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Liberal’s Childcare Critic Pays a Visit to Cranbrook Facilities

On a visit to Cranbrook, the Liberal Party’s critic for Children and Family Development offered his comments on the childcare issues in Cranbrook and across the Province.

Laurie Throness, Childcare Critic and MLA for Chilliwack-Kent explained that issues with child care locally reflect a wider issue in B.C.

“We lack solutions and the NDP really has not brought forward solutions to the problems that people are facing. For instance, we have a huge shortage of early childcare workers and I don’t think the NDP has come forward with a way to bring people to staff the spaces that are open,” said Throness. “I’m sort of gathering ammunition to take back to Victoria and do my job as opposition to critique the NDP and there’s a lot to critique here from Cranbrook that says that the NDP plan is not working.”

An issue Throness highlighted that was a concern was wages for childcare educators and budget cuts to what he sees as a major issue in the Province.

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“The NDP is going to pour $675 million into childcare in the upcoming year, but they’re spending four percent of that, $26 million, on wages for early childhood educators. Four percent of $675 million on their greatest problem,” explained Throness.

A promise the NDP platformed on was $10 a day daycare, and they have yet to deliver that to the Province, Throness feels that the current B.C. Government does not intend to implement it at all.

“In 2015 dollars it would cost $1.5 billion a year plus parental fees of $400 million, plus before and after school care. I think it would be upwards of $3 billion a year and they’ve only budgeted, in the next three years, $675 million a year, they’ve flatlined their budget.”

From the perspective of the Liberal party, Throness feels that a shift in perspective is needed to address the crisis of inadequate child care.

“The NDP has brought forward their prescribed solution and they want everybody to fit into that solution. We want to be more flexible by putting parents in the driver seat, and that’s going to make all the difference. Right now, parents have to abide by the NDP system and we think that puts a lot of constraint on labour and things like that.”

In late January, Creative Childcare Consulting presented their findings of an assessment to Cranbrook City Council, presenting an image of the “child care crisis” in the area. Throness spoke of some possible solutions that Cranbrook could look into.

“I think that the group that’s behind this childcare action plan could provide more information to prospective providers that would ease that licensing process and might help to bring more spaces online,” said Throness. “The other thing is that’s possible is that municipalities can tap into funding up to a million dollars to create public spaces that are non-profit spaces that are delivered by the municipality. But, that would put a burden on municipal taxpayers so I don’t know if they would want to go that route, but that is a possibility of creating more spaces.”

More: Colossal “Child Care Crisis” Concerns Cranbrook City Council (January 28, 2020)

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