Childcare is a top priority for the federal Liberals, who tabled its first budget in two years earlier this week.
Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland presented the budget on Monday, revealing plans to spend $30 billion on childcare over five years.
She said that within five years, parents should have access to early learning and childcare for an average of $10 a day.
“Early learning and childcare has long been a feminist issue. COVID has shown us that it’s an urgent economic issue, too,” she said in the House of Commons.
According to Delta MP Carla Qualtrough, there is also lots of COVID-19 pandemic support, support for small business and environmental initiatives too contained in the budget.
“It took us a lot of time at cabinet to balance the need to keep fighting the fight against COVID and the need to put our country on a path, through job creation and growth that would help us recover from COVID, so that was a balancing act financially,” said Qualtrough. “Based on what I have heard from Deltans and certainly the consultations I had pre-budget, I hope they see what they wanted in this budget. The vaccination roll-outs, support for seniors and mental health are all things that resonated for me.”
In terms of small business, she said the extensions on relief measures like the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) to September, after the programs were originally set to expire in June, are critical to keeping the economy moving.
“There is a real kind of business support meat on the bones in this budget,” she said. “And of course there is lots of support for childcare. I hear time and again how expensive it is and how much strain is being put on families, especially here in Delta. By reducing care costs by 50 per cent next year, this is game changing for families. It gives families so much more choice in how they spend their dollars.”
Qualtrough said there is also a focus on tourism and arts in culture.
“I’m hoping to work with our local organizations to access that money. There is also support for non-profits and charities so it will be up to me to work with Delta organizations to ensure they can get access to those funds,” she added.
Qualtrough said she is confident that the budget will pass.
“Different parties have different priorities on what they would like to see in the budget,” she said. “We are in the early days of this and it is all still playing out, but I’m pretty hopeful we will get this through. This is a great budget for Canadians.”-with files from Tyler Orton/Business in Vancouver