“It’s the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents are forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that,” Finley said in the Commons Thursday, the same day that Liberals were promising to revive the national program scrapped by the Conservatives five years ago this week.
Liberals are calling Finley’s remark an insult to working Canadian mothers and fathers and a clear declaration of bias in favour of stay-at-home parents — a rarity in Canada, where most mothers with children work.
“For decades we’ve realized that women are working, men are working and the second thing we’ve realized is that there’s a great benefit to children from working and playing with others and learning with others,” said Liberal MP Bob Rae. “The notion somehow that child care is some form of alien abduction is just completely preposterous.”
New Democrats, who have put forward their own national child-care legislation in the Commons, were also outraged by Finley’s characterization of child-care programs.
“Finley insulted all teachers, all early childhood educators, child-care workers, organizers of parents’ resource centres and even babysitters. She is trying to inflict guilt on all working parents — a truly shameful, divisive behaviour,” said NDP MP Olivia Chow.
On a sidenote, I find it shocking how this discussion in Canada focuses almost exclusively on working mothers. I was so accustomed to hearing "working parents" in the US that when I moved here, I was really taken aback by the difference. To me, this is akin to seeing the choice of "Miss" on Canadian forms, or "Dear Sir or Madam" instead of "To whom it may concern". But those phrases, although important, are largely symbolic. The unquestioned assumption that women choose between staying home or earning income, while men do not make similar choices, should have been retired at least 30 years ago.
In any case, the Conservatives are neanderthals on this issue. If there was any hope for any kind of coalition government, we'd be rid of them in no time.