I would like to comment on a couple of points made by the Hon. Member. First, he does not seem to realize that the report that he held up, which is commonly called the Katie Cooke report, is not a report of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women. It is a very comprehensive research document commissioned by the former Liberal Government. It recommended comprehensive child care. It is interesting that the Liberal Party has also not picked up on the recommendations contained in that report. That report recommended a comprehensive system of child care across the country that would be available to all children where there was a need and would be developed systematically over a period of time. I wish to correct the Hon. Member on that point.
I was on the special committee on child care established by the Government, and in my view the main purpose was not to deal with the Katie Cooke recommendations. In fact, we repeated a tour across Canada. Many people felt that was an unnecessary expense. We learned that most of the witnesses who spoke to us recommended the same things as Katie Cooke, and the same things as those recommended by the witnesses who appeared before the legislative committee. We must have a national program of comprehensive, quality, affordable, accessible child care. Of course, that is what this Bill is not doing. It is a capped funding. It finishes after seven years. It does not even give adjusted funding for the poorer provinces after seven years.
It is really a very restrictive program, even worse than the Canada Assistance Plan.
The Hon. Member referred to one issue with passion and I know he feels strongly about it. That is the issue of handicapped and disabled children, or special needs children as they are sometimes called. It is very costly to provide child care for that group of children. In any good quality child care program we cannot have a token federal initiative which may or may not provide a program here or a program there for a few disabled kids. Some groups who are specialists in this field said disabled children have the same right as other children to be in regular child care centres, just the same as they have the right
September 26, 1988
to be in school. We must start in the pre-school years to open up spaces for them. That means we have to have extra capital funding and extra staff. That costs more. This program does not do that. We felt that there should be at least a $2 per space per day top-up for those kinds of spaces, and the Elon. Member thinks an initiative fund, which will be gone in probably a year, is the way to deal with disabled children.
Subtopic: CANADA CHILD CARE ACT
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO ENACT