual or regional amounts, unless the priority quietly changes or taxpayers’ money runs low. This provides a steady diet of “Gainsburgers” to feed the news media, as U.S. political strategists used to say.)

The slogan of $10-a-day child care was embraced by Horgan’s NDP in the 2017 election, then dropped as pilot projects indicated some people get it for less, or even free. Now the slogan is back for some reason, as segments of B.C.’s $1 billion commitment to build, staff and subsidize new daycare spaces roll out.

Funding additional early childhood educator training is one thing; getting students to fill the seats is another. The B.C. government is pushing to graduate more care aides for seniors homes as well, and competing for the same pool of potential employees.

When the $1 billion child care budget came out in February 2018, UBC economics professor Mariana Adshade questioned whether it is practical.

“In this current economy, where unemployment is at record lows, we’re going to find 6,000 daycare workers?” Adshade said. “It has none of the benefits of being a teacher. It pays essentially minimum wage. You work 12 months of the year. I do not know where they think these workers are coming from.”

The NDP government wants to increase wages too, and not just the minimum wage. A daycare operator told the Saanich News last year that she couldn’t open a new location because offering $19 to $21 an hour plus benefits wasn’t enough.

RELATED: Lack of staff prevents B.C. daycare from opening

RELATED: B.C., Ottawa launch $200-a-month daycare pilot

Since we’re approaching a federal election, I’ll suggest that immigration is one place B.C. will get new workers for these fields. That’s certainly the history of filling lower-paid jobs.

The federal election may also continue a philosophical discussion of the role of the state vs. the family. Kris Sims, B.C. director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, has described the NDP’s vision as “Big Daycare,” where early childhood educators run state daycares so parents can go to work at other jobs.

This isn’t how child-rearing takes place for the majority of parents. For many, it’s informal, involving extended family members, or even “illegal” as people take in daycare children without licensing and inspection.

The NDP’s nanny state vision is similar to its concept of health care, where huge public resources are being directed at making sure no one pays for their medically necessary procedures. An epic battle against private clinics drags on in B.C. courts, as the resources of federal and provincial governments are poured into delaying tactics to outlast or outlive Cambie Surgery Centre founder Dr. Brian Day, in a case the governments fear they will eventually lose.

Quebec’s daycare is criticized for being affordable only because Ottawa send billions to Quebec in transfer payments, and for helping mainly professionals who have the resources to be first in line.

Here in B.C., NDP politicians are outraged by suggestions one parent might opt to stay home.

Tom Fletcher is B.C. legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press Media. Email: tfletcher@blackpress.ca


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislature

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

School District 82’s first week of in-person class is in the books

First classes held since schools closed March 17 due to COVID-19 pandemic

Skeena Valley Farmers Market looks to reopen

Market switched to online format earlier this year in response to pandemic

Two per cent hotel tax coming to Terrace and Thornhill

Tax comes into effect on Sept. 1, will support Kermodei Tourism

‘Busier than we’ve ever seen’: Mountain biking around Terrace jumps

Terrace Off Road Cycling Association opened new trails on June 2

Trudeau offers $14B to provinces for anti-COVID-19 efforts through rest of year

Making a difference in municipalities is a pricey proposition

Facing changes together: your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

‘Alarmed’: Health critic calls for more data on COVID-19 in trucking industry

Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec said that level of detail is not being collected

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

No charges to be laid against 22 northern B.C. pipeline protesters

Twenty-two people were arrested in February, but Crown has decided not to pursue charges

Most Read