My recent response to Iris Evans’ comments has sparked quite a reaction and we have been receiving many emails and phone calls from people who agree and disagree with me.
My position is that child care is a family matter, and best left up to the discretion of individual families.
Please read on below where you will find a press release describing my comments and a transcript of Iris Evans’ apology, courtesy of the Canadian Press.
Most importantly, please tell me what you think!
Edmonton – Alberta Liberal Leader David Swann is angered by comments reportedly made by Finance Minister Iris Evans in Toronto today and demands an immediate apology if her comments were reported accurately.
According to media reports, Evans claimed that proper child-rearing requires one parent to stay home while the other goes to work, implying that the hundreds of thousands of families with two working parents are neglecting their children. She also slammed Alberta’s public education system – the same system the Klein and Stelmach Tories have been in charge of for years – saying that a lack of education is leading Alberta kids to mental illness and crime.
“If she really said these things, she must apologize. If she doesn’t apologize, the Premier must fire her,” Swann says. “These are truly outrageous claims. I have never been as stunned by the sheer arrogance and ignorance of the Tories as I am today. This is even worse than Bill 44.”
“In a sense, Iris Evans did us all a favour, by revealing her contempt for the sacrifices made by hard-working Alberta families. It’s a fact of life in Alberta that in many families, both parents have to work – especially now! How much farther out of touch can the Tories get?”
In the past, Evans has acted as the Minister for Children’s Services, Health and Wellness, and Employment, Immigration and Industry, which makes her remarks even more shocking.
“This Minister has been in charge of all the areas she slammed today,” Swann says. “If she has no confidence in our public institutions, what does that say about her management of these departments? What does it say about Tory governance in general?
“It says that Alberta is now led by a group of small-minded social conservatives who don’t understand the problems of ordinary Albertans. She even dismisses the genuine suffering of people with mental illnesses, blaming it on bad parenting and our schools.
” This Minister is responsible for the largest budget deficit in Alberta history, and she’s lecturing Albertans about financial management? Today, Iris Evans revealed the true face of the Stelmach Conservatives, and I am saddened and horrified by it. Only an immediate apology, and failing that, a firing, can restore a shred of Alberta’s reputation and dignity.”
“Raising a child is the most important responsibility in our society, and my comments were a reflection of its importance to me personally.
“The references I made to parenting were in respect to a question about financial literacy and making sure children understand the value of a dollar. My intent was to point out that understanding money and finances starts at home, not in the schools. And I was specifically pointing out that my three sons have done a better job than I had in passing this on.
“I understand some people were offended by some of what I said. I did not intend to suggest there is only one way to raise a child. Having worked for most of my adult life while raising kids, I understand no situation is the same and that parents have to make difficult choices that are in the best interests of their children, and I applaud them for making these choices.
“I do believe that spending time teaching values and coaching their children as well as loving them is the biggest gift parents can provide. And I also believe that most parents do this.”
(Transcript of Iris Evans’ apology courtesy of the Canadian Press)