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Point de presse de Mme Jennifer Maccarone, présidente de la Commission des transports et de l’environnement

Version finale

Thursday, March 23, 2023, 11 h 24

Salle Bernard-Lalonde (1.131), hôtel du Parlement

(Onze heures vingt-quatre minutes)

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : Is there something you want to say before we go into questions?

Mme Maccarone : It's up to you. I can do a statement. It's… How would you like to...

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : I can ask the questions.

Mme Maccarone : All right.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : So, basically, I want to ask about the report that came out in Radio-Canada this morning on CPEs and on, you know, lack of services for children with certain needs. Did you see the report? What's your reaction to it?

Mme Maccarone : I didn't see the report, I saw the article, and it's not a new issue. I was very disappointed to hear the response from the Minister. As you may know, in 2021, I deposited a mandate initiative specifically to study this issue, because not only is it extremely difficult to get a place in the day care network, once you do get a place, if you're a family that has a child with special needs, good luck keeping that place. Having access to the budgetary measures like the exceptional funding is very complex. If you're not in a CPE and you're in a private day care, you don't have access to that funding.

Already, the work when you're a parent of a child with special needs is extraordinary, and what the Government is doing right now is not recognizing the amount of work, the amount of pressure that the family has. When the family cannot stay in the day care network, you know what happens? They go home, they don't get… they're not employed. We've heard these stories over, and over, and over again.

I'm a parent of two children with special needs, as you know, and, when my kids were in day care… devil of a time keeping a spot. I went through four different day cares just to stay and make sure that my kids had access to a space.

The Government talks a lot about early intervention, «agir tôt». If we're going to do early intervention, these kids need to have a place in day care. They need to facilitate it beyond just : we're going to talk about it and we're saying that we've got the budget for it. The reality is that they need to put their money where their mouth is and actually put action into their words.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : I actually just want to double-check. How long ago were your children in day care, like?

Mme Maccarone : Many years ago. I know, I look like I'm only about 35 or… The reality is my children are older now, but it's a problem that's been ongoing. So, it would have been in the early 2000s, right?

So, however, since then, measures have been put in place, the day care system has evolved, but it's evolved in a way right now that the Government has not addressed the fact that there's a lack of space and there's a lack of points of entry for our children that have special needs, that need to be into that day care network so that they can receive the essential care and accompaniment before they start heading into our education system. We need to act early, we're on board with that, but, if you don't give them a spot in day care, we're not going to be able to accomplish that goal.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : Why did you find Minister Roy's response so disappointing today?

Mme Maccarone : Because it's clear that she doesn't understand the reality of what's happening not only in her ministry, but also within the CPE network.

When I deposited my mandate initiative in 2021, the entire network was behind me. I had letters of support from the AQCPE, I had letters of support from the private day care network. Everybody was saying that we want to mobilize, we recognize that there's an issue and we want to do something about it, but the Government refused to study it. And now they're saying that ah! everything is fine, we're putting the money there, but the reality is that they're not able to meet the needs of these parents. These children either are… If they magically get a spot, they're expelled from day cares.

So, it's short-sighted and it shows that there's a lack of understanding of what's happening in the network. She acted too quickly in her responses. As far as I'm concerned, it means that she's not the Minister of Families for all children.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : What do you think the Government should be doing now to fix the issue moving forward? What solutions are you proposing?

Mme Maccarone : One of the things that we proposed was as recent as when we were debating the p.l. n° 1. So, p.l. n° 1 was the reform of the day care network, and one of the things that we'd said is that we need to prioritize access for children with special needs. The Government refused that. Multiple times, they chose the word «facilitate», but it's a soft word.

So, one of the things that we've proposed, as the Liberal Party, is universal access to our day care network. Why? Because the right to attend day care should be the same as the right to attend school. So, that's one of the things that they absolutely need to do.

They also need to work within the network. As I said, all the partners are there, they want to be part of the change that we need within the system. The Government needs to work with them in order to make those changes.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) :Thank you.

Mme Maccarone : You're welcome.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : I also just wanted to apologize for my question earlier. I wasn't trying to age you or anything. I just needed to…

Mme Maccarone : About how old I am.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : No.

Mme Maccarone : Ça fait combien de temps depuis que tes enfants sont en service de garde? Bien, c'est comme... ça fait juste... hier. Je sais, c'est...

