Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quebec Is Shrinking: Who Is to Blame?

The "Chronicles of a Pure Laine" blog just published a post titled "Quebec Is Shrinking." It addresses one of the central problems that plague my province: "a shrinking population. "Demographics are playing against Québec. Birth rates and net immigration aren't high enough for the province to keep its relative weight in the Canadian bosom." So why is this happening? Why are birth rates so low in a province where life is good and people are, for the most part, happy?

Well, its seems that in spite of all the issues that Quebec's shrinking causes to the province on the political scene, the politicians of Quebec still put their patriarchal ideology above their own political and economic interests. Middle-class women, who are responsible and career-oriented, find it next to impossible to make a decision to have a child (let alone several children) because everything is done in Quebec to keep mothers away from the workplace.

If you are middle-class and have a good, stable income, there are only two daycare options for you: governnment-sponsored daycare with a waiting list of over 2 years (which makes this daycare option pretty useless since staying out of work for 2 years makes it almost impossible to find a good job afterwards) and a private daycare that costs $60 + 15% tax A DAY. Which makes the monthly daycare bill around $1400. Hardly something that a regular middle-class couple can afford.

As a result, a woman is forced with an impossible choice. Unless the salary she makes is absolutely spectacular, she can hardly hope to afford daycare. Staying at home with the child means depriving herself of professional and social realization, descending into depression and limiting her chances to have a flourishing career forever. It also means depriving the child of normal, healthy socialization during his or her formative years. Of course, single parenthood becomes impossible unless you are willing to raise your child in dire poverty.

Of course, Quebec can implement these barbaric policies aimed at keeping women barefoot and in the kitchen and then complain about the province's shrinking all it wants. Everything has a price and Quebecois government is paying a high price for its chauvinism.

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad that you are reading "Pure laine"!

In we are to compare Quebec's birth rate vs other Canadian provinces, the US, or other industrialized countries, it would be pertinent to analyze if women elsewhere are expected to go back to work after giving birth. In the US, maternity rates are higher not only because of the massive influx of immigrants (usually, immigrants tend to have more children), but also because American women are still expected to be housewives.

At least in Quebec, to be a working mother is a socially acceptable options. It is even encouraged, at least on the surface. The problem is that Québécois couples are facing a hypocritical and contradictory discourse emanating from the government. The government encourages couples to have children, offering generous maternity/paternity leaves, but after this period of time, childcare is expensive and the waiting list, absurd. Like with hospitals, some cities or some neighbourhoods are also better served than others.

Despite more generous maternity leave policies, Québécois still have to think twice before considering having a family in their province. It's a pity since Quebec is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Québec should also facilitate immigration.

Sorry for this badly sturctured comment, but my ideas are confused right now!

Ol.

Clarissa said...

Oh, you are totally right, it's way worse in the US. But I always expect more from Quebec. Somebody has got to be a beacon of hope and progress in the world.

Off topic: I called you before but you weren't there.

Veronica said...

bang on !

V said...

Does anybody have a breakdown between the low birth rate and the immigration?
I do not want to offend anybody, but it is difficult for me to comprehend why one would immigrate into Quebec for the sake of immigration? There are too many various protectionist policies... I mean protectionism towards everything French, but also all those orders, which prevent physicians (while waiting times for non-emergency services are in months), engineers, etc from working in their fields, and all that union business in general, which in my opinion degraded into workers fighting for the right to get more and more money for doing the lousy job (look at the roads!). I really experienced a culture shock moving from US Midwest to Montreal. And I was screened from many things immigrants have to encounter by virtue of having a faculty position in an anglophone university from day one. I know many people who initially immigrated into Quebec but moved on to other provinces and to the States as it was much easier for them to find jobs in their fields... Maternity leaves cannot really compensate for everything else...

Clarissa said...

Actually, if you want to live on unemployment benefit and procreate endlessly, life is good in Quebec. It's a system that protects those at the very top and those at the very bottom, but exploits middle class shamelessly and offers nothing much in return.

Basically, it's great to be a lazy, unambitious person in Quebec. :-) So many people immigrate to Quebec for the sake of that. Where else in North America can you stay out of work for 30 years, get paid for that and get a plasma-screen TV and government-sponsored high-quality housing into the bargain? Paid for, may I add, by the very same long-suffering middle-class people.

David Gendron said...

