Investing in kids
I would like to express my support towards Ralph Forsyth and his exasperation regarding the daycare situation in Whistler and indeed the Province of B.C. Certainly any reduction in daycare spaces is extremely short sighted. The RMOW has a goal of retaining a high percentage of local workers and this will be impossible to achieve with the costs of employee housing and a lack of daycare spaces. Not many families can afford housing in Whistler or Pemberton with only one income and Squamish is becoming less affordable as well. This puts increased stress on families; parenting in shifts is not the answer.
B.C. has one of the highest child poverty statistics in the country. Quebec has created a universal daycare program which costs all families less than $10/day. It is true that the federal Conservatives destroyed the viability of daycare when they stripped direct spending towards childcare. When asked about the correlation between affordable, effective childcare and incarceration costs for Conservative policies regarding harsher crime penalties, MP John Weston drew a blank.
Studies have shown as much as a three-fold cost benefit in social spending when the money is spent on early childhood programs. Higher graduation rates are one benefit. Our local graduation rates for boys and aboriginal students show we have some work to do in our corridor. Canadian Association of Police Chiefs study reports: "79 of 100 people entering Canadian correctional facilities don't have their high school diploma." Universal daycare can equalize children's readiness for Kindergarten - a measured statistic, also an indicator for graduation. Presently, socio-economics are a better indicator. Social programming for teens is challenging but necessary to keep some kids in school. Even with passionate youth workers and educators, this is a hard group to reach.
There has been a lot of focus on gang violence in the Lower Mainland, the only solution offered is increased jail time and more policing. Too bad the infamous Bacon brothers didn't learn to play well with others at an early age! Helping families with affordable childcare and housing as well as improved education funding is the better way. The children entering Kindergarten this year will retire in 2074. We have a provincial election coming up; do you want bigger bridges or better kids?
Sea to Sky School District
Now is not the time to cut back
In Doug Player's letter to the editor last week, he questioned why Tourism Whistler would need funding from the RMOW "when the Olympics will bring exceptional free publicity next year."