Sto:lo (À:lmèlhàwtxw) Early Education Centre supervisor Jenn Carman (left) speaks with Minister of State for Child Care, Katrina Chen on June 29, 2018 during Chen’s visit to Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson / The Progress.)

B.C. Liberal MLA criticized by NDP for claiming childcare can be ‘harmful’ to children

Childcare critic Laurie Throness says Quebec universal childcare has ‘some ill effects’ on children

The provincial Minister of State for Childcare and the NDP are piling on Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness, who is the BC Liberal childcare critic, for his comments suggesting childcare is “harmful” to kids and that mothers should just stay home.

The NDP’s caucus issued press releases on March 4 and March 5 calling out Throness and asking BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson if he agrees with the childcare critic’s comments.

Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness speaking on Feb. 22, 2018. (Screenshot)

In a committee meeting, Throness pointed to studies he says claim that while childcare benefits low-income families, there is no short-term benefit and questionable long-term benefit to universal childcare for children of middle-income families.

His latest comments build on what Throness has said in the past, namely, that if one parent were simply to stay home, government-funded childcare would be unnecessary.

“I can tell you how many child care spaces we have right now in B.C.,” Throness said speaking against universal child care on Feb. 22, 2018. “We have one full-time, 24-hour-a-day space for every child in B.C. By law, child care is now, and always has been, universal and 24-7.”

• READ MORE: Chilliwack-Kent MLA critiques B.C. child care, comes under fire for year-old comment saying parents can just stay home

In the committee meeting on March 3, Minister Katrina Chen reiterated her government’s position that more affordable childcare reduces costs for families, helps parents return to work, and grows the economy.

“I would simply remind the minister that it’s not about parents going back to work or about growing our economy,” Throness responded. “It’s about what’s best for our children.”

The Progress asked Throness to comment on the NDP caucus press release, and he pointed to his comments on Twitter, adding: “My concern here is that the government wants to pay for the cost of child care in part by sending more parents to work, but this must not be done at the expense of child welfare. In the light of studies that show some ill effects of universal care in Quebec, the program must be carefully designed.”

A Twitter spat ensued in which Chen said in a press release the next day, that Throness doubled down.

“Does Andrew Wilkinson agree with his critic that childcare is ‘harmful’ to kids?” read the headline of the press release.

“On Tuesday, Throness claimed that childcare is ‘not about parents,’ suggesting that reducing costs for parents and helping them return to work were not good reasons to invest in childcare,” the release stated.

“To sum up, Throness believes: Childcare is ‘harmful’ to children; Parents (often mothers) should just stay home; We shouldn’t reduce childcare costs or improve access for families. Despite these views (and many others, including being anti-SOGI and anti-abortion), Wilkinson kept Throness in his role as Critic for Children and Family Development and Child Care when he shuffled his critics in September.”

Chen insists that the BC Liberal leader “and his hand-picked childcare critic are out of touch with B.C. parents.”


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Chilliwack-Kent MLA Laurie Throness speaking on Feb. 22, 2018. (Screenshot)

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