BC NDP Leader John Horgan says he is recommitting to implement a 10-year plan for $10-a-day child care in British Columbia if his party is re-elected.
The plan was part of the New Democrats’ 2017 platform, but Horgan says the minority government couldn’t fully implement it because it didn’t have support from its Green partners.
Horgan says the NDP instead worked to open 20,000 new child-care spaces, reduce fees and start a daycare pilot project that cost $10 a day, which was overwhelmed with demand.
He made the comments during an event in Maple Ridge where he drew attention to the Child Opportunity Benefit already outlined in the 2020-21 budget, which will become available next month.
The benefit provides families with up to $1,600 per child for a maximum of $3,400 and replaces the Early Childhood Tax Benefit.
The New Democrats committed to open 24,000 new child-care spaces by 2021 as part of its 2017 platform.
“The Green party in 2017 would not support our $10-a-day plan, so we pivoted to do the possible,” Horgan said.
“Politics is about the art of the possible.”
But in a statement, Green Leader Sonia Furstenau said her party has been pushing the NDP for child-care legislation.
“In conversations with B.C. NDP this summer, we explicitly asked for more child-care action,” she said.
“Instead of legislation, we got a fall election and more misleading comments about why the B.C. NDP aren’t delivering on something families desperately need.”
Later at a news conference outside the convention of the Union of B.C. Municipalities in Victoria, Furstenau said both parties share the same goals for the $10-a-day program, but the Greens also want early childhood education included in the public system.
“John Horgan and I both studied history, but I’m not interested in rewriting it,” she added.
Furstenau once again accused Horgan of calling an unnecessary election in a speech to the convention of local politicians.
She noted that the convention is typically a time when local governments can vote on priorities that they want to press the provincial government on, but the legislature was dissolved on the first day of the conference.
Furstenau also argued that the minority government resulted in stronger legislation because each bill was reviewed by two caucuses.
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The Greens had a hand in getting big money out of politics, lobby reform and launching the public inquiry into money laundering, she said.
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“In a majority government, that legislation would have been written and passed with far less scrutiny and almost no collaboration. I would suggest that it takes a kind of arrogance to think that it is better to work alone,” Furstenau said.
Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson told delegates Wednesday during a virtual event that Horgan’s New Democrats played politics with a provincial economic recovery plan by delaying its introduction to coincide with the snap election call.
Wilkinson had a campaign event scheduled in Pitt Meadows later on Thursday.
B.C.’s fixed election date was set for the fall of next year, but Horgan says he needs political stability and called a vote for Oct. 24.
Wilkinson says the Liberals are poised to introduce a campaign platform that focuses on child care, addiction and homelessness.