Sunday, April 04, 2010

Avoiding the problem

L.Ian Macdonald on the Quebec budget. He correctly points out the obvious. The $7 a day daycare and the $1700 tuition paid for by the people of Alberta, are not sustainable. Unfortnately charest is avoiding the problem.

Finally, the avoided choice of increasing the $7-a-day child care, which actually costs $49 a day. This is not an entitlement, and if the cost to parents were increased to only $10 a day, or only 20 per cent of the cost, the extra cash flow of $15 a week per person would reduce the deficit by nearly $200 million a year for Quebec's 240,000 public or non-profit days care spaces. This is why Quebec, with only 20 per cent of the kids, has half the daycare space in the country. The program costs $2 billion.

Make no mistake - $7 child care and $1,700 university tuition in Quebec are big topics of conversation in Alberta, which sends billions of dollars a year to Quebec via Ottawa through equalization, and is itself in deficit.

Albertans used to think of equalization as sharing the wealth, part of the price of peace in the federation. They don't anymore - not since Jean Charest started trash-talking the oilsands.

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