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Quebec's daycare headache

Quebec's Daycare Headache: Union refuses choice for parents - July 24, 2008
Vincent Geloso

The Ontarian company Kids & Company wants to open a private daycare in downtown Montreal. But the Centrale des Syndicats National (CSN), the union that represent childcare professionals province-wide opposes it as it has systematically opposed every proposal offering more choice to parents.

Since 1996, Quebec has offered public daycare to parents for $7 per day. As usual, the government does a poor job of it. The low price of putting a kid in daycare — an inferior alternative to targeted allocations for poorer families — has everyone flocking to the public system. Unsurprisingly, demand outstrips supply, sticking parents with waiting lists for a generally lousy service. But there is a winner in this rotten system: the labour union that represents daycare workers.

The CSN has opposed free choice for parents at every turn. It maintains a monopoly over workers in a sector that is, by all measures, a monopoly itself. The union takes families hostages when it’s workers strike and uses this weapon to exact higher wages and better working conditions from the government. It flexed this muscle most recently in 2003, when a one-day CSN general strike (joined by the other big unions in Quebec) denied daycare services to hundred of thousands of families.

In such a situation, it is obvious why the union doesn’t want competitors diluting its power. Frustrated parents who care about their kids have been trying to go to the private sector, but it is so regulated that it can’t charge more than $7 per day without a cut in its government subsidy. Some private daycares have sought permission to increase their fees for parents who are willing to pay, but the government has refused and the issue is now in court.

The worst part is that the union’s main argument is that only the rich can afford the service from Kids & Company. Even if this is true, it is not an argument against privatization. Rich parents who pay more for private daycare will remove their children from the public sector, thereby reducing the strain on an already overextended system. Does the CSN have a problem with spending the same amount of resources on fewer children? Especially when the kids who stay need this service more than those who leave?

CSN president, Claudette Carbonneau, was schedule to answer questions like these in an interview on RadioXTRM — a web-based talk radio show in Quebec — only to have her assistant cancel at the last minute, sputtering ridiculous excuses, not realizing she was on air. Perhaps they belatedly noticed the show's editorial stance — it favoured giving the choice back to parents. But far be it from the CSN to answer to those it harms.

Being a parent is tough enough. Living in Quebec doesn’t make it any easier.

Libellés : ,

The main problem with CSN and other unions such as this especially in the government is not affordability as they want us to believe, it's equality at all cost.

It is in their communist philosophy that everyone has to be obliged to use the same system even if it doesn't suit their needs and quality expectation.

For that government and union have this in common: they hate competition. Competition would force them to work more and to prove to us that their system is more worthwhile than the one of the private system and they don't want this, they don't even want to try to play that game.

That is why they play the communist card: equality for ALL at All cost for to loose a monopoly especially in education is a tragic consequence of their desire to keep everyone in a system were mediocrity and laziness intellectually and physically is easily acheavable.

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