Re: “Family Day sparked varied comment, Feb. 9.
None of the comments listed by Les Leyne mentions the importance of the family, while Raeside’s cartoon, “The Cracks in the System,” and Tim Agg’s commentary “Agencies need government commitments to action” highlight the lack of adequate government commitment to family policy.
The fertility rate in Canada is currently 1.5 children per woman ages 15 to 49, well below the replacement rate of 2.1.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which keeps track of these figures, placed the cost of raising an average middle-class child to age 17 at more than $260,000. More educated women may delay or avoid child-bearing if it will damage their economic future and opportunities.
The decline of the family is driven by the need to provide the economy with a highly educated, mobile and career-driven work force. The economy has created the problem — it’s not building tiny condos for families.
Increasing immigration is a government solution but requires a huge costs for language and skills development. Other countries have taken a different approach, as has Quebec, whose policies now include child-care subsidies and a monthly child benefit. These programs raised birth rates by 10,000 more babies in 2006 compared with 2002.
Do we really value the family enough to implement policies to reverse the declining family trend or will we simply continue to pretend once a year that we really care?
John R. Paterson
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