Open Letter from Ontario NDP Education Critic Lisa Gretzky on Affordable Child Care

Lisa Gretzky, Ontario NDP Education Critic and MPP for Windsor West, released the following open letter regarding the Liberal government’s mixed messages on affordable child care.

August 24, 2015

Hon. Kathleen Wynne
Premier of Ontario

Room 281, Main Legislative Building
Queen's Park
Toronto, ON  M7A 1A1

Dear Premier Wynne:

I am writing to seek urgent clarification of troubling comments made by the Minister of Education regarding your commitment to affordable child care.

Young families across Ontario are struggling to find quality child care that they can afford. Before the last election, you acknowledged the need to improve child care in Ontario – and you promised that families could expect better from your government. 

Most significantly, on November 18, 2014, members of the Liberal Caucus unanimously endorsed NDP Leader Andrea Horwath’s motion to “partner with the Federal Government to ensure that every parent in Ontario has access to childcare at a cost of no more than $15 a day per child.” Your MPPs made it clear that your government would work collaboratively to deliver on this important commitment. The Minister of the Environment and Climate Change told the Legislature, “I will certainly be actively supporting it,” and Liberal MPP Indira Naidoo-Harris said, “We would like to work with a willing federal partner… All of Canada’s federal parties should be talking about child care.”

Ontarians took your government at its word to put the child care needs of families ahead of your own partisan interests.

That’s why it is so disappointing to see your Liberal government playing politics with our kids during this federal election campaign. Over the weekend, I was surprised and troubled to hear Education Minister Liz Sandals publicly attack the NDP plan to deliver $15 a day child care to a million children across Canada, despite your own government’s endorsement of that plan in the Legislature.

As you and Minister Sandals are well aware, the NDP is the only “willing federal partner” with a plan to deliver on this commitment for families in Ontario and across the country. You also know that Tom Mulcair has repeatedly stated that the NDP will work closely with provincial governments to deliver on this commitment and to meet the unique needs of each province. He has specifically committed to work closely with Ontario in recognition of our unique circumstances, such as our existing full-day kindergarten programming. 

Yet, instead of reaffirming your willingness to work together, Minister Sandals chose to attack the only plan from a federal political party to work with the Province of Ontario to deliver $15 a day child care.

Worst of all, Minister Sandals claims that she has no idea how $15 a day child care “would impact Ontario families.” That is a deeply troubling statement because the answer could not be more clear: Families cannot afford to wait any longer for the affordable child care they need. Parents who expect your government to put their family’s best interests ahead of the best interests of the Liberal Party must be sorely disappointed. 

I urge you to publicly reject your Minister’s attempt to play politics with this important issue – and to recommit your government to work with a willing federal partner to deliver $15 a day child care to all Canadian families.

It’s time to put Ontario families ahead of the Liberal Party’s political games. Parents and kids deserve better than to see your government attacking the only plan to deliver $15 a day child care to families here in Ontario and across the country.

 

Sincerely, 

Lisa Gretzky, MPP
Ontario NDP Education Critic