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Liberal apologizes for saying Harper day-care bucks may buy beer, popcorn

Scott Reid
A top aide to Liberal Leader Paul Martin apologized on Sunday(Dec 11)shortly after suggesting on national television that Canadians might spend child-care money on beer and popcorn.

Scott Reid, Martin's director of communications, was attacking a Conservative plan to give families of young children $1,200 a year for child care.

"Don't give people 25 bucks a week to blow on beer and popcorn," Reid said during a panel discussion on CBC News: Sunday. "Give them child-care spaces that work. Stephen Harper's plan has nothing to do with child care."

The Conservative on the panel called the comment "an insult," and said it proves that the Liberals don't trust families to make their own choices about what's best for their children. Reid quickly issued an apology.

Your letters:

The apology means nothing. This was a slip-up that shows the Liberals' true feelings towards Canadians in general. They do not trust Canadians with their own money. They believe THEY know what's best for us and how to spend our money better than we do. How utterly insulting to our collective intelligence.

Let the parents decide how they want to care for their children. The last thing Canadians need is ANOTHER giant money-sucking bureaucracy that delivers little service for massive amounts of Canadians' money.


Scott Reid has hit the nail on the head, though he hit some Conservative's thumbs in the process. As NDP leader Jack Layton mentions, the Conservative plan gives a little over $3 a day to parents. What can that buy, besides some snacks? province: Ontario —John Fleming | Toronto

Tricky Liberals. The Scott Reid popcorn and beer gaff regarding child care money was no gaff at all. It was contrived to let voters know that indeed the money That Harper has promised is not tied to child care and could be spent elsewhere. The apology issued by Reid were 'crocodile tears'?

—Frank Johnston | Port Alberni, B.C.

When my oldest children were small, I worked part-time in the evening and on weekends so that they could be cared for by my husband. We arranged things this way so that they would be raised by no one but us. Seventeen years later, we are very pleased and proud of the results. However, we ran on a deficit and have only recently paid down the accumulated debt with my husband's latest increases in salary and some home equity to put towards it.

Liberals quibble about how parents would spend the 1,200 dollars annually per child proposed by Stephen Harper. Scott Reid thinks it will go towards "beer and popcorn". They are right-- in many cases it won't go tday carere.

I have a picture in my mind of me, many years ago, returning home from work at 11:30 p.m. to find my husband on his back under the car. Beside him is a Hayne's manual open to whatever page he needs as he struggles through a repair.

No, if we had been getting that money, it wouldn't have gone tday carere. It might have gone to a mechanic. With a little money left over for beer and popcorn, we could have celebrated!

—Michelle Martin | Hamilton, Ontario

Scott Reid's point regarding Stephen Harper's child care cheques, though perhaps poorly phrased, is entirely apt. Government requires accountability that taxpayer money will be spent appropriately, not just sent out as cash.

Furthermore, the money will go to everybody with children, not just those with lower incomes who need it most. If we want to return child care cash to lower income families, then let's offer a rebate to those who submit a tax return with dependents listed and who have a low income instead. That way, the money goes to those who actually have low incomes.

—Justin Friesen | Winnipeg

I completely agree with the gaffe made by Scott Reid. Unfortunately a large portion of the population would not use it for kids. Just a few interviews from the day Harper announced it proves it. "I'd have a great christmas" was one comment.

I knew quite a few people growing up who unfortunately were receiving social assistance. I always felt horrible for them because their parents used child allowance and social assistance for cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol. It was most definitely not an isolated case.

I even came across mothers wanting more children for the money they would receive. Before flipping out you might want to consider that the truth sometimes hurts.

— Jason Walters | Toronto

Why should this top Liberal apologizes for saying out loud what I'm sure a few million other Canadians probably said under their breath the second they heard about Harper's Day care plan? I know I said it too!

—Philip Sullivan | Waterloo, Ontario

Liberal Scott Reid insults all Canadian parents on CBC when he said the Conservative child care plan will just" give Canadian parents 25 dollar a day to spend on beer and popcorn". Canadian Parents should string him up for such an insult.

—Peter Benyk

The Liberal day care plan makes absolutely no provisions for families that live in small rural areas that do not have any formal day care and do not have the population and funds to warrant a day care facility.

The rural population of Canada depend on grandparents, other relatives and even neighbors. In some of the slightly larger communities the waiting lists are so long that the child would be inkindergartenn before an opening would even be available. At least the Conservative plan offers some compensation to ALL who require child care.

I also strongly object to the manner in which the Liberal spokesman, Scott Reid, denigratess loving parents by insinuating that we would use the $1200 for alcohol, cigarettes and other irresponsible uses.

—M. Dolinsky

While Reid's apology might have been the politically correct thing to do, the truth is that what he said is closer to the truth than we would like to believe.

Harper wants to buy votes the same way that Klein does it in Alberta: place cash in the hands of the voters, suggest to them it should be used for day care, and then shrug when it is used for something else. And then when someone comes after you for not doing enough for day care (or health care or schools), you have the perfect excuse: "Why, I just gave you $100 for day care. What else do you want?"

—Michael Mirolla | Toronto

Scott Reid has nothing to apologize for! People have ranted and raved for years about liberals trying to buy people's votes with their own money! This "Child Care" money is the most blatant, shameless, obvious attempt by the Conservatives to buy the votes of Canadian parents.

It has nothing to do with child care, and to pretend otherwise is foolish! If you give people $100/month without any oversight on how it must be spent, what do people really think will happen?

$1200/yr is not enough for even the most basic child care. Beer and popcorn it would be! If the conservatives were serious about child care maybe they should have tried tax rebates, incentives, or refunds for parents who had expenses related to child care. It would be much more effective than this vote-buying exercise. I take my hat off to Scott for actually saying it!

—Mike Williams | Toronto

Liberals think the Conservatives 1200.00 a yearchid caree fund will buy beer and popcorn. Well what have they been drinking when they made that comment? We are a working couple trying to make ends meet and raise three kids. It costs money to raise kids plus we pay our fair share of taxes. Whats wrong with a helping hand?

—Darcy Smith | Prince Albert, Saskatchewan

Of course people will use the Conservatives $100 per month for popcorn and beer. What I want to know is will they supply popcorn and beer to same sex couples.

— Rian Martin | Langley, B.C.

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