Just leave a couple of twenties on the bedstand before you leave

I got a Very Special Communique today.

It was from Human Resources Development Canada.

The Guvviment of Canada has taken this opportunity to inform me that my youngest child has attained the age of six years. DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? This means that we will, officially, no longer receive the “Universal Child Care Benefit”.

Remember that? The most heinously misnamed program in the history of government programs? Remember when the Conservatives were running for office, and they campaigned on, at least in part, providing “every Canadian family with a financial benefit for each child under the age of six living with them”? This program was the Conservatives’ lethargic and ill-thought-out answer to the Liberals’ ill-developed and never-implemented Universal Child Care platform. That they’d been saying they were going to make for something like thirty years.

So then the Conservatives come along and they’re all, “Universal Child Care? Nobody wants that.”

And then Quebec and Ontario (the only parts of Canada that matter) were all, “Um. Actually….”

And then the Conservatives were all, “FINE. We totally have that too.”

And then everyone else was all, “ORLY?”

And the Conservatives were all, “TOTALLY.”

And the Liberals were all, “Pfft. You’re going to give money to everyone in Canada with a kid under six? What the hell is that going to do? They’re just going to spend that money on beer and popcorn!”

And then the Liberals lost the election, and so Canadians with Children under six received $1200 a year for each kid under six. That works out, for those of you without Math, to approximately $100 a month. (Technically, it works out to *exactly* $100 a month.) While some people claim that it’s “better than nothing”, these are usually the same people who claim that Government should get the hell out of our business and do away with income tax and subsidies and benefits of all kind.

I’ll have you know that I have only used that $100 a month for beer and popcorn in bona fide beer and popcorn emergencies. The rest of the time, I have used that money for *responsible* things that contributed to my child’s welfare. Like prostitutes and gang memberships. And if you save up for a couple of months, you can afford a machete from Cambodian Tyre, and machetes are *totally legal* in this province. Which means it’s perfectly okay for kids to have them.

I always said, “since that Universal Child Care Benefit doesn’t actually benefit my child in any tangible way, and since it doesn’t address any child care isses that we face, I might as well use it for educational purposes.” And since learning how to live on the streets is a pretty important milestone, investing in their street education is going to be pretty instrumental. Because, let’s face it. On a $6,000 a year (per child) child care bill, $1200 doesn’t even begin to become synonymous with “support”. But it can buy a nice machete.

So anyway, the government has done its share in encouraging me to breed, which I have dutifully done.

You know, when my grandmother turned a million and six years old this past July, she received a letter from the Premier that said “Congratulations on still being alive!” She thought that was pretty spiffy. The letter was all embossed in gold…or at least it had been run through a colour printer. It had been hand-signed, or at least stamped with a stamp of Brad Wall’s signature. Anyway. It was nice.

I was kind of surprised that the letter I received from the Government of Canada didn’t have, like, balloons on it and something like “CONGRADULATIONS!” sprawling across the top in 3D block letters, with party hats and confetti shooting out underneath. And maybe a starburst “seal” in the lower right hand corner that had “6 Years Old!” on it in Comic Sans. But the Government of Canada does not approve of fun.

So what I received today was the equivalent of what happens at the crappiest neighbourhood bar you’ve ever been in where the woman who serves you at the beginning of the night looked a lot like one of the Golden Girls in a Catholic school uniform, with blue eyeshadow, too much blush, and a few missing teeth, and at the end of the night looks like Kim Kardashian. It’s like when she walks over to your table and says “last call was twenty minutes ago; drink up and get lost. You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. My corns are killing me.” And you get a whiff of her breath and it’s just plain rotten.

I just got kicked out of the shittiest bar on the planet by the ugliest, meanest waitress ever invented.

  10 comments for “Just leave a couple of twenties on the bedstand before you leave

  1. the_iron_troll
    26 November 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Where did that $6000 come from? How is it a $6000 bill? If you’re talking about the 6 years of $1200, wouldn’t it be $7200?

    I have Math!

    Also-too, you should go to fewer shitty bars.

