Human Resources Minister Diane Finley tried to turn the heat back on the Liberals Friday, defending a remark she made the day before that seemed to suggest disdain for parents who enroll their children in daycare.
On Thursday, Ms. Finley told the Commons: "It's the Liberals who wanted to ensure that parents are forced to have other people raise their children. We do not believe in that."
The minister was referring to Liberal promises this week that they would revive their plans for a national childcare program - albeit in a more modest form - if they were to form the government after the next election.
Liberal MP Raymonde Folco took exception to Ms. Finley's remark, which she said was "completely odious." Ms. Folco accused the minister of implying that the 70 per cent of Canadian women who leave their preschool children with daycare providers are unworthy mothers.
"Will the Conservatives dare to repeat this insult with the Canadian families?" Ms. Folco asked during Question Period Friday.
Ms. Finley replied that the thing that distinguishes the Conservative vision for childcare from that of the Liberals is choice.
"We believe that [parents]should have the choice as to whether they care for their children at home or whether they use daycare or whether someone close them, a family member or neighbour, looks after that," she said.
Ms. Finley then took shots at the Liberal childcare proposal, saying Liberal MP John McCallum has panned it as being unaffordable.
And she quoted Liberal MP Carolyn Bennett as saying staying at home to raise children does not constitute a real job. "Shame on her," Ms. Finley charged.