James Calls on Campbell to Protect B.C. Childcare Spaces
VICTORIA--Premier Gordon Campbell must act to protect funding for B.C. childcare programs, B.C. NDP Leader Carole James said today.
On January 31st, the B.C. Liberal government quietly passed the deadline for releasing the Child Care Action Plan, a key requirement of the federal-provincial Early Learning and Childcare Agreement. Signed last September, the five-year deal provided $633 million for B.C. children under six.
“This week, the B.C. Liberals were expected to reveal their Child Care Action Plan. But instead of releasing it, the Premier opted to stay silent on the issue,” said James. “Today, I am calling on Mr. Campbell join with other provincial leaders in demanding that the new Conservative government live up to the existing federal funding agreement with the provinces on childcare.”
Provincial governments across the country are calling on Prime Minister-designate Stephen Harper to respect the federal childcare agreements already in place. Ministers responsible for childcare from the provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario have already spoken out, as has Quebec Premier Jean Charest.
“The Premier has a responsibility to advocate for the interests of ordinary British Columbians,” said James. “Waitlists for childcare are already long, demand for childcare is growing rapidly, and B.C. families cannot afford to lose ground. The Premier recognized these issues when he committed to building quality, affordable and accessible childcare in September. I’d like to see him take a leadership role and advocate for the interests of B.C. families on this issue.”
B.C. NDP Childcare critic Diane Thorne added that those who are urging Harper to respect the existing agreements are warning of the problems that lie ahead if the agreements are cancelled. Thorne said that the Conservative plan to terminate the funding agreement will create uncertainty for the future of B.C. programs that rely on federal funding.
“The Premier must work with the other provinces and the Prime Minister to maintain this agreement,” said Thorne.