September 8 saw the local candidates from Glengarry-Prescott-Russell take the stage to debate issues raised during the election.
Daniel Lapierre of the Green Party was asked what his group’s plan was to make childcare and other costs of living more affordable for Canadians. Lapierre responded that it was important to invest in the economy surrounding childcare, by taxing the rich to give back to the middle class.
Liberal candidate Francis Drouin reviewed the Liberal childcare plan, which would see $10-per-day daycare for every family in the country. The Liberal government has already signed eight deals with provinces, and he hopes that continuing this work will not only allow women to get back into the workforce by making childcare affordable for everyone, but also allow Francophone families to access childcare in the language of their choice. He criticized the Conservative plan for a tax credit to be applied to childcare costs, saying that a tax credit won’t build even a single new childcare space.
Conservative candidate Susan McArthur said that building new childcare spaces isn’t realistic as an immediate solution. Rather than instituting $10-per-day daycare over 10 years, the Conservatives would provide money to Canadians now to put towards a childcare plan that adheres to their schedule, rather than assume that everyone works on the same 9-to-5 schedule.
Drouin reiterated that although childcare spaces might be plentiful in Toronto, there are not nearly as many in the Glengarry-Prescott-Russell riding. More childcare facilities need to be built, he said, and the Liberal government is giving incentives to provinces that partner with them to build more.
NDP candidate Konstantine Malakos stepped said that if the Liberals wanted $10-per-day daycare, they could have done it by now. The NDP’s 2015 policy platform was for $10-per-day daycare, almost exactly like the current Liberal plan. Malakos noted that the Liberals said then the NDP couldn’t do it because they didn’t have jurisdictional authority. He said the NDP continued to support the idea and would have agreed to it had the Liberals brought it up during the past six years.
McArthur added that Liberals have been “prophesying” $10-per-day daycare since 1993 and it hasn’t happened yet.
“All of a sudden,” she said, “they woke up on the eve of an election that we don’t need to have, that no one wants to have, and now they’re promising that they’re going to do this in four years.”
Drouin argued that the provincial deals have been signed and they’re going to happen, but McArthur asked when they would be delivered. Malakos added that the deals were signed in the eleventh hour right before an election, so that the Liberals could campaign on the fact, and that Canadians would have to vote for the Liberals in order to see any payoff.
Lapierre said that the most important thing is to build a place for children to be when parents are at work and that before $10-per-day daycare is implemented, those daycares need to be built.