Concerns about universal models stem less from an opposition to something than from a commitment to mothers choosing what works best for their family. Universal child care fails to meet the diverse needs of Canadian families. It is possible that some believe mothering to be a job all on its own, demanding full-time attention, but it is at least as likely, and perhaps more likely, that opposition to national daycare stems from a personal preference for more flexible, diverse forms of care that are more local and based in the home.1 There are many reasons to engage in waged work on a full- or part-time basis, whether a parent or not. Many view a government push for highly subsidized child care as stemming less from a desire to enhance family choices and more to serving business or union interests.2 Whatever the view, it is worth understanding the concerns of those opposed, rather than making assumptions about why these views are held.
Those against national daycare are sometimes mischaracterized as being against women’s rights. This is ironic, given the drive to help families have more time together, with greater diversity of choices in care— values often associated with the progressive left. This may be why the coalition of those opposed to national daycare includes Canadians from a variety of backgrounds and political persuasions.