Iris Evans, the Minster of Finance in Alberta, remarked today that in order to raise children "properly" one parent should stay at home while the other goes to work.
Is the Minister of Finance aware that wages have been falling for decades and few families are able to rely on one income? Is she aware that we are in the middle of a global recession?
Somehow, I have a hunch that she'd be less than pleased that her stance may more frequently become the norm as men lose their jobs and may forcibly become the household caregiver.
Let's here what Evans has to say:
In a tangent at the end of a speech on Alberta's economy to the Economic Club of Canada in Toronto, Iris Evans spoke about the importance of teaching kids about finances and how those lessons can be empowering.
After struggling with finances as a mother herself, Evans said she made it her mission to teach her kids about money.
Now as adults with their own families, her kids have topped up RRSPs, live in good houses and have good savings, Evans said.
She also said good parenting means sacrificing some income to stay at home while kids are young, as her children have done.
"They've understood perfectly well that when you're raising children you don't both go off to work and leave them for somebody else to raise," Evans said.
"This is not a statement against daycare. It's a statement about their belief in the importance of raising children properly."
She also said a lack of education is ruining the upbringing of some children and leading to mental illness and crime.
"The huge failure of Canadians is not to educate the children properly and then why should we be surprised when they have mental illnesses or commit dreadful crimes?," she said.
"We've really got to focus on that properly and it should be financial literacy as well as anything else."
Evans said today's Canadians don't save enough money and a simple fix to avoid those pitfalls for the next generation is to teach children about finances from an early age.
"If you don't read to the child they'll never learn how to read and if you don't talk to them about money and we don't start educating this next generation they'll think that the world owes them a living," she told the small business crowd.
Not only should parents be teaching kids about money, but government should also be putting money toward financial literacy, Evans said, lamenting the lack of such funds in Alberta's recent budget.
"The great tragedy in this year's budget in Alberta ... is that we put 200 more policemen, police officers, for the next two years and more Crown prosecutors, more law enforcement people," she said.
"If we had put 200 more positions in place to help parents be better parents I would have been much happier."
Evans also spoke of the need for a national supplemental pension plan, saying provinces will be meeting in July to propose a framework to take to the federal government.
Ideally that would happen in two to three years, but even if that can't happen Alberta and B.C. will pursue their own approach, she said.
"If nationally the other provinces aren't' engaged for whatever reason or if it can't be attached to a vehicle like CPP that makes sense to the provinces, B.C. and Alberta will definitely go ahead," Evans said.
"Our savings by individuals are far too low."
So, if more parents stayed home to raise their children, children would have better financial literacy, be less mentally ill, less criminally-oriented, and less in debt?!
I cannot even touch on the convoluted reasoning of Evans' cavalier comments about mental illness and crime being linked to lack of home parenting.
Were all the stockbrokers and investors who lost big with the global recession financially illiterate?
Does Iris Evans know anything about economics beyond balancing a checkbook?!
Here's a thought - maybe, if the United Nations Systems of National Accounting counted care work as productive labour, we could organize a society that allowed parents to spend more time at home.
Maybe, if we did not live under Capitalism that happily sucks people away from all life-producing and enhancing activities to exploit them for profit, people could afford to spend time with their families.
Iris Evans, read up on the topic of reproductive work and economics before you make dumb and offensive comments about parents and their choices as they struggle to provide for their children.
Start with Nancy Folbre's "Invisible Heart." Then, try Marilyn Waring's "Who's Counting?" and then read some socialist feminist authors like Selma James, founder of the movement to Invest in Caring Not Killing.
At the very least, check out the Women and The Economy project.
Seriously, people, is not time to end oligarchy and Conservative hegemony in Alberta? Should our ministers not be required to demonstrate at least some expertise regarding the issues relevant to their departments?!