Federal Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff was in Halifax yesterday to declare early child learning as “the most important social priority of an incoming Liberal government.”
Ignatieff and Dartmouth-Cole Harbour MP Michael Savage met with child-care advocates at Peter Green Hall Children’s Centre to discuss a national child-care program.
“It’s the most important thing we can do for Canadian children,” Ignatieff said.
“I think Canadians are generous and compassionate people. And they understand when we stand equally, when we give everybody an equal start, we do better as a country.”
Ignatieff said a national early learning and child-care strategy would be a stimulus to social infrastructure. He said the program would take a “substantial investment,” but Liberals would build the spaces and pay for the operating costs.
“Nothing distinguishes our party from the Conservatives more clearly than this,” he said.
“They are giving families the $1,200. Everybody is saying in the field that this does not buy quality child care.”
Ignatieff was also in town for the Nova Scotia Liberal Party’s Annual General Meeting. At the meeting, he announced he would reverse a decision by his predecessor Stéphane Dion not to run a candidate against Green party Leader Elizabeth May. May finished second in the last election to Defence Minister Peter MacKay in the Central Nova riding. Ignatieff said the Liberals will run a candidate in that riding in the next election.
“I’m honoured to run a national party. And a national party runs 308 candidates in every riding in the country without exception,” he said.
When asked by reporters if that meant the Liberals were not a national party in the last election, Ignatieff said he wasn’t going to go backwards, but was instead looking forward to next time.