Wednesday, September 19, 2007

NL Premier Danny Williams Calls On Couples To Go Make Babies

Yes, I know it will be controversial. But here’s the main substance of CBC’s coverage, with more commentary following below.


Williams promises to pay $1,000 for every baby born or adopted in N.L.

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. (CP) - Faced with a dramatic drop in Newfoundland and Labrador's population, Premier Danny Williams is hoping a little financial incentive will encourage more couples to adopt or have babies.

The election promise made by Williams on Tuesday means parents would get $1,000 for every child they have in an effort to combat a sagging birth rate and mass out-migration that has sapped the province.

The Progressive Conservative party leader, on his first full day of campaigning for the Oct. 9 election, unveiled a platform that also promises to improve the province's crumbling infrastructure, put more police officers on the streets and maintain a freeze on tuition fees.

But perhaps the most novel idea was the plan to reverse a prolonged decline in the population, which includes a promise to increase parental leave supplements.

"The province cannot afford to have its population shrink," Williams said in an interview while on the campaign trail in Labrador.


The province would spend $4.5 million annually on the program, which would be modeled after similar ones in Quebec and throughout Europe, Williams said.

Newfoundland, with a population of 505,000, has lost 7,000 people since 2001, according to Statistics Canada. Women in the province gave birth to 4,488 babies in 2004, only about half the 8,929 children that were born in 1983, the federal agency found.

Quebec once paid up to $8,000 to families having children in a bid to encourage growth after the province was grappling with dwindling birth rates, but eliminated the payments in 1997.

In more recent programs, Quebec provides residents with $7-a-day daycare and has taken over the federal Employment Insurance program that provides maternity benefits to mothers and made it more generous.

Kevin Milligan, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia who studied Quebec's baby bonus, said it had a positive effect on boosting the province's population.

"A well-designed program can have some impact on fertility," Milligan said.

"But whether it's a good policy or not, it depends on how much you're willing to pay and whether those dollars are best spent there or elsewhere."



VOCM News asks in their online poll today : Do you think a promise of more cash for people who have a child or adopt a child will boost the province's population?

Many of the responses are very shallow and it seems that the majority thinks Danny is a bonehead for even suggesting this plan, some claiming that Danny has simply increased the welfare line. Results of the online poll at the time I viewed showed 34% yes; 57% no; 10% not sure.

Click on this link and go vote.

REAL Women of Canada last year went on the record saying that such perks do, in fact, have positive results. Vote Life, Canada! recently blogged on this subject, particularly in light of Licia Corbella’s March 17 column entitled “Baby Making Needed.”

But demography is a regular subject on this blog and for Christians can easily be boiled down to one simple solution: For the love of God, let’s have children!



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