According to a new poll by the Institute for Marriage and Family, Canadians are not as “left” as the politicians would like them to be when it comes to child care.
Parents are rarely asked what they want in the perennial daycare debates. Legislators weigh in. Educators weigh in. Activists weigh in. But parents—too tired to write up press releases after the kids go to bed and lacking a union to speak for them—are an afterthought.
The end result is family policy that pushes for more institutional, government-funded care. In Ontario, the expansion of all-day kindergarten was initially intended as a first step toward universal daycare. The costs are completely unwieldy, so this is likely where the expansion will stop. And yet, voices still cry for more and more daycare spaces, purportedly to benefit parents.
As it turns out, this is not what parents want. We can see this very clearly thanks to a new poll, which examines parental childcare preferences nation-wide.
The results show that seventy-six percent of Canadians in general and 69% of Canadian parents with children under six right now believe it is best for small children to be at home with a parent.
The poll further asks how the government should spend money to look after children. Sixty-one percent of Canadians believe that government money should go straight to families.
Only 12% believe that government should provide subsidies to daycare centres. A mere 10% believe that the government should expand the public school system so that daycare for children of all ages is included. Adding those together, that’s still only about one in five parents who agree with the current direction of some provincial governments. (Source)
These results astounded me, so I decided to check the methodology of the poll. We all know that the manner in which a question is posed can greatly influence the responses. The questionnaire is very good. The questions were definitely posed in a very neutral and unbiased manner. Moreover, the sample size was 2,022, which is double the size of most political polls. yielding a small margin of error of +/- 2.2%, nineteen times out of twenty.
Bottom line: the poll is legit and the results are statistically credible.
The Institute for Marriage and Family is a great organization. Check out their website for some good research on family issues.