March 25, 2019

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Selinger on-board with NDP plan for child care

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/8/2015 (1308 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA -- The federal NDP promise to create a universal $15-a-day, child-care program would be welcome in Manitoba, at least under the current government.

Premier Greg Selinger told the Free Press Monday he hasn't spoken to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair about the details of the program or what kind of money Manitoba would be expected to pony up for it. However, he said, affordable child care is a priority for Manitoba, which is why the province was the first to sign on to a national daycare plan under the former Liberal government in 2005.

"We'd be right at the top to sign on again," Selinger said in a phone interview.

A spokesman for Tory Leader Brian Pallister said that party won't comment on the issue right now. With a lead in the polls provincially, this all could land on Pallister's lap after the provincial election in April.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/8/2015 (1308 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — The federal NDP promise to create a universal $15-a-day, child-care program would be welcome in Manitoba, at least under the current government.

Premier Greg Selinger told the Free Press Monday he hasn't spoken to NDP Leader Tom Mulcair about the details of the program or what kind of money Manitoba would be expected to pony up for it. However, he said, affordable child care is a priority for Manitoba, which is why the province was the first to sign on to a national daycare plan under the former Liberal government in 2005.

"We'd be right at the top to sign on again," Selinger said in a phone interview.

A spokesman for Tory Leader Brian Pallister said that party won't comment on the issue right now. With a lead in the polls provincially, this all could land on Pallister's lap after the provincial election in April.

How much Manitoba would be willing or need to put on the table is unknown. The federal NDP promise is to spend $1.9 billion a year over the next four years to introduce 370,000 new spaces that cost no more than $15 a day per child. By 2023, that will ramp up to $5 billion a year and one million spaces.

The provinces are expected to contribute 40 per cent of the cost. If Ottawa's contribution of $5 billion is 60 per cent, that would make the provincial contribution about $3.3 billion.

The province's per capita share of that would be about $130 million. Manitoba will spend $156 million this year to subsidize daycare fees. The NDP says it would take provincial investments like that into account when negotiating agreements with each province.

But the federal Liberals say the NDP is promising a pie-in-the-sky program that requires billions of provincial dollars cash-strapped provinces just don't have.

Liberal MP John McCallum said on the weekend "If the provinces don't come up with the money, there won't be child-care spaces."

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals said this week without any details of the plan, Ontario can't possibly say it will buy in. This after Ontario backed a provincial NDP motion last fall to support the NDP daycare plan. However, Ontario Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne is now actively campaigning for Justin Trudeau. The federal Liberals have said they will deliver an income-based child-care program but haven't yet unveiled it during this election.

Mulcair defended his plan Monday on the campaign trail in the greater Toronto area, noting how universal child care in Quebec helped get more women working and spurred economic activity.

"This isn't just good for families," Mulcair said in a speech Monday. "It is also very good for the economy."

The NDP plan relies on an economic analysis of Quebec's 20-year-old universal child-care plan which says it increased the employment rate in Quebec, added 70,000 more women to the workforce and generates $1.49 in taxes for the provincial and federal governments for every $1 spent on subsidies.

But unlike promises to increase corporate taxes, cut small-business taxes or increase the guaranteed income supplement, Mulcair cannot create a national child-care program on his own.

Child care is provincial jurisdiction, and much as the Liberals had to go to every province in 2005 and negotiate individual deals with each province for its $5-billion, five-year national child-care program, Mulcair and the NDP would have to do the same should Canadians hand them the keys to 24 Sussex Dr. Oct. 19.

Manitoba was to receive $176 million over five years from the Liberal plan a decade ago, but that agreement, along with those signed by the other nine provinces in 2005, were torn up when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was elected in January 2006.

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca

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