Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Spectacularly wrong and unwittingly insulting

Babble on.

It will come as no surprise to regular readers of this blog that while I appreciate his contributions to the political discussion in Canada through fine blogging, I disagree strongly on policy matters with Bart Ramson, aka Calgary Grit.

Unfortunately, with his latest post on childcare in Canada, Bart has simply reinforced my conviction that the core supporters of the Liberal Party of Canada pay only lip service to childcare choices that stray from the institutionalized daycare model they favour.

There's nothing about a National Child care plan that forces you to enroll kids in a daycare program. Parents still have a choice in how they want to raise their children. The idea of a child care program is simply to give parents the option of placing their kids in a child care program, by creating affordable spaces across the country.

It's the same principle as any government program. When the government spends money on post-secondary education, they're not forcing anyone to go to University. When the government spends money on job training, they're not forcing anyone to get job training. (Babbler's bold)

I give you the full quote only for context; the problem lies in the bolded text.

It is almost universally accepted that having a university education, having job training, is far better than not having it.

It is most emphatically NOT universally accepted that regulated institutional childcare is better for children than care from parents, grandparents, or even a kind and responsible neighbour.

To suggest that funding higher education is analogous to funding a national daycare program is to suggest that stay-at-home parenting is a less desirable option. And make no mistake, the Liberals as a party wouldn't be funding institutional daycare to the exclusion of all other forms of care if they didn't believe that.

I'm sure Bart isn't trying to be offensive here. I doubt Scott Reid and John Duffy were actively working to piss Canadian parents off with their 'beer and popcorn' comments. The problem isn't the gaffe, it's the underlying belief that bleeds through even the most conciliatory and accomodating spin.

Because the fact of the matter is this: if the Liberals thought stay-at-home parenting was the equal of institutionalized daycare, they wouldn't be funding the latter and not the former.

They just don't get it. And to make matters worse, they don't even get how they've made people like me so upset. My wife and I are not second class citizens, and we're damned tired of being treated that way.

Babble off.


At 3:02 p.m., Blogger Tigre said...

I am a conservative who likes an aggressive foreign policy and minimizing social programs and a stronger education system and a good and fair healthcare system and i like cats.

At 3:04 p.m., Blogger Myrddin Wyllt said...

I just don't care anymore.
The media is so biased that between the NDP and the Libranos mis-representing conservative policies and the media helping them lie to Canadians, what's the f--king point.
You can't have a real debate of ideas in this country.
My notion now is f--k Canada, they WANT socialism and I can always move to another country where democracy is not a four letter word.
If we want Consevative morals and effective government perhaps we should all vote NDP and give them the socialist nightmare they clamor for, after 4 yrs of that Conservatives would not even have to campain, people would be so oppressed they would be clamoring for the freedoms of Conservatism.

At 3:31 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Myrddin, bleak doesn't help. Canada's worth fighting for, and I'm not leaving just because the wrong government gets voted in.

At 3:48 p.m., Blogger Ottawa Core said...

myrddin is right. it's an absolutely bleak situation for any conservatively minded citizen in this country reading and watching the main stream media. without succour from the conservative blogs (go to the site) the hopelessness of removing the present regime's power is quite palpable. hang in. the revolution begins 23jan06.

At 4:57 p.m., Blogger Joan Tintor said...

Absolutely. By making the comparison to post-secondary and job training, Calgary Grit is undermining his own argument.

One of the main justifications for government funding of college/university and job training is that they are BETTER THAN just a high school education. And government representatives repeatedly assert that they are not just better but crucial.

By funding only gov't-approved day care, the Libs are saying with dollars that it's better than the alternatives.

At 7:14 p.m., Blogger Mark said...

Hear here, D. I've said it from the beginning: this election is about ideological preference. People will vote for big government, socialist, nanny statism (Lib) or they won't (CPC). It really boils down to that.

At 7:31 p.m., Blogger postername said...

