Mr. Speaker, on December 5, I asked a question that is very important to me because it has to do with something that has been the focus of my entire professional life, and that is women's rights. However, as has been the case a number of times when I have asked this government a question, I was not impressed with the answer.
Nonetheless, I am glad that we are having a debate on the employability of women in Canada as we assess the new budget.
Since the beginning of my mandate, I have been meeting with the people of Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, and I have always listened to their concerns. What they tell me is very clear and echoes what we are hearing throughout the province and across the country, from coast to coast. Middle-class families are suffering; household debt has never been higher; there has been a series of significant layoffs in the country; the price of food is skyrocketing; and there is a serious shortage of child care spaces.
In yesterday's budget speech, the Minister of Finance was talking about the opportunity for Canadians to work hard, dream big and make their dreams come true. However, families are not going to be able to do any of that under this government.
The NDP submitted a number of recommendations to the Conservative government for the budget, and many of them were unfortunately left out. The Conservatives like to steal the NDP's good ideas when it comes to the economy. However, they forgot about the ones that have to do with child care.
In 2006, however, the Prime Minister promised to create 125,000 new child care spaces. My question is simple: where are those spaces?
After nine years of waiting, we can say that the Prime Minister did not honour his commitments to Canadian families. Let us come back to what the Minister of Finance said about the importance of dreaming big and achieving those dreams. In the NDP's view, families will be able to do that when every child has a space in child care for which parents pay no more than $15 a day.
The statistics are clear: affordable child care helps families and stimulates the economy. In Quebec, 70,000 more women have been working since affordable child care was introduced. Furthermore, our economy grows by $2 for every dollar invested in child care. We cannot afford to lose our workforce because of a lack of child care spaces.
Some mothers and fathers will be forced to quit their jobs or their studies for these reasons. Too many women are putting their careers on hold because they cannot find affordable child care in this country. At this time, 900,000 children do not have access to affordable child care. That means 900,000 families are suffering because of this situation.
Child care costs are sometimes too much for families to bear, since they can run to more $2,000 a month. How are families supposed to pay the rent and pay for their car on top of that? How are they supposed to pay off their student loans and their mortgage? How are they supposed to have any purchasing power to stimulate the economy?