By Terry Vanderheyden

TORONTO, January 25, 2006 ( – Toronto Mayor David Miller cautioned Prime-Minister-elect Stephen Harper to honour a promise by outgoing Prime Minister Paul Martin to provide federally-funded day-care.

Miller highlighted that the Conservatives won no new seats in the major urban centres of Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. “By Torontonians and people in Vancouver and Montreal voting for their cities, it sends a strong message that cities needs need to be addressed if you’re going to succeed electorally in the city,” Miller said, according to a Canadian Press report.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty added his suggestion that Harper reassure Ontarians by honouring the Liberal’s five-year commitment to expand day-care spaces.

Conservative intergovernmental affairs critic Rona Ambrose, who helped craft the Tory platform on child-care, said the Liberal’s proposal for free universal daycare was so under-budgeted that most parents would never see the program anyway. She said the program the Liberal’s envisioned would cost closer to $10 billion per year rather than the $1.2 billion they forecasted.

“They are setting up expectations that are not fair to Canadian families,” Ambrose told the Toronto Star. She said the Conservative plan to put money directly into the hands of parents was much more efficient. In addition, an additional proposal from the Conservatives offered a tax incentive to employers to build child care facilities for their employees.

Harper said he would honour the first year of the proposed Liberal deal by spending $1.9 billion to expand daycare.

McGuinty expressed doubt that Harper would be successful in his offer to reimburse parents directly with the $1,200 per child per year under the age of six, considering that they are in a minority position. “He’s going to need the support of the other parties to move that forward,” McGuinty said. “We’ll have to wait and see if in fact he can do that.”

Contact David Miller:

E-mail: [email protected]

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