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I've spent an inordinate amount of time yelling at the television tonight; inordinate because I haven't felt the need to yell at an inanimate object for approximately a year or two (you can tell, I haven't written any confessionals of that sort on Livejournal in ages!:-P). On occasion however, it seems that political news can elicit enough vexation from me to require some sort of release (apparently in the form of my yelling at the little people in the magic picture box).

Two subjects popped onto the screen that I allowed to get my goat: the first was coverage of a protest in downtown Montreal, the second a motion by the Prime Minister. The protest was a rally to pressure the provincial government to increase subsidies to private day-care centers, the motion was one to limit federal government spending in areas of provincial sovereignty.

For my part, I find the entire idea of subsidized, universal day-care so mind-bogglingly manipulative that I can't even be bothered to write a column on the subject. It will have to suffice to say this: way to go Quebeckers, for letting the government trick you into giving up your kids so you can spend more time working at the factory; you really scored a political victory there, you bunch of geniuses. By all means, beg Quebec City to keep your daughters & sons for a little longer every day - there are still floors to be swept and shoes to shine, and we musn't be pulled away from that. Dumbasses.

On the second part - the good Prime Minister Stephen Harper's motion to limit federal intervention in areas of provincial jurisdiction - I felt the need to yell "We already have a document like that butt-head, it's called the Constitution Act of 1867!". Lord almighty, it's nice to know that the Conservative Party is hard at work, writing new laws that duplicate sections of the Constitution that I had to memorize in secondary school. If I were a more jaded man, I would think that that the whole effort was nothing more than a dog & pony show meant to cater to anti-federal voters in Central Canada in advance of a snap election. I can only say that it's damned fortunate that I'm not so terribly jaded as that - such cynicism couldn't possibly do anything good for one's blood-pressure. ;-P


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 27th, 2006 01:10 pm (UTC)
I see what you're saying about daycare, but if you're a single parent then it's really a godsend.
Nov. 27th, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Surely not a godsend, since that would imply that the greatest of all possible goods had been put into practice - and I doubt that a state's encouragment of the extended seperation of parents from their children would qualify. A true godsend, I warrant, would take the form of giving single parents the opportunity to choose to spend their time with their infants until they're old enough to attend school. One might have done so by allowing them to draw a pension for those first few years, thereby giving them some modicum of community support.

Instead, we decided to implement a regime that is just as costly, but that discourages parents from the act of parenting. Since this is evidently not the greatest good for either parents or children, one can only conclude that other factors were given great weight in the decision to implement the subsidized daycare program.

Far be it for me to claim to be a mind reader, but I would guess that one could get a fair idea of what those extraneous factors were by examining who benefits from this particular arrangement - one which conincidentally keeps workers in the workforce and economic productivity high, while encouraging the birth-rate.

In short, the argument that Quebeckers have accepted is:

"Don't worry dear, you just let us experts take care of the baby while you go back to work. We can't have you staying at home and puttering about the place can we - you don't want people thinking that you're a 'welfare mommy' do you? Of course not - idle hands are the devil's workshop after all! Off you go then; we'll take good care of her! Here's a little pat on the bum to make you feel better... now off with you, you silly bird!"

It might not quite be given with the Victorian accent anymore, but it's the same old rubbish - and we're daft fools for thinking differently.
Nov. 27th, 2006 11:18 pm (UTC)
I'm sorry but I really don't agree with you, and I really don't think we can realistically eliminate the economic factor. If we weren't hugely in debt and already having a hard time paying for all the services we enjoy, I'd say what you're talking about would be an idea at the very least worth looking into in depth. But just because a parent works doesn't mean they cease to have an impact on a child's life though, and certainly doesn't mean they stop parenting. You could even go the other way and say that by removing subsidized daycare and subsidizing stay at home moms (mostly) you are in effect institutionalizing the same social structure that we've been working so hard to eradicate. While I usually scoff at arguments for productivity for productivity's sake, I think in this case it makes sense, especially for a mom who wants to continue working on her career after having children. I realize that our current economic system doesn't formally acknowledge parenting as being "productive" and that sucks, but there are other ways to do that that don't involve making it tougher for single parents to work and draining the budget (such as alternative methods of measuring GDP).
Nov. 28th, 2006 02:45 am (UTC)
Which social structure were we attempting to eradicate though; unusual dependance on centralized government programs? It seems a bit odd to characterize centralized daycare as a blow against personal dependance though, especially given the fact that the province is spending a little over $1.4 billion/annum to hire childcare experts and pay for the schools. If this was meant as a cut-back measure, it seems to have been an odd way to go about it.

But how exactly would you go about making life easier for single parents using this plan? I admit, I'm not certain how my life might be better if I were to be single, with a toddler and told to work a job as well. If the government and the general public were to attempt to make my life happier, I'm not sure how they would accomplish it through this particular scheme.

It's possible that the Ministry of Families, the Elderly, and Women has better knowledge of what's better for me that I do, and that the rules and regulations that it has set-up to guide my life and the life of my children are truly the best intentioned. Even in that case though, I just haven't concieved of how it was intended to make the best situation of things when the entire system seems rather top-heavy, and actually manages to benefit private interests more than the supposed beneficiaries.

I'm probably just daft, but I haven't quite figured-out the genius behind this regime; especially when there were much more pragmatic alternatives that wouldn't have cost nearly as much. I trust that everyone within the upper-echelons of the provincial government knew that their scheme would cost society more money than any of the alternatives. The cost is certainly more than allowing every single parent in Quebec to draw a modest pension if they so chose. Or officially sanctioning home-schooling regimes. Or simply giving the money to parents directly and allowing them to either pay for a family-member to babysit or for a privately-run daycare.

I'm sure that there was probably a hidden genius behind having civil-servants take over the role of parenting children throughout society from age three to eighteen, but I would definitely need to have it explained to me as to how this ingenuity was meant only to help families.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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