Friday, December 17, 2004

Simple solution to the day care funding situation: Don't breed unless you can afford to.

While it frightens me to agree with any member of the board of control on anything, I agree London should not put forth anymore money toward child care. Of course, I suspect their reasoning has more to do with their desire to control the city coffers (your money) than a moral outrage at the idea that you are paying for irresponsible absentee parenting. The idea that anyone would be willing to sentence a child to spend its most formative years in a government institution indicates unforgivably poor parenting skills.

Day-care fight splits council

PATRICK MALONEY, Free Press Reporter 2004-12-17 02:04:02

London's day-care funding battle with the province appears to have divided a city council that will have to settle the thorny issue next month. Council's board of control, in a budget move aimed at sending a signal it objects to growing provincial costs downloaded on to the city, is recommending council reject $1.6 million in federal day-care money from Ontario because the province insists London put in another $450,000 to access that cash.

But a Free Press survey of the 14 councillors indicates roughly half oppose the recommendation or are leaning that way, the other half in support.

All five controllers back the call, meaning it could pass when council mulls the board's budget recommendations starting Jan. 10 -- unless the city or province backs down.

"We like to take advantage of these opportunities, but you can only manage within your budget," said Coun. Rob Alder, adding it's "entirely appropriate" to walk away.

But other councillors -- while cautious about a tight budget threatening a 7.7-per-cent property tax hike -- say the city can't turn down the child-care cash.

"I'm supportive that we have the money for child care," Coun. Susan Eagle said. "I don't think it's a fair (provincial) request, but we can't deny our kids."

Yep, just give her money to spend, and she'll spend, spend, spend. Especially if it's not money she earned herself, she'll always find a good cause. And who would deny the children?

Coun. David Winninger agreed.

"I support standing up to the province on all of these downloading issues, but I really can't accept standing on the backs of children (and parents) who need child care," Winninger said.

The C word again . . . The telefundies always evoke 'the children' when all else fails to bleed a few more dollars out of little old ladies too.

"What I'm concerned about is where (the board) is picking its battles. When it came to their pals on the police force, they didn't stand up and object (because of costs related to downloading)."

That's because the police officer is your friend, especially if you are a politian.

The funding at issue is entirely federal, but is being funnelled through the provincial government.

Ontario wants London to chip in $1 for every $5 it receives, citing a cost-sharing agreement struck in 2000.

But Deputy Mayor Tom Gosnell, city budget chief, is hoping for an Alberta-style system in which the money flows to municipalities with no strings attached. Otherwise, it's just another example of the province downloading costs to cities, he said.

Labour Minister Chris Bentley of London called board of control's recommendation "shocking."

Most councillors say the province is putting the city in a bind by insisting it pay 20 per cent.

"It's despicable that the province puts municipalities into this position," Coun. Cheryl Miller said.

"If you're given a cheque, there should be no handling fee from the provinces."

Ha, ha, did you think the Liberal mafiosi limited their extortion activities to the federal cartel?

Added Coun. Judy Bryant: "I'm very disturbed by the province putting us in this situation. It's terrible."

Though Harold Usher plans to vote against the board's recommendation, he said he hopes the province will stop downloading costs to cities.

"The province has to look at themselves and say, 'We can't do this to the municipality.' It's a very unfair deal," he said.

The issue blew up at Queen's Park Tuesday when NDP Leader Howard Hampton derided the 80-20 cost plan and demanded the government add a promised $300 million to child care.

C'mon Howy, you can't expect a Liberal to keep a promise? Why, to think you are that naive is "shocking".

But the government countered provincial gas-tax money earmarked for public transit will ease municipal budget crunches and allow increased child-care spending.

Guess you should have seen it coming when they let you have that deal, eh? What other downloads will be covered by the gas-tax money in the future?

Susan Gregory, director of Growing Concern Child Care in London, expressed concern over the board's recommendation, which she says would deny parents and caregivers much-needed dollars.

For Julie Fowler, who has a two-year-old son in that day-care centre, the answer is clear -- council should accept the province's deal.

"It would take some of the burden on the families, for sure," she said this week. "Don't look a gift horse in the mouth."

Can't afford the gas for a Caddy, don't buy one. Can't afford a child, don't have one. Period.

Copyright © The London Free Press 2004

Update: In the name of the children, let us create a legacy of debt. Once again you must give up your freedoms and income in the name of the children.

"The optics probably aren't that good because it's Christmas and any perception that you're withholding funds for children is not going to play very well with the public," Paul Nesbitt-Larking, a political science professor at Huron University College at the University of Western Ontario, said yesterday.

"It's certainly something they'll have to handle very carefully."

It appears they are.

"You're never going to win when you're fighting with little kids involved," Controller Bud Polhill said yesterday.

"I think we are going to have to find the money. I said from the start I'm uncomfortable supporting this thing."

1 Comment:

EclectEcon said...

Very interesting blog -- it must be since it supports my position that Susan Eagle is the most dangerous person in London.