EDMONTON—Public Interest Alberta is calling on the provincial government to stop playing politics and get on with establishing an accessible, affordable and high quality child care and early childhood education system.
The Alberta Government announced yesterday an on-line consultation on Alberta's child care programs that is so superficial and rushed that it will be meaningless. The consultation is limited to an online survey to be completed May 12th. The government provides information on its child care programs without any financial figures and gives no background information about the larger political picture and what the ramification of each choice is.
"The Alberta government is either utterly disorganized, or they are playing federal - provincial politics with child care," says Bill Moore-Kilgannon, Executive Director of the provincial advocacy organization, Public Interest Alberta . "The Alberta government has been negotiating with the federal government for months on this issue, so why when they are supposedly about to sign a deal are they consulting with Albertans about what we want?”
"It looks to us like the Klein government is going to play along with the federal conservative party and delay signing on to the national child care program while they consult Albertans." Steven Harper in a speech to the Cambridge, Ontario Chamber of Commerce earlier this week said "the Conservatives don't support a national child care system that will drive taxes up so high that young couples won't be able to afford to have children.
"The question Albertans need answered is if the Klein government agrees with Steven Harper that improving child care is a waste of tax payers’ money. "The government has been talking about child care for years but not really willing to commit the necessary funds to make a difference," says Moore-Kilgannon.
"If you look at the past five provincial budgets, you see that the Albertars's funding for child care has not even kept pace with inflation and population growth. With less than ¼ of one percent of government revenues going into child care and only $3.22 per capita of personal income tax and a $1.63 per capita of corporate income tax, this issue is hardly breaking the provincial bank.”
"We need a clear commitment from the Klein government to develop the potential of every child and to recognize that providing funds for high-quality child care is one of the wisest investments we can make in Alberta ’s future," says Moore-Kilgannon. It is time for the federal and provincial government to stop playing politics and make the needed improvements a reality"