my second letter to Ralph Klein after his response that Alberta is not a one size fits all province...
August 25th 2005
The Honourable Ralph Klein
Premier of Alberta
307 Legislature Building
108 00 - 97th Avenue
Dear Mister Premier,
I appreciate so much your response to both my letter, and that of my daughter, Cairo. She was so pleased to get a note from you saying that her letter was “wonderful”.
The reason I am writing you a second letter is that I found the first paragraph of your response a little confusing. While I agree that a one-size-fits-all approach is not something that is going to work in Alberta, I’m concerned that the initiatives being provided could encourage parents to choose financial gain over what would be best for their family (and frankly, society at large). I remember as a little girl, asking my mom if she would baby sit for me when I was a momma. She responded that she would not. When I asked her “why”, she responded “I wouldn’t deprive you of the joy.” Now that I am a momma, I know that she was speaking in love.
I don’t want to be ignorant, Mr. Klein, and I know that there are some circumstances where it seems it is impossible for a parent to be at home with the children. After reading your letter, I looked at the programs that you touted as Alberta’s “high quality, innovative programs and services”. The first is the Child Care Accreditation Program. The fact that such a program is even necessary shows that parents are willing to drop their kids off at any facility that will take them. When did it cease to be the responsibility of the parent, and become the responsibility of the government to ensure high quality care? The second program, the Kin Child Care Program, which at first glance looks like a great alternative to struggling single moms or others that are in a position where there is no other alternative, on closer inspection has limitations that are restrictive at best. The relative caregiver cannot reside in the family’s home, the child has to be pre-school age, so this excludes any homeschooling families, and the parent has to use this childcare for a minimum of 50 hours per month, so a momma who is willing to work less to be home with her children is penalized by such a program. The third service mentioned was the Parent Link Centres. While this is not directly related to my concerns as it is not a childcare program, I wonder how much of what is provided by the Centres would be redundant if more mothers stayed at home and encouraged and supported each other?
I guess my confusion, mentioned above, with your first paragraph is specifically with this quote “…(Alberta) is committed to ensuring that this government can continue to provide parents with quality, flexibility, and choice.” It seems to me that the ‘quality’ childcare referred to is exclusively non-parent child care. It seems to me that the ‘flexibility’ referred to is exclusively the flexibility to be able to work and have funded childcare. It seems to me that the ‘choice’ being offered is more of an incentive to get more momma’s out of the house. My hope is that as these decisions are made, we can come up with initiatives to keep more mommas with their children, so they too are not deprived of this joy.