Time for a better choice



The upcoming federal election is an opportunity for all of us to take a stand on issues that matter.

Issues like child care, good jobs, retirement security, and health care matter to Canadians, and in this election voters have a chance to make a better choice.

For the very young and their families, we can choose to support an affordable, high quality child care program for all. Only one out of five Canadian children under age six now has access to a regulated child care space. Finding quality, affordable care can be a never-ending struggle, and for many families the cost is their second-highest expense after housing.

Quebec's $7 a day child care program has increased the number of women in the workforce, pumping an additional $5.2 billion into the Quebec economy - which has more than paid for their child care program. Quebec's example shows that a national child care system is a better choice for children, families and the economy.

For working age Canadians, we can choose to support the creation of good, family supporting jobs. Nearly one million Canadians currently have to juggle multiple jobs to make ends meet, and our shaky economic recovery has left 2.8 million Canadians unemployed or underemployed.

The impact is even worse for younger Canadians, who face double the national unemployment rate. They need us to choose a federal government that will develop a real jobs strategy to help create full-time work with the kind of wages that can support families.

For seniors, we can choose to support a plan that allows them to retire with dignity. Currently, 11 million Canadians don't have a workplace pension. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee and a donut a day, the average worker could double their CPP benefits at retirement. Provincial governments support this plan, but the federal government has refused to implement it.

For Canadians of all ages, we can choose to support a stronger, public health care system. The federal government is cutting $36 billion in health care transfers to the provinces at a time when more than 3 million Canadians can't afford the prescription medication they need, and when a shortage of 86,000 long-term care beds is expected over the next 10 years. We need that money, and federal leadership, to create a national plan to provide prescription drug coverage for all Canadians, and to improve seniors care across the country.

We can do better as a society, as a country. This fall as voters, let's make a better choice.