Childcare funding, another promise

Child care is bandied about every election. The Liberals promise it, like they have since 1993. The Conservatives under Harper say they know a better way and send parents $100 for every child.

The trouble is these parties make child care a carrot for voters. The carrot was held out there by Brian Mulroney back in 1989 and became a central part of the Jean Chretien Liberals infamous "Red Book". Each of the following four elections the Liberals promised a National Day care plan. Harper said he was going to give money to parents, thus ending the chance of a "real" child care program.

Paul Martin implemented part of a program, thanks to a budget the NDP helped him with.

Electoral politics took over again and Martin decided to call an election. Martin introduced a budget that the NDP told them they would not support. The budget called for 50 billion dollars of tax cuts for big business. The previous Martin budget was also to include the tax cut, but in turn for the NDP support, Martin delayed the plan to cut corporate taxes.

Martin was well aware his budget would be defeated. He was counting on it. Martin and the Liberals felt they had nothing to lose. If the NDP supported the budget, they could continue in power and their corporate tax cuts would go ahead. The National Child care plan could then be implemented albeit much slower in its implementation. If the Liberals lost a budget vote, Martin could count on the carrots, a national day care program, a new deal with first nations.

People didn't even sniff at Martin's carrots. The old tried and true enticements did not work. Martin lost and the Liberals have voted for every single Conservative budget (some by pretending they weren't even there) Harper has brought in. Budgets that have stopped funding of child care, that have cut taxes to large corporations, and reduced the ability of the federal government to provide services.

The next election will see the Liberal party promising child care again and the big one will be, no new taxes. The Conservatives will promise no new taxes and likely promise not to cut anything.

No party elected in Canada can promise we will get anywhere without new revenue, and tax revenue is likely the only place to get it.

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