À:lmèlhàwtxw Early Education Centre supervisor Jenn Carman (left) speaks with Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen on June 29, 2018 during Chen’s visit to Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Chilliwack-Kent MLA says government coming up 90% short on promised child care spaces

‘The NDP always overpromise and underdeliver’ - Laurie Throness

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness says the provincial government has failed to create more than 90 per cent of child care spaces the NDP promised in the party’s three-year plan.

With 2,055 new spaces operational out of 22,000 promised as of this year, Throness, who is the BC Liberal Critic for Children and Family Development, blames the premier directly.

“The NDP always overpromise and underdeliver,” Throness said in a BC Liberal caucus press release from Nov. 12. “John Horgan is failing miserably to meet the targets he set and, at this rate, it would take the NDP over seven years to make good on their promise.”

But when asked to comment on Throness’s claims, Minister Katrina Chen told The Progress that her government is dedicated to making inclusive universal child care a reality in B.C.

• RELATED: Chilliwack-Kent MLA critiques B.C. child care, comes under fire for year-old comment saying parents can just stay home

• RELATED: Parents at Chilliwack child care facility to pay just $200 per month

“For too long, child care was too unaffordable and inaccessible for families,” Chen said in an emailed statement. “Unlike the old government, we’ve been focused on fixing that.”

Chen pointed to data that showed the government funded 4,707 spaces in the 2018/2019 fiscal year, and 5,851 in the 2019/2020 fiscal year, a total of 10,558 out of the 22,000 promised.

“The critic knows the claims he’s making aren’t accurate,” Chen said. “It took the old government four years to fund 4,312 new spaces. We funded that many in less than a year.”

But while the government’s data show, indeed, that more than 10,000 have been funded, numbers dug up by Throness and even those provided by the Ministry show that just 2,055 are operational.

When shown a chart of data provided to The Progress by Minister Chen’s office, Throness said it proved his point.

“The chart you included is an admission of failure,” he said. “The chart provided by the government shows that the government created just 374 operating spaces in the nine months so far this fiscal year (unbelievable when you consider they are spending over $330 million per year on child care for three years). Moreover, this is a dramatic fall from 1,681 operational spaces created the year before, when the program should be ramping up year over year.”

Minister Chen, however, insisted in the Legislature on Tuesday that the number of spaces funded, more than 10,000, is the important one and that the BC Liberal government funded just 4,000 in four years.

“Families in B.C. are struggling with the shortage of child care spaces,” Chen said in question period on Nov. 26. “Early childhood educators are struggling with the lack of support. What did the critic for child care say? When he talked about early childhood educators, he said: ‘We might as well invest in software and machines.’

“Well, we’re investing in people in this province. We have put together a comprehensive plan to lower child care fees for the first time in B.C.’s history. Living wages going down because child care fees are going down.”

Throness suggested the NDP government is announcing “fake spaces” and that with just nine per cent out of the 22,000 promised, the government is failing.

“Will the minister today make the following more forthright announcement: ‘My program has collapsed. I’ve been announcing fake spaces, not making spaces. I’m 90 per cent short on my promise to parents, and I’m sorry to them?’” Throness asked in question period. “Will the minister announce that today?”

Chen insists that her government is making progress and doing more than the BC Liberals did while they were in power.

“Fixing the problems created by the old government won’t happen overnight, but we’re making progress. In fact, we estimate that around 1,600 more spaces will be open for parents in the next six months. We will keep working hard to make child care more affordable and accessible for families.”

Throness insists that Chen’s reliance on funded spaces rather than operational is an effort to mislead the public.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

À:lmèlhàwtxw Early Education Centre supervisor Jenn Carman (left) speaks with Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen on June 29, 2018 during Chen’s visit to Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ The Progress)

Just Posted

Chilliwack man hoping to restore ‘59 Chevy with big lottery win

Hervey Blois, a retired veteran, says he’s ‘dumbstruck’ by $500,000 win on lottery website

‘Solitary’ filming in Harrison Hot Springs

Portions of East Sector Park closed until October 6

SD78 board: Cautious optimism, anxiety mix as school year begins

To say it’s been an eventful two months for Superintendent Balan Moorthy… Continue reading

Defence in Fraser Valley chicken abuse cases asks BC Supreme Court to drop the charges

Sofina Foods and Chilliwack company say undercover video by ‘vigilante group’ violates Charter rights

Fraser Health confirms expanded COVID-19 testing services coming

Long lines, several days waiting list as demand for testing surges in region

Weekend sees 267 cases, 3 deaths in B.C.; Dr. Henry says events leading to COVID spread

There are currently 1,302 active cases in B.C., while 3,372 people are under public health monitoring

Lightning strike: Tampa Bay blanks Dallas 2-0 to win Stanley Cup

Hedman wins Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP

16 MLAs retiring from B.C. politics add up to $20M in pensions: Taxpayers Federation

Taxpayers pay $4 for every dollar MLAs contribute to their pensions

Liberals seek to fast track new COVID-19 aid bill after CERB expires

Government secured NDP support for legislation by hiking amount of benefits by $100 to $500 per week

Police investigating shooting in North Delta

Police say occupants of two vehicles exchanged gunfire near 120th Street and 82nd Avenue

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. VOTES 2020: Echoes of HST in B.C. debate over sales tax

Cannabis, tobacco, luxury cars still taxed in B.C. Liberal plan

TransLink CEO asks riders not to enforce mask rules after Surrey bus punch-up

A fight broke out on a bus at 96 Avenue and Scott Road involving a man who refused to wear a mask

Most Read