Opportunity to teach children about democracy

Yes, the gallery did show enthusiasm by clapping when some councilors voiced their support

In response to “Our View: Rowdy gallery gets its way.”

In My View: As the person who presented the request to city council to endorse the $10/Day Plan for Early Care and Learning I believe we were always just asking for the council’s support in principle. We were not ‘dumping’ anything on city council’s lap.

By endorsing the $10/Day Plan, city council would be sending a message to the provincial government that early care and learning is a critical component to a healthy B.C. society. That’s all! Child care is in crisis – fees are too high, there is not enough regulated spaces and wages are too low. We need public commitment, political will, an ‘A plan’ to address the crisis.

Rowdy gallery? What? I could understand this description if the $10/Day Plan supporters had ‘booed’ Mayor Andy Adams when he attempted several times to amend the motion that was before council when finally a city clerk stepped in and told the mayor that he could not make an amendment that would change the intent of the motion. But we didn’t.

Yes, the gallery did show enthusiasm by clapping when some councilors voiced their support for the $10/Day Plan but we had clapped throughout the evening for other items on the meeting’s agenda and the mayor did not hush us.

Childish behaviour from parents bringing children to a city council meeting past their bedtime? Really? I don’t know of many children who go to bed at 6:30 p.m. I believe parents who brought their children saw it as an opportunity to teach their children about what it means to live in a democratic society and role-model how to be a contributing and active citizen. Real-life experiences are the most powerful way children learn.

The $10/Day Plan will take 10 years to implement. Yes, there will be costs up front. One way we could pay for these costs is to use the 2014/15 budget surplus B.C. Finance Minister Mike De Jong announced in February of this year.

As we invest in creating an early care and learning system the government will get immediate returns from increased income tax and sales tax. Parents will have more money in their pockets to spend locally.

Quebec’s child care system has demonstrated that for every dollar they have invested in their system they recover $1.05, which more than pays for its 1.6 billion annual investment. In addition, Ottawa recovers 44 cents – for an additional $700 million in revenue – without having made any investment. The savings of implementing the $10/Day Plan that cares for our children and families has been calculated at up to $17 for every $1 spent. These savings represent tax dollars NOT spent over a lifetime of increased health, legal and social costs. These savings do not include the avoiding costs in lost human potential that are hard to calculate.

Can we afford not to implement the $10/Day Plan?

Dee McPhee

Early Childhood Educator

Advocate for children and families

P.S. It’s called child care not daycare – we take care of children not days!