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Newfoundland to Subsidize Births

September 20, 2007 permalink

Newfoundland may subsidize childbirth by giving new moms $1000. Let's see, moms get $1000, but when a social service agency takes a baby from the delivery room and keeps it until age of majority it gets $71 per day, $466,754. That shows where the real priorities are. We also note that the subsidy applies to adoptive moms as well. Taking care of a stolen baby is as worthy as giving birth.



Danny Williams
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. (CPimages /Rhonda Hayward)

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 outmigration 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 ultimate goal is to having net gain in our population in the province."

Liberal Leader Gerry Reid said the best way to boost population is to create jobs as he described Williams record on that score as "dismal."

"Rather than try to create an economic climate where people would want to come invest, the premier and this government has turned people away because of his confrontational approach," he said.

The province would spend $4.5 million annually on the program, which would be modelled 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."

Reid, who spent Tuesday travelling the southeastern region of the province, took credit for the key Tory policy plank.

"I'm glad to see that (Williams) has paid attention to the initiatives that we've been talking about and are still talking about," he said in an interview.

The Liberals are also promising to offer parents a financial incentive to have children, though they haven't specified an amount.

NDP Leader Lorraine Michael, who has not released her party's platform yet, said the baby bonus would do little to stem the exodus of young families departing to other provinces in Canada such as Ontario and Alberta.

"It's a very short-sighted way of dealing with our population problem," Michael said.

At dissolution, the Tories had 34 seats, the Liberals 11 and the NDP one. There were also two vacant seats.

Source: Canadian Press hosted by Google