POLITICS

NDP Child-Care Plan Attacked By Liberals With 'Leaked' Briefing Note

09/22/2015 02:25 EDT | Updated 09/22/2015 08:59 EDT
CP

The NDP say the Liberals are off-base in their latest attack on one of Thomas Mulcair’s cornerstone campaign planks.

The Liberal Party circulated what they say is a "leaked" NDP briefing note Tuesday, which outlines background information to support Mulcair's bold $15-a-day national child-care proposal.

The problem, according to the Liberals, is around the framing of Mulcair’s promise and how its pledge of one million child-care spaces is being sold to Canadians.

Marked "Not for External Distribution," the internal document reveals the NDP will "create or maintain a million quality childcare spaces in Canada," read the Liberal release.

The NDP responded to the attack by saying its messaging has been consistent since Oct. 14 last year when the party first announced its child-care plan.

A statement and backgrounder was released that day using the “create or maintain” wording, said NDP press secretary Mélanie Richer in an email.

The party has repeatedly said it needs eight years to achieve its goal of one million spaces. Mulcair has attracted criticism from some provinces for lacking details about its implementation.

Ontario Education Minister Liz Sandals told The Canadian Press in August that though new federal funding is welcome, the NDP plan, as it exists currently, leaves “a lot” of unanswered questions on the table.

In the Maritimes, funding worries were echoed by New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.

“We would have concerns in terms of what the cost would be for us as a province,” Gallant said on CTV News Monday.

Mulcair has long argued that his national affordable child-care proposal makes economic sense and will help bring more women into the workforce — a result observed in his native Quebec since the province made access to its own low-fee program universal in 1997. It’s also a pledge that has been adopted in the Green Party platform as well.

If implemented, the NDP plan would cost $5 billion annually. Mulcair has said provinces would need to sign on and agree to foot 40 per cent of the bill.

With files from The Canadian Press

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