We need to do better

I have sometimes joked over the past year that I have been running a daycare of sorts in the legislative building.

Like many Manitoba parents, I did not have child care for my kids before and after school. As a result, I drove them to school in the morning before heading to work at the legislature. After question period finished in the afternoon, I drove back to my children’s school and picked them up at the end of their school day. We would then head back to the legislature, have an after school snack and do some "home reading" together in my office.

If I had to vote or give a speech in the chamber that afternoon, I would walk my kids up to the gallery where they could watch the proceedings and I could see them. The legislative security staff have been super kind as they enforce the rules in the gallery which require that no one, even kids, make noise as debates happen in the chamber below.

I realize I am lucky to have been able to manage my legislative schedule so I did not miss any speeches or votes while picking up my kids. I am also fortunate to have flexible colleagues in the legislative building who let my sons hang out at our workplace for a few hours a day. Finally, I am grateful to our supportive family who helped with child care on the days where votes kept me in the legislature all afternoon.

Our child care situation has now changed and I no longer have to bring my kids to work after school. Still, it has been a good reminder for me about the challenge many families in Fort Rouge and across our province have in getting their kids in child care. I know many families don’t have the same flexibility at work or family members close by to watch the kids. That makes their lack of child care even more challenging. That causes real stress. Some parents I have spoken to decided whether or not to go back to work based in part on their child care situation.

We have to do better in making sure every family in Fort Rouge has the child care they need. Let my office know if this has been an issue for you at Wab.Kinew@YourManitoba.ca or 204-615-1922.