BC NDP leader John Horgan said he is renewing his commitment to deliver a $10-a-day childcare plan in 10 years, and blamed the BC Green Party for getting in the way of his 2017 election commitment.
"We took a step back of course because the BC Greens wouldn't support the $10-a-day plan," he told reporters on a campaign stop in Maple Ridge. "They support childcare but they did not support the $10-a-day plan."
In three and a half years, Horgan said his NDP government has launched $10-a-day prototype programs in parts of the province and has been able to create 20,000 new childcare spaces. The number falls short of the 24,000 spaces his government committed to create in three years.
"We did what was possible in a minority position," he said, noting that the upcoming election affords British Columbians an opportunity to vote in a stable government not reliant on "backroom deals."
The press conference, held alongside Lisa Beare, NDP candidate for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, and Bob D'Eith, NDP candidate for Maple Ridge-Mission, included a commitment to expand the $10-a-day pilot program.
Horgan did not clarify whether his renewed commitment to childcare resets his 10-year timeline on a universal $10-a-day plan.
Next month, B.C.'s Child Opportunity Benefit will begin offering families $1,600 per child, per year, up to $3,400 for a family with three children. It applies to children under the age of 18 and is expected to help support 300,000 families.
Horgan's remarks follow Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's commitment to invest in creating a Canada-wide early learning and childcare system. The BC NDP leader said his intention to roll out $10-a-day childcare is not contingent on receiving federal funds, but that he is looking forward to the details of the plan.
“We’ve heard it over and over and over again. I can’t go to work unless I find someone to take care of my children," he said. "We need more money for housing and childcare."
More to come.