EDMONTON—“Alberta families are tired of waiting” says Lynn Odynski, with Public Interest Alberta. “The time has come for the Alberta government to offer all parents the choice of access to a quality, affordable and accountable early learning and childcare system that they can trust.”
Professional associations, unions, seniors, students and community organizations joined together with Public Interest Alberta, a non-partisan provincial advocacy organization, to challenge the Klein government to stop dragging its feet and commit to sign a deal with the Canadian government.
“We are very concerned that the Alberta government may not uphold the four QUAD principles - quality, universally inclusive, accessible and developmentally focused - that are key to implementing a public system of childcare”, says Odynski. “While Children’s Services Minister Heather Forsyth is now finally saying that an agreement may be possible, the real concern is what the rest of the Klein cabinet or caucus may decide.”
“Minister Forsyth keeps repeating the clichés of choice and flexibility without explaining what she means”, says Odynski. “Choice and flexibility, alone, are not going to solve the problem. When it comes to quality childcare in Alberta many families have no real choice.
Quality, regulated childcare is often not affordable or available to those who need it to work or study.”The Canadian government announced a formal agreement with Manitoba and Saskatchewan last week. Public Interest Alberta feels it is time for Albertans to take action and has started the campaign with a Mother Day message: “Instead of flowers for Mother’s Day, give me a national childcare system.
Public Interest Alberta will be advertising the campaign and has set up a process via its website for Albertans to send an e-mail to their MLA and the Minister of Children’s Services or is asking people to phone the government to express their support for childcare.
“This is not just an issue for childcare workers or parents; it is a public interest issue. Like public education and healthcare, everyone benefits from high quality affordable childcare and so all Albertans are asked to join us in this campaign to ensure that childcare is an idea whose time has comes,” says Odynski.