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Statement: Child Care Spaces and Prison Spaces

Honourable senators, I would like to bring your attention to the issue of creating spaces, as this government has outlined in the budget tabled last week. Yes, creating spaces for prisoners and creating spaces for child care. Ha, but let us look further than the current spin on this issue.

Creating spaces for child care is only an incentive mechanism — $250 million in tax credits, not cash, per year for five years to create 125,000 child-care spaces. In real terms it is about $400 million for five years or, even better, it represents $3,200 per child-care space in capital costs with no incentive for operating costs.

Let us look at creating prisoner spaces. Minister of Public Safety, Stockwell Day, indicated that his department will spend $245 million over the next five years to build more federal prison spaces to accommodate 400 new prisoners. In capital costs, this spending represents $612,000 per space. As well, the yearly operating cost is $82,000 per prisoner, times 400 prisoners, to a total of $32.8 million for life.

This Reform Conservative government would rather invest $612,000 for one prisoner space while spending only $3,200 per childcare space. This route is the one these Reform Conservatives are taking. Is this how they view the future of Canadian society? Is this where we should invest? Do you truly believe that Canada will be a better place with more prison spaces than child-care spaces? Do you believe that Canadians' hard-earned money should be spent on the future or on the past? The issue is, we either build for, and invest in, the future for child-care spaces for law-abiding citizens or we invest in the past. Every sociologist, criminologist and economist is up front about saying that Canada must invest in its future and Canada must invest in its children. This area is not where the Reform Conservative government is investing. Please reflect on this issue. I say, what a shame that you are wasting our dollars like this.