May 26, 2012


Where I forget things I've written

This happens a lot, which is rather nice, actually. I forget things I've written. I'll be reminded if a reader tells me, or a search for something else turns up a bit of my history. That happened now, as I was researching something slightly related, and found one of my old columns. From 2007, which is an eternity in the newspaper world. But I just reread this, and I liked it. I like her spunk. Mine. It's about daycare. If you have no interest, you can go read tango stuff again or wait until tomorrow when I'll blog for real. After I paint my bathroom again, because I used the wrong paint today and have to do it again. I'll explain tomorrow.

One of my columns on daycare in Canada. And where I think the shame lies.

I used to work in a business that created and sold things. The catch-all word "widget" fits well, so we'll use that. We sold widgets. Some of the widgets we sold were bigger than others, some were definitely more fun to sell, and some were pretty boring but at least we made money from them – and the focus, after all, was to make a profit.

When my son decided he wanted to sponsor a child in a developing nation, the very first thing I set out to learn was how much of my son's paper route money would actually go to the well-being of the sponsored child. I wanted to make sure that, after reasonable administration costs, our Rwandan widget benefited from the cash. The focus after all, shouldn't be to make a profit.

The nature of any economy insists that if money is spent, some of it will go to places you didn't intend or realize. There are extremes; some corrupt foreign government may pocket all international aid, which isn't what I intended with my disaster relief donation, or my son may use his allowance to buy firecrackers. Either way, the control freaks among us often find it tough.

If there is one issue, however, where societies need to step off the profit-powered money wheel, it is child care. Australian Eddy Groves has specifically tapped into countries with government daycare subsidies, and his cost-cutting measures have led to ongoing political and legal battles regarding substandard care and employee treatment.

He has figured out how to wring every last nickel out of the management and care of little Australian ankle-biters. He has turned children into widgets, and can now tally his profits from his yacht.

Eddy has announced plans to come to Canada. The opposition parties in this country are fighting to get Bill C-303 passed to maintain quality care for our children. The Conservatives will probably show up for Fast Eddy's first ribbon cutting. Not their kids going in there.

Have you ever shopped at one of those cavernous warehouse places that promise "we pass the savings on to you"? Have you pushed down box-crowded aisles, picked through busted up packaging, scoured best-before dates to avoid hazardous conditions?

Should any child, even if he's not yours, be subjected to similar conditions? When the profit margins are narrow, those seeking profit will scrape for every dime. Profit margins on decent, licensed child care are already non-existent. Workers are paid poorly, government standards are blessedly high, and parents are already squeezed in the middle. For someone to come in and start skimming money from the process means only one thing: the kids will suffer.

Let me be perfectly clear: I do not subscribe to the sterile thinking of some who embrace an ideology about children that includes the words "you had 'em, you raise 'em."

Any animal that forms herds – and that would be us – protects the young. All of them. Some parents are better than others, but in a resource-rich society like ours there is no reason all children can't have a decent shot at success.

And forget basking in the warmth of knowing that your own kids are okay. They are going to go out in the world and form relationships with kids who perhaps weren't raised with the same strengths. Yep, the offspring of someone who didn't get to dip into the horn of plenty may be calling you Grandpa or Grandma.

Where is the moral outrage that we have become a community that would rather incarcerate a 16-year-old than teach a 3-year-old? How backassed has our thinking become?

Some kids need daycare; some kids need after-school care; some kids don't require either outside of the home. Regardless of the composition, every one of those children needs a safe, educational experience.

Where do the broken widgets go?

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3 Comments:

Anonymous buzzwhack said...

Sadly, it has been happening already here. The miniscule pay ECE workers get doesn't encourage the best to come forward does it? We need something as vital and important as this to be done on a proper level with; screening of all applicants for medical, health and criminal background checks. Proper training and safe buildings that meet the code for child safety. Someone's house in the neighborhood just isn't good enough, no matter how good the intentions of the caregiver are. To set this up properly is going to take money. Can you see why the prov parties have all sashayed away from this over twelve years at least? Don't hold your breath. This oil can Harry dude from OZ will likely BS his way in with a promise the politicians can't ignore. Jobs at no cost to the bursary.

May 26, 2012 11:36 PM  
Anonymous jmd said...

The Ontario government has a wonderful (I'm being snide) program wherein they give parents the princely sum of $100.00 a month for each child under six in the family. It is called the Universal Child Care Benefit.

You know how much Child Care $100.00 would cover? Maybe a day and a half.

And the very bestest part? This credit is taxable in the hands of the parent who receives it, so you end up giving 25% of it back to the government. You just gotta love it.

May 27, 2012 8:43 AM  
Blogger Chris Brown (not the felon) said...

Truly brilliant, jmd. I didn't realize that was a taxable benefit. What do these politicians think when they go to bed at night?

On a more sinister note, I thought when you wrote "rather incarcerate a 16-year-old than teach a 3-year-old? " that you had said "incinerate a 16-year-old." it took three re-reads to figure it out (cut me some slack... it's 1:30 AM and I'm in Copenhagen.) That gave me the heebie jeebies.

May 28, 2012 1:38 AM  

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