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : I just wanted to check to, you know, see…

Des voix :

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : I just wanted to check just to make sure, you know, that the… just to see how recent the issue was, basically.

Mme Maccarone : Yes. No, my children are 19 and 21 now, but the reality…

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) :OK, yes. So, it's been, like, decades, sort of…

Mme Maccarone : Well, «decades», that's such a big word.

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : No, but years. We could say years.

Mme Maccarone : It's been years…

Mme Mignacca (Franca G.) : It's been years since…

Mme Maccarone : It's been years, but, you know, it's… I don't know the equivalent in English, but «le parcours des combattants». It's not new.

La Modératrice : On va juste clipper en français pour...

Mme Maccarone : Clipper en français?

La Modératrice : Oui, juste... Bien, juste rapidement, «statement». O.K.?

Mme Maccarone : Oui. Rapidement, «statement», O.K.

La Modératrice : En français.

Mme Maccarone : Je regarde où?

La Modératrice : Où la caméra.

Mme Maccarone : La caméra. O.K. Voilà.

Des voix : ...

Mme Maccarone : Voilà. O.K. Super.

Des voix : ...

Mme Maccarone : Eh mon Dieu! Il faut que j'aie l'air de, comme, 35 ans, là. C'est ça qui est important. Ça fait qu'il faut assurer que l'angle est bon.

Des voix : ...

Mme Maccarone : Voilà. En réaction à l'article qui a sorti aujourd'hui et comme l'ancienne porte-parole pour les personnes en situation de handicap ainsi que porte-parole de la famille dans la dernière législature, évidemment je reçois avec une grande déception la réponse de la ministre de la Famille en ce qui concerne l'accès dans notre réseau de services de garde pour les enfants qui vivent avec des besoins particuliers.

La réalité, c'est que de trouver une place en service de garde aujourd'hui, c'est excessivement difficile. Au moment qu'une famille, surtout avec un enfant à besoins particuliers, retrouve une place en service de garde, bien là, il faut croiser les doigts qu'on peut garder cette place. Pourquoi? Parce que les mesures exceptionnelles de financement sont très difficiles à avoir et à décortiquer.

Le réseau des CPE, eux, ils lèvent la main à maintes reprises pour dire : Aidez-nous, nous souhaitons travailler en concertation avec le réseau pour accompagner et inclure ces enfants. Si le gouvernement souhaite vraiment agir tôt, comme ils disent, il va falloir faire une place pour ces familles dans notre réseau de services de garde, où les mesures supplémentaires sont uniquement accessibles pour le réseau subventionné et non pour le réseau privé, où nous avons plusieurs enfants qui vont pour avoir accès à des services.

C'est le parcours de combattant pour ces familles. Déjà, c'est difficile. Alors, quand les enfants sont refusés une place en service de garde, bien, ça veut dire, majoritairement, c'est la maman qui reste à la maison. On est en train d'appauvrir la famille. C'est un impact sur leur santé mentale, sur leurs finances. C'est très difficile.

La ministre, quand elle dit que l'argent est au rendez-vous, c'est clair qu'elle est déconnectée total de comment ça se passe dans le réseau. Quand j'ai déposé mon mandat d'initiative, en 2021, c'était pour étudier cette question, et le réseau m'a appuyée, il était derrière moi.

Quand on a fait le débat sur le projet de loi n° 1, le gouvernement avait tous les moyens de prioriser l'accès et d'offrir un réseau avec un accès universel pour les enfants. Nous avons déposé plusieurs amendements à ce projet de loi. Ils ont refusé.

Notre porte-parole Brigitte Garceau, en matière de famille, est revenue à la charge dans cette législature, elle a déposé son projet de loi pour avoir un accès universel pour tous les enfants de notre réseau de services de garde, un droit à notre réseau de services de garde comme nous avons dans notre réseau de l'éducation. Ça devrait être ouvert à tous, mais tous les enfants, incluant les enfants avec des besoins particuliers. Il faut arrêter de fermer nos yeux à des enfants qui ont des besoins puis ouvrir nos bras grand. La ministre, avec ses réponses, c'est clair, elle est la ministre pour quelques enfants, mais pas tous les enfants. Merci beaucoup.

(Fin à 11 h 33)


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