'Ridiculous': N.B. asks daycare operators to spread its message about subsidy cuts
New Brunswick daycare operators say they’re baffled after being asked by the provincial government to help distribute its message on controversial subsidy cuts.
The government is planning to cut daycare subsidies that have served as a top up for operators, in order to move that money to help hire new workers at new daycares.
This week New Brunswick daycares received a letter from Early Childhood Development Minister Serge Rousselle explaining the cuts.
Fredericton daycare operator Carla Flynn says she’s “insulted” to be asked to distribute the letter to parents.
She says she won’t oblige.
“They're educated enough, they understand that it's just propaganda and that it's trying to pit different parts of the sector against each other — and it won't work,” Flynn said.
Green Party Leader David Coon is also among those criticizing the move.
“To have them be required to post this on their door is disrespectful of those women and is about the most ridiculous communications initiative I've ever heard any government minister undertake,” Coon said.
Several dozen daycare operators and workers gathered at the provincial legislature on Thursday to rally against the cuts before a debate on an opposition motion to reverse them.
Minister Rouselle came outside to address the protesters.
“It's quite obvious that we cannot agree on the distribution of this QFIS funding,” he told them.
While the government seems unwilling to budge from its position, some have doubts that the new daycare spaces — which the funding is being diverted to support — will ever materialize.
“Why would they want to go into debt to come out making $10.30 an hour? The startups are just not going to happen,” said Flynn.
She said daycares are struggling to stay afloatand the cuts mean there will be fewer daycare spaces, but those will cost more.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Andy Campbell