By Madison Blanchard
There was red, there was green, there was orange and there was even maroon. There wasn’t however any sign of blue at the recent panel of childcare held at Holland College on Oct.7.
Representatives from the Liberal, Green, NDP and Christian Heritage parties all gathered with daycare owners, workers and concerned parents to discuss what their parties aim to do about the cost of daycare and the lack of a national platform for it.
Missing was any candidates running for the Conservative party.
Sean Casey the Liberal incumbent for the Charlottetown riding spoke about mandating a tax monthly benefit that wouldn’t be given just to the wealthy, he said the Conservative system does.
“Let’s stop sending cheques to millionaires,” he said multiple times during the hour and a half debate.
Charlottetown Green party nominee Becka Viau said if elected she was willing to work with other parties. As a member of the Green party, she doesn’t have to vote with her party, something that no one else at the table could say.
“Good ideas are good ideas.”
Viau agreed with Casey about looking at flexible EI benefits for mothers on maternity and she talked about having to go back to work 6 weeks after giving birth.
“We should be ensuring that new mothers feel supported.”
Charlottetown NDP candidate Joe Byrne said that a national daycare program was promised by the Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien as early as 1993, but has it never come to fruition.
We are in a good position to start the discussion with the provinces again, Byrne said.
“When this country comes together we have a very good track record of getting things done.” he said.
The only candidate from Cardigan to attend was Christine Squires who representing the Christian Heritage party. Squires was scolded during the debate by a daycare worker in the audience for her comments about the love of a parent being instrumental to a child’s development.
That prompted murmurs through the otherwise quiet crowd and one worker interrupted a few minutes later to comment.
“We love the children too,” she said to applause and cheers from the crowd.
Poverty was another issue discussed at length on the panel and one that is clearly affecting other issues, all the candidates agreed more needs to be done.
Eric Currant attended the panel. His main concern was wages and the lack of jobs in the childcare and disability field.
“I think we can definitely progress….I’m not saying the current government is terrible, but yeah we can do better.”
A Conservative candidate should have been there, he said.
“It was pretty good opportunity, one that doesn’t come alone too often and it was missed.”
Prior to the start of the debate, moderator Sandy MacDonald did say that the candidates for the Conservatives had been approached and he had only received word that one, Julius Patkai, the Conservative candidate for Cardigan may be able to attended.However Patkai was not able to make it.
Repeatedly attempts to reach Charlottetown Conservative candidate Ron MacMillan failed.
The election is today, Oct. 19.