1) The decreasing of birth-rate (right now, it seems that Québec are in a mini-baby-boom era, unfortunately) is a good news, expecially for the anarchist movement.

2) "Why are birth rates so low in a province where life is good and people are, for the most part, happy?"

More you're happy, less you have the need to procreate to fill the void...

3) "because everything is done in Quebec to keep mothers away from the workplace.

If you are middle-class and have a good, stable income, there are only two daycare options for you: governnment-sponsored daycare with a waiting list of over 2 years (which makes this daycare option pretty useless since staying out of work for 2 years makes it almost impossible to find a good job afterwards) and a private daycare that costs $60 + 15% tax A DAY. Which makes the monthly daycare bill around $1400. Hardly something that a regular middle-class couple can afford."

I agree, and the CPE-state-sponsored daycare (Centres Pénitenciers pour Enfants) should be abolished.

4) Sorry, but your last comment is a piece of shit! This is an absolute Jeff Fillion-like trash radio right-wing vomiting propaganda!

"It's a system that protects those at the very top and those at the very bottom, but exploits middle class shamelessly and offers nothing much in return. "

Corporate class is way more protected than the lower class in Québec. Of maybe you like the fact that only the Corporate Nazi Class is protected in the US?

"Basically, it's great to be a lazy, unambitious person in Quebec. :-) So many people immigrate to Quebec for the sake of that."

Immigrants work harder than pure-laine aryan Quebeckers!
Oh, and you can live with your racist friends in Arizona!

"Where else in North America can you stay out of work for 30 years, get paid for that and get a plasma-screen TV and government-sponsored high-quality housing into the bargain?"

Again, a trash-radio-like vomiting propaganda! And you seem to forgot the fact that these individuals actually worked IN THE BLACK MARKET, to not pay the shylockean income taxes in Québec. And 30 years without working almost never happens here.

"government-sponsored high-quality housing"

Oh sorry, but HLM's are not high-quality housings here!

"Paid for, may I add, by the very same long-suffering middle-class people."

Yeah, but schools too, military spending too, soviet daycare too, monopolistic state healthcare too, subsidizing industries too, rampant bureaucracies too, state union monopolies too, war on drugs too etc...


I don't think that the Bien-être Social is a real problem here!

David Gendron said...

Your last comment is a piece of shit, and I will not comment further than that.

David Gendron said...

"I will not comment further than that."

Oh, I thought my long comment was too long to be approved.

Clarissa said...

David: Are you an immigrant? Because I am.

Do you spend a lot of time in the immigrant communities? Which ones? How much time? How often? Because I do and very often.

Every single word I wrote here is what people from my immigrant community told me on many occasions in those very words. Am I supposed not to write about their experiences because it doesn't sound nice?

Clarissa said...

"Oh sorry, but HLM's are not high-quality housings here!"

-How much time have you spent with people who live there in that housing? I have, a lot. I know how these people laughed at me in my face for being an idiot who works instead of getting paid by the government to do nothing. Young people, my age. I was in my 20ies then.

And yes, their living conditions were a lot better than I, a working student, could afford.

This is a huge problem in the immigrant communitites (especially mine, the Russian-speaking community) and I will not stop talking about it just because it goes against somebody's worldview.

As much as I like you, David, I have to say that you are exhibiting precisely that ultracondescending attitude to immigrants that is the downfall of so many immigrant communities in Quebec. Yes, we are immigrants but we don't need to be condescended to and babied by the protective state. We don't need a nanny any more than anybody else does.

David Gendron said...

I am not an immigrant, officially, but all north americans are de facto immigrants, so...

"Do you spend a lot of time in the immigrant communities? Which ones? How much time? How often? Because I do and very often."

I spend a lot of time with a lot of communities, especially Africans, and these folks are working (or more precisely WILLING to work harder) harder than aryan pure-laine Quebeckers.

"Am I supposed not to write about their experiences because it doesn't sound nice?"

Of course, you can write about their experiences, but I will dismiss all of your trash-radio like propaganda when those affirmations are false.

"How much time have you spent with people who live there in that housing? I have, a lot. I know how these people laughed at me in my face for being an idiot who works instead of getting paid by the government to do nothing. Young people, my age. I was in my 20ies then.

And yes, their living conditions were a lot better than I, a working student, could afford."

