As any working family with young children knows there is a severe shortage of licensed daycare spots in Ontario...especially spots that are affordable.
The result is that about 80 percent of children are dropped off at unlicensed daycare....often someone's house or apartment.
These unlicensed places have virtually no overnight and the regulations are a joke, if only because they're unenforceable until and unless someone files a complaint with the proper authorities.
Last summer you'll recall a 2-year old girl died in an unlicensed facility in Vaughan.
In July, a 2-year old drowned in her babysitter's condo.
In November, a 9-month old died at a home daycare in Markham.
And now another death.
A 4-month old boy was pronounced dead after being found on Valentine's Day at an unlicensed home care at 20 Broadoaks Drive, a mid-rise apartment building near Keele ad Finch.
So far we don't know why this little guy died but until police can determine one way or another the death is listed as suspicious.
There's no doubt there are many home daycare operations that are run very well but inspections in the last 2 years show that 40 percent of the homes inspected had too many kids under their care and some had serious gaps in health and safety standards.
The Wynne Government tabled legislation at the end of last year to toughen up the regs including reducing the maximum number of babies being cared for at any one time from 5 to 2.
This bill needs to get passed but with a budget looming and an election likely to follow...it may never see the light of day.
More important however is the broader issue...that 8 in 10 kids in daycare are shipped off to places where there is little or no training and no regulatory environment of inspection unless there are complaints. The Ontario Government, which ever party is in power had better start paying a lot more attention to this problem.
This is our future we're futzing around with.
Law and Order
Aside from balancing the budget and being cash-flush going into the next federal election, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and company are staking their re-election on a tough law and order agenda which has been rolling out for some time.
Another pillar of that platform went up yesterday...a promise to create a "high-risk child sex offender database" which you would have access to online.
This will be information such as name, aliases, gender, description, birth day, photos, description of the crimes they have committed, the restrictions placed upon them by a judge after they served their time and you'll get the name of the city or town where they live.
Thus far Justice Minister Peter MacKay has not answered directly any question about how the government intends to prevent vigilantes from going after those child sex offenders.
There is also legislation to make sure that when it comes to sex crimes against kids the sentences run consecutively not concurrently. In other words....for each crime or each victim, one sentence would stack up on the other so they spend a lot more time in prison than would be the case today.
I'm all in on consecutive sentencing.
The vigilante thing....that's a tough one because you know its going to happen and some guy who may have straightened out will end up dead.
Russian news agencies are reporting that deposed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych is in Russia and has been granted protection, presumably by the Kremlin. The information has not been confirmed.
Meanwhile in Crimea, pro-Russian men heavily armed have seized at least one, possibly two government buildings. Crimea is part of Ukraine but it's majority population is Russian.
Those Russians are understandably unnerved by what they've seen in Kiev the last several months where the government was toppled.
This woman in Crimea says ethnic Ukrainians are planning ethnic cleansing in the area.
"They will destroy our monuments and the will kill, stab by stab, all Russian people."
If you are travelling away from Toronto today a heads up. There are snow squalls blowing in from Lake Ontario into eastern Ontario...from about Port Hope to Kingston and those squalls could end up blowing farther inland than the computer model suggests....the 401 could be tough going.
The same for the areas off Lake Huron and Georgian Bay...squalls are pounding those areas and may end up pushing farther inland. In fact, Environment Canada has given us a heads up that those squalls could end up stretching down into the northern GTA....Uxbridge, Newmarket and Vaughan. You might even see Caledon getting it but right now the Lake Huron squalls don't look as big as the Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario squalls.