Actually, there is quite a substantial body of research suggesting that Early Childhood Education provides significant advantages. This was only the first one that popped up on a google search.

If you want to suggest that Early Childhood Education doesn't provide advantages, that's fine, but it would be nice to know on what basis you believe this.

There are lots of arguments against goverment funded programs:
- can cost more than private
- require non-users to pay
- can decrease flexibility
- etc.

But in this case, the argument against Early Childhood Education programs on the basis that they are not useful requires a bit of justification.

At 9:54 p.m., Blogger MarkC said...

There are advocacy groups on both sides of the argument, with studies to match. The problem with most studies to show the benefits of ECE is that they only study the best daycares, and compare them against the average of parents. Thinking that a government monopoly program will provide the best day care is unrealistic. Compare the average against the average, and you will get a better idea. A program that encouraged parents who have difficulty providing a good environment for their kids to put them in daycare, and that encouraged those parents who do provide a good environment to keep them at home would seem called for. In other words, a program that does not discriminate among the options.

At 9:56 p.m., Blogger Paul W. said...

Unfortunately, you're feeling what parents who choose something other than to stay-at-home feel when faced by people who say, "Don't have them if you won't raise them". Obviously, most upsetting for you is that it is your government that is telling something equally as insulting -- that your choice is wrong.

Personally, I think the Liberals would be wise to acknowledge that there is more to the childcare issue than simply creating institutional childcare spots. What support do stay-at-home parents or non-institutional daycares get for purchasing educational supplies, for providing opportunities to socialize their children, even for income supplementation?

I guess if you're a pragmatist, you would argue that the Liberals are at least attempting to solve the largest issue -- that of giving people choice, which arguably can be said to be true given the current state of wait lists. The problem is that they don't acknowledge that there is more to it than that - which leaves people feeling disenfranchised and "insulted".

At 9:58 p.m., Blogger Babbling Brooks said...

Postername, I'm not saying quality institutional care can't be good for children. I'm just saying that you can't definitively say it's better - certainly not conclusively enough to warrant exclusive funding for one option over another.

And you should know better than to quote studies selected to further a particular agenda, when the body of work remains inconclusive. Using your quick and dirty Google-search method, here's one that runs contrary to yours.

We can pull studies out of the ether until the cows come home, and the only thing we'll be able to conclude - assuming we're honest with each other - is that children need developmental opportunities and loving care in a balance that is unique to each of them as individuals.

At 11:06 p.m., Blogger Jarrett said...

I'd argue that the problem with the post-secondary analogy is actually in how different the programs work.

Post-secondary, as an adequate analogy, would be the equivalent of the Libs promising to spend twice as much as their opponents to provide bursaries the 1/8th that were the least in need of said financial aid, while at the same time arguing against more comprehensive aid programs because "those students'd just spend the money on drugs and alcohol."

At 2:05 p.m., Blogger calgarygrit said...

Any national program will benefit some people. If there was a plan to help former criminals re-aclimatize to society, no one would be saying "this is an insult to law abiding citizens - the government is telling them that their choice to obey the law is wrong". When the government funds the arts or certain industries, some people benefit - the government isn't saying that people who don't work in those industries are making the wrong choices.

By creating child care spaces, the government is saying that child care spaces are better than no child care spaces. This is so that people who have chosen to put their children into childcare have the option. This doesn't affect people who have chosen to stay at home with their children, so I don't know why it should be considered an insult to parents who this doesn't apply to.

At 8:39 p.m., Blogger AwaWiYe said...

"This doesn't affect people who have chosen to stay at home with their children"

What? They don't pay taxes?

Go on. Make the argument that some parents should subsidize other parents. Explain which families should qualify for favoured status, and how you would impede all others from being unnecessarily favoured.

At 10:37 p.m., Blogger Sean McCormick said...

"Any national program will benefit some people."

Particularly those people who own advertising agencies with connections to the Natural Governing Party.



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