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Three items to mull over

Here are a few issues to mull over, all of which have lately been much debated leading up to the federal election, and right here at home in beautiful Alberta.

Here are a few issues to mull over, all of which have lately been much debated leading up to the federal election, and right here at home in beautiful Alberta.

A new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research on Quebec’s universal child care program claims that children who are placed in day care are less socially mature, less emotionally stable, with boys being more hyperactive and girls more selfish than their stay-at-home peers.

There are several people, many parents in particular, who would understandably love to see a more affordable option for child care.

Here in Cochrane (and pretty much everywhere in Canada with the exception of Quebec), the price tag to send your child to day care can ring in anywhere from roughly $800-$1,300 a month. It becomes extremely difficult for both parents to work, as often the high cost of child care wipes out a lot of the benefit of working, so one parent ends up staying at home, saving the cost of child care, but losing any financial and/or social benefit of working.

This recent study, however, may quell some of those feelings.

There is good and there is bad to every plan. Left-wing political parties have long believed that an affordable, universal child-care program is what’s best for all Canadian families, as it provides a viable option for those who cannot afford to pay $1,300 a month for the service. While right-leaning parties have said providing government grants to families to use for either child care or whatever else they desire, is the best approach.

Leaving the question: Is cheap child care worth it if what you get in return is a child who is less socially mature, less emotionally stable, hyperactive and/or selfish?

It’s difficult to argue against the belief that a child does best when they are at home with a parent. After all, parents are the ones who care for their children the most, know them best and are the greatest equipped to teach them right from wrong. The do not get lost in the shuffle at a day care, being taught life skills from other three year olds who are trying to sneak just one more piece of cake.

Is a recession looming south of the border?

According to a J.P. Morgan economist, among others, it is, and has even said that there is a 40 per cent chance of one in the next two years and a 66 per cent chance in three years – just in time to blame the next president.

For those of you asking, ‘who cares if there’s a recession in the U.S., we live in Canada and what happens here is really what matters,’ then you don’t understand how much the Canadian economy depends on the U.S. Canada and U.S. are connected at the hip for a variety of reasons, all of which are logical.

How a country’s economy performs does not happen in real-time. There are a variety of reasons why and when recessions hit a country’s economy, which grows more and more true with how much more connected world markets are becoming with each passing year. Countries like Canada, the U.S., China and pretty much everyone else, do not live in a vacuum…we all depend on others to help us.

No country leader is immune to a recession. If the projection is true, that the U.S. will experience a recession in two to three years, what you will see is whoever the president is at the time will get blamed for that recession, which is unfair.

It’s fair (though we are not economists, so not fact) to say that the majority of recessions could be blamed on the person who was in office prior to the recession itself. Or, at least recently, you could simply point to the global economy as the culprit, as was the case in 2008 (2009 in Canada).

In recent memory, Canada has seen recessions of significance in the early ‘80s, early ‘90s and 2009.

In the U.S., there have been recessions from 1980-82, 1990-91, 2001 and 2007-09.

The point is that when an economy suffers (which they always do from time to time) simply pointing the finger at whoever is in charge during that time is usually not the fairest of judgments.

With oil prices plummeting and Alberta’s unemployment rate rising, private sector wages going down, an economy shrinking and deficits rising, the provincial government still found time to give legislative officers a raise.

Already bringing in between $150K-$270K a year, the standing committee on legislative services agreed to a 7.25 per cent raise, which now, amid outcry from opposition parties, and even some within the NDP government, was reversed Sept. 29.

Alberta’s premier Rachel Notley also recently said that she wants at least one new pipeline built to carry provincial oil to global markets, and that she has never been against pipelines and has not advocated for the Keystone XL pipeline only because she felt there was little chance of it being approved in the U.S.

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton recently said she was against the Keystone XL pipeline to a group of supporters in Iowa.

Would you put money on the notion that Clinton is simply saying this now to win the Democratic primary, and if elected, she would then change her tune?

Notley should keep this projection in her back pocket for 2017.