Conservatives will support sending the Liberal government’s child-care bill for further study, party Leader Pierre Poilievre said on Wednesday, Feb. 1 but he’s stopping short of endorsing the national plan.
Speaking to reporters before his weekly caucus meeting, Poilievre said his members of parliament (MPs) will back sending Bill C-35 — currently being debated in the House of Commons — to a parliamentary committee.
“But our view is there should be affordable child-care spaces, and there should be support for parents regardless of what choices they make.”
In December, Families Minister Karina Gould tabled the legislation, which seeks to enshrine the government’s national daycare plan into law.
Under that plan, Ottawa has inked deals with provinces and territories with the goal of reducing daycare fees to an average of $10 per day by 2026.
As proposed, the bill would commit Ottawa to maintaining long-term funding, making it harder for a future government to undo.
Pressed Wednesday about whether a Poilievre-led government would honour the existing agreements, the Tory leader said once the bill arrives at committee, MPs will look at what results are actually being achieved.
“We’re going to study this proposal and we’ll we’ll have a very clear policy before the next election.”
The Conservatives’ lack of support for the Liberals’ national daycare plan became a point Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attacked the party over during the 2021 federal election.
At the time, former leader and Ontario MP Erin O’Toole campaigned on scrapping agreements with provinces in favour of ushering in a tax credit, which he argued would better help lower income families.
Conservative MP Michelle Ferreri, who this week has debated the Liberal bill in the House, has slammed the plan as “subsidizing the wealthy,” while failing to address the wait times and labour shortages that exist for parents seeking child care.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 1, 2023.