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The Hamilton Spectator
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Tories offer child-care allowance
Parents should choose the best way to care for their preschool children and a Conservative government would help them do that, Stephen Harper promised today.

Speaking at a children’s play centre, Harper said the Tories would offer a child-care allowance of $1,200 a year for each child under six. Parents could then decide how to spend the money — whether on day care, babysitters or play programs.

The Tory plan differs sharply from the Liberal child-care strategy, which aims at lower-income parents and focuses on early childhood development in regulated centres.

“Some want to build a national system of institutional day care,” said Harper. “I call that the Henry Ford model of child care — you can choose any colour you like so long as it’s black. You can choose any child care you like so long as it’s institutional care.”

A 9-to-5 day-care centre does nothing to help parents who work shifts, work in remote areas or choose to stay at home with their kids, he said.

Harper estimates his proposed Choice in Child Care Allowance will cost $4.7 billion over five years. He also promised $250 million in tax credits to help community groups and employers build about 125,000 day-care spaces over the same period. Source.

December 6, 2005