Alberta minister complains of 'dishonest, bad-faith negotiating from Ottawa'
The federal government has agreed to transfer nearly $6 billion over five years for early learning and child care in Quebec under an asymmetric agreement.
A significant portion of the funding will go toward strengthening the early learning and child care system in Quebec and improving working conditions for educators.
“All families should have access to quality, affordable child care. That is why, from coast to coast to coast, we are laying the foundation for Canada's first-ever Canada-wide early learning and child care system,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “Today's agreement with Quebec will further improve the system that Quebecers are so rightly proud of. This agreement will provide Quebecois families and communities with additional support as we build back better from the pandemic.”
The federal government’s plan – announced in the last federal budget – is to provide parents across Canada with early learning and child care spaces for an average of $10 a day for children under the age of six.
“We have reason to be proud of our daycare model in Quebec. First, because it helps us take care of our little ones. They are our most precious asset – our future. It is our duty to offer the best to our children. As a society, it has to be our top priority,” said Quebec Premier François Legault. “This agreement is a wonderful win for Quebec families. A large part of these funds will be used to complement the system. Young parents and their children will benefit from it directly.”
Meanwhile, Alberta had some strong criticisms about the deal between the federal government and Quebec.
“Today, we’ve learned that the federal government and Quebec have agreed to a $6-billion child care agreement without conditions. This is the exact arrangement Ottawa rejected when Alberta asked for it this week and last week,” said Rebecca Schulz, Alberta’s Rebecca Schulz.
Previously, Ottawa announced it is investing over $290 million in funding over four years to extend the Canada–Alberta Early Learning and Child Care Agreement. The federal government is also shipping $605-million to Nova Scotia under a similar agreement.
Schulz added that the Alberta government asked the federal government if any province would receive a straight transfer of child care dollars with no conditions attached, and they were told no.
“This is dishonest, bad-faith negotiating from Ottawa right before an election. It’s frustrating to see Alberta parents could be left behind because of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cynical pre-election maneuvering especially given that we are absolutely committed to affordable, accessible child care that meets the diverse needs of Alberta kids and families,” said Schulz.