Yeah, I somewhat agree here. I agre that some workin poor students suffers with worse housing conditions than them, but don't blame them for that! Ans the large majority these "iron fist social security" folks did not told you that, in fact, THEY HAD ACTUALLY WORKED IN THE BLACK MARKET to have more than 600$ by month to pay the bills!

"This is a huge problem in the immigrant communitites (especially mine, the Russian-speaking community) and I will not stop talking about it just because it goes against somebody's worldview. "

Maybe this a problem in Russian communities, though. Not surprising with their bolchevic past. And you can write about that, of course, but you know that I think about trash-radio-like propaganda.

"As much as I like you, David, I have to say that you are exhibiting precisely that ultracondescending attitude to immigrants that is the downfall of so many immigrant communities in Quebec. Yes, we are immigrants but we don't need to be condescended to and babied by the protective state. We don't need a nanny any more than anybody else does."

I agree here but this is not because of my attitude, and I didn't know about your Russian past.

I agree that immigrants should not be "positively-discrimating" protected by the State, and I was not mad at you because of that.

But now, what about the non-immigrant side of my comment? What about your "Bien-être-social bashing"?

Clarissa said...

I haven't listened to the radio in over 20 years, so I'm not even sure what you mean there. :-)

I am absolutely willing to concede that the problem is especially rampant in the Russian-speaking communities. And yes, many people work on the black market while getting all they can from the welfare programs as well. As a result, people who are dishonest and willing to lie, live like millionaires (again, I'm talking about real people I know.)

Those who work and try to pay taxes, get punished by the government. THis I also know from a very painful personal experience. My parents who worked like crazy and never asked the government for a dime since they emigrated, had everything taken from them by the government. Everything. And yes, it bothers me because I see all those other people who lied and cheated and now live super comfortably.

It's great that Bien-être Social exists. It's great that there are programs and a safety net for people in trouble in Quebec. However, Bien-être Social is drowning in bureaucracy. In order to get any help from them you have to a) dedicate your whole existence to navigating your way around their endless paperwork and b) know what lies to sping and how to spin them.

Nothing creates more resentment than unfairness. Unfortunately, the Bien-être is getting more and more mired in unfairness.

David Gendron said...

"I haven't listened to the radio in over 20 years, so I'm not even sure what you mean there. :-)"

Yeah, I forgot that fact but Limbaugh vomits the same retarded propaganda.

"And yes, many people work on the black market while getting all they can from the welfare programs as well. As a result, people who are dishonest and willing to lie, live like millionaires (again, I'm talking about real people I know.) "

Okay, thus the problem is the fact the they worked AND received security, not social security itself!

"Those who work and try to pay taxes, get punished by the government. THis I also know from a very painful personal experience. My parents who worked like crazy and never asked the government for a dime since they emigrated, had everything taken from them by the government. Everything. And yes, it bothers me because I see all those other people who lied and cheated and now live super comfortably."

Oh, I agree! But it's not a problem of social security in itself! You should be more mad at schools, military spending, soviet daycare, monopolistic state healthcare, subsidizing industries and corporate nazies , rampant bureaucracies, state union monopolies, war on drugs etc...

"It's great that Bien-être Social exists. It's great that there are programs and a safety net for people in trouble in Quebec."

I agree, even if in a very long term timespace, this should be abolished, but this is the last thing that should be abolished, in an anarchist point of view.

"However, Bien-être Social is drowning in bureaucracy. In order to get any help from them you have to a) dedicate your whole existence to navigating your way around their endless paperwork and b) know what lies to sping and how to spin them."

I agree!


Finally, maybe our disagreement was no so problematic...

Clarissa said...

People on the right always agree about absolutely everything because their worldview is not extremely complex. However, the more you think about stuff, the more complex your vision becomes, the more disagreement that breeds with other people. That's what happens on the Left. And it's not a bad thing in itself. :-)

"You should be more mad at schools, military spending, soviet daycare, monopolistic state healthcare, subsidizing industries and corporate nazies , rampant bureaucracies, state union monopolies, war on drugs etc..."

-Absolutely, on all these issues.

David Gendron said...

"That's what happens on the Left. And it's not a bad thing in itself. :-)"


I don't know much about the American liberal left. But in Québec, Left and Right statists don't like disagreements, on the same degree. It's impossible to have that kind of dicussion with left and right statists in Québec.

Personnally, I think "That's what happens on with you"! :)

Wow, we're agreeing right now, it's almost scary again...