    • 26 November 2010 at 8:57 pm

      It costs a minimum of $6,000 a year for daycare. That’s where it came from. Unless you’re paying someone far less than what it is actually worth to raise your children while you’re working to cover the $6,000 a year (and that’s PER CHILD) it costs to put your kids in daycare.

      In actual fact, it costs more like $7,000 per year per kid under six, and between $4,000 – $6,000 per year per kid over six.

  2. Woz
    27 November 2010 at 2:39 pm

    $6000 dollars is not a minimum.

    We currently pay about $7000 for two kids, for extremely good child care. It takes some searching to find good child care for that amount. But it is out there. If both kids were under 6 it would be closer to $9000/yr

    The amount we, and a few other parents pay her allows our child care provider to stay with her children while also providing care for our children. She has two children of her own and takes care of about 4-6 others. During the summer, if we are working the bill goes up because the kids are not in school. During this time we pay her about $10/hour perhaps slightly less. Now each of the other parents also pay her the same amount which during the summer when she has reached he max allowed kids works out to be about $30/hour. On average I expect it is significantly less than that. But if it works out to be $20/hour it still works out to be $40k/year. Which is not bad. Probably gets lots of tax breaks on the house and stuff too. Feeding kids who are under 8 doesn’t cost too much, though it is a cost. But otherwise there is not a lot of overhead.

    So she is appropriately paid. And it costs the parents significantly less than $6000/child/year. And there really are lots of good child care providers like her out there. Finding ones with spaces open can be stressful though.

    If one wants to pay for institutional child care, it does cost more. There might be benefits of institutional child care, but most studies suggest that those benefits are largely for disadvantaged children. The benefits to “advantaged” children are minim

    Either way $100 dollars/month doesn’t do much. But I appreciate it. It is not an insult, no one asked me to breed, except maybe my wife, I don’t believe the money is owed to me or anyone else. I don’t think that that money or any other is required for child care for persons with even modest means. For people who are truly not well off there are significant child care subsidies. Though that being said, even I think the the income levels to qualify are ridiculously low. And I believe the subsidies only apply at provincially licensed day cares, which are usually more expensive. That being said the subsidies are quite reasonable.

    • 28 November 2010 at 2:17 pm

      Well, my math could be off.

      It has never cost me less than $500/month for full-time child care for kids under six. By my reckoning, that’s $6,000 a year. Even in private daycare. Even that is only $30/day. Most people won’t work for $30/day. So. For me, it has *always* cost at least $6,000/year. I qualified for a subsidy for eight months out of the past eleven years. The subsidy paid less than half of the childcare expenses; closer to a third. Which was nice, I’ll admit. However, most of the people I know who have children cannot receive the subsidies because both parents are working. I paid roughly the same (a little more, but not significantly more) for non-private/institutional daycare.

      The bigger issue, really, is that it is nearly impossible to *find* quality daycare. Which is what Universal Daycare was *supposed* to be about.

      And sure, nobody asked you to breed. But nobody asked you to work, either. Nobody asked you to finish school. Nobody asked you to get married, and nobody asked you to learn to read. Nobody asked you to do anything that’s made your life better. If you don’t need the child benefit, you don’t have to apply for it.

      I find it insulting. We went from a system that calculated a percentage of what you might spend on a child of a certain age (that was still a little goofy, but we received $300 a month for our first kid when he was a baby, and that reduced to $100 a month when he turned 5. In case childless folks’re wondering, it’s almost impossible to raise a kid for that kind of dough) to a system that solidly brought everyone to a lower level than they would have been otherwise.

      Anyhow. I think the former system was an insult, too. Particularly since it costs *more* to raise your kids the older they get, not less.

  3. BPM IV
    28 November 2010 at 5:32 pm

    For me, the insult lies in the fact that this $100 is trumpeted as some sort of solution to the problems with childcare, when it, in fact, doesn’t address the biggest problem, which is, quite simply – the number of spots available.

    That $100 creates exactly ZERO spots. Not one. If anything, it creates a shortage, because people can now stretch their budget a bit further to take advantage of child care.

    • 30 November 2010 at 7:44 am

      That’s kind of what I was trying to get at (the first bit), but didn’t do at all well.

i make squee noises when you tell me stuff.

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