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June Callwood defends daycare

Daycare is now a fact of life for many Canadian families but for most of the past century it's been the subject of fierce debate. Turn-of-the-century day nurseries were considered little more than "child farms" by many, while politicians of the 1950s blamed juvenile delinquency on daycares and "crèches." More recently a debate has swirled around the merits of universal daycare versus traditional parenting. CBC Archives looks at the changing face of daycare, from its charitable beginnings more than a century ago to the ongoing fight for a federally funded system.

Drug-addicted teenagers, abused women, AIDS patients; June Callwood has stood up for many causes over the past four decades. This CBC Radio clip from 1966 finds her in her early activist days and features Callwood at her fierce and funny best. Taken from a CBC free-time political broadcast, the activist and writer challenges preconceived notions of daycare and lambastes politicians who display what she calls "a style of thinking [that] is beautifully 1890s." 
. Then 42 years old, journalist and activist Callwood was quick to fend off accusations that government funded day-care centres were communist by nature. Politicians of the time were critical of the notion of taxpayer-supported childcare, which they deemed the institutionalization of childhood.
. Some had accused day-care centres of being gathering places for communists and anarchists.


. Callwood, herself a mother of four, urges for public money to be spent on day-care centres to help reduce the number of latchkey kids and unattended children.
. To see more clips about June Callwood, see our topic "June Callwood: Canada's Conscience."
. According to Callwood, the borough of North York, Ont., had 6,600 children in need of daycare and only 150 spots.


. British doctor D.H. Stott, who Callwood quotes in this clip, was a world-renowned child psychologist who developed the Bristol Social Adjustment Guides during the 1950s. The groundbreaking test was designed to measure social maladjustment in children, and continues to be used by schools today.

. The idea of a national daycare network was first acknowledged by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1970. In that year his Liberal government passed the Local Initiatives Projects (LIP) to help build community-based childcare centres. LIP was withdrawn in 1973, but in 1971 Trudeau introduced the Child Care Expense Deduction which gave families a tax break for part of their daycare expenses.
. In this clip Callwood is taking the place of an NDP politician as part of a free-time political broadcast.

. The CBC has offered free airtime to official political parties for nearly 70 years. The practice began in the 1930s on CBC Radio-Canada and was extended to CBC Television in the 1950s.
. According to the CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices, "[It is] in the best interest of the democratic process to make periods of program time available to duly registered political parties . to explain directly the platform for which they are seeking the support of the electorate."

. The CBC offers a minimum of two minutes of free airtime to any political party running for office during federal or provincial elections. Between elections, the broadcaster offers free time to any party that holds official status in either the House of Commons or any of the provincial legislatures.
. Provincial Affairs, the program for which June Callwood recorded this statement, continues to broadcast statements from political parties on a weekly basis.
Medium: Radio
Program: Political Broadcasts
Broadcast Date: July 5, 1966
Commentator: June Callwood
Duration: 4:04
Photo: CBC Design Library

Last updated: November 23, 2012

Page consulted on December 6, 2013

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