Mr. Speaker, the member makes a good point. We served on the health committee together and we did a study on preventive strategies for the good health of children.
Members and Canadians should know that according to the very best research the first three years in the life of an infant are the most critical in terms of the probability of positive future outcomes of the child. In fact, the mental health of a human being is more than 80 per cent locked in or established by the age of 3. That is why parents intuitively know that they want the choice to provide direct parental care during those first three years. If we looked at the statistics we would find that the demand for child care spaces for ages 0 to 3 years in Canada is about 270,000 spaces but from ages 3 to 5 years it jumps up to 524,000 spaces. That means that after a child reaches the age of 3 years, more and more families feel they have stabilized the situation.
The member is quite right that we must focus our attention on the formative years. That is when children get a good start. If we do that there will be a healthier outcome, lower health care costs, lower social program costs, lower criminal justice costs and a healthier country because healthy families and healthy children make a strong country.
Also the finance minister said that good fiscal policy makes good social policy and good social policy makes good fiscal policy. This is very good social policy and it will make good fiscal policy as well.