Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sunday Morning Coming Down

A few thoughts on a beautiful Sunday morning on Point Grey.

1.) The NDP is set to announce a child benefit program worth as much as $400 per month per child. The money will be given directly to parents, will not be taxed, and will continue until children are 18. This is highly significant for two reasons. First, it is clearly more generous than the Tory plan, but also much more generous than the proposed child care plan of the Liberal Party. Layton may well have outplayed Dion by waiting to release this policy. While this is enough to push him into the Official Opposition is clearly in doubt, but it is helpful for at least two reasons. One, it appears pragmatic. Second, Dion is likely to atack Layton for a lack of commitment to creating more child care spaces directly. Layton, of course, will turn around and accuse Dion of holding onto old and failed policies. This makes for another distinction between the Liberals and the NDP and it is to the benefit of the New Democrats. For whatever its merits, the Liberal child care policy of creating spaces was never nearly as popular as its advocates suppose.

The second reason why this announcement is so important is because it marks a sea change in policy away from a large state-directed creation of daycare spaces and towards the direct funding of parents. The merits of either system are debatable, but for what it's worth I was always suspicious about the claims of those who wanted to provide state day care, not because I oppose it in principle but because it sounded highly implausible practically. I guess we won't be finding out for a while anyways.

2.) The debates are this Thursday. It's really a toss-up between the American VP debates and the Canadian English debate. I'll be watching the second as I've been invited to a community event to talk about the debates a bit before hand and then moderate some discussion afterwards. Later this week, I'll post my little spiel explaining what I think they are trying to accomplish.

3.) I am similarly speaking at the Killam Foundation dinner at UBC tomorrow night. I was lucky to win a couple of Killams this year and this dinner is to recognize the UBC winners. I'll be talking about my research and, hopefully, demonstrating how the Killam's contribution to research (and Canada) is so significant.

4.) In between these two events I'll be flying home for a funeral. My Uncle Al died on Thursday night. When I can get through putting my memories of him to paper I shall post them as well. We can't avoid these things for long, even if we preface them with three points of useless front matter. In the meantime, I am off into a Sunday morning hoping I'll find something to take "me back to somethin', That I'd lost somehow, somewhere along the way."

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