Former Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, who introduced $5-a-day daycare during her time as education minister, is speaking out against the government's cuts.
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Marois addresses Premier Philippe Couillard directly in a video released early Monday morning as part of a campaign by the CSN, a Quebec labour federation.
The Couillard government is cutting an additional $120 million from daycare budgets this year — at the same as increasing fees for parents.
In the video, Marois argues daycares are a "jewel" that must be protected.
"They offer quality to those who are our future and our hope," Marois says.
"Mr. Couillard, don't let them down."
In the video, Marois says publicly funded daycares help fight poverty, especially for single-parent households and mothers who are immigrants. She adds that they also provide equal opportunity for all children across Quebec.
The public program was introduced by Marois in 1997 when she was the province's education minister.
As premier, she was planning to raise the daily fee to $8 in 2014 and $9 in 2015.
The Couillard government, however, introduced a sliding scale for daycare fees.
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Quebec parents who have children in a subsidized daycare will have to pay an extra fee based on their family income when they file their income taxes this spring.
For some parents, it could mean owing the government as much as $2,300 per child.