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.