The Quebec government has decided to tackle what Premier Robert Bourassa called the province’s “demographic deficit”. Families will be given tax breaks and cash incentives to have more children, but the true cause of Quebec’s demographic crisis – the state-sanctioned availability of abortion on demand – remains unadmitted and untouched.

“I believe it is important to encourage Quebeckers to have larger families and to dispel any financial uncertainty and instill greater confidence in the future,” Finance Minister Gerard-D. Levesque told the National Assembly during his budget speech.

“By putting the emphasis on the family, instead of on the individual, as in the past,” said deputy minister Maurice Champagne-Gilbert, “last week’s budget highlight a shift in the Government’s thinking, that amounts to no less than a revolution.

“It is a totally new language for a finance minister to say that parents must be given better support to raise a family, and that in budget terms, some level of priority is given to the family,” said Mr. Champagne-Gilbert who has been extensively involved with the issues of family rights over the past 10 years.

Among other benefits for families are higher tax deductions for child-care expenses, interest-free home and promise to open up 60 000 new day care places in the next seven years. With these actions to offset the imbalance between people who have children and people who don’t, the government clearly hopes to dramatically increase the number of French Canadians babies. Finance Minister Gerard-D. Levesque predicts the present average of 1.3 children per family – almost the lowest in the world – will increase to 1.8 in the next 5 years.

At a Liberal policy convention held earlier this year, Premier Bourassa said that (among other items) finding solutions to the problem of Quebec’s declining birth rate would replace deficit reduction and job creation as his Government’s priority for the second half of its mandate.

He spoke for a government increasingly concerned about the crisis of the French Canadian family. As long as the 1981 provincial election campaign the Liberals and the Parti Quebecois competed with each other to see who could promise more for the family.

“the government is conscious of the implications a declining birth rate will have in the future influence of Quebec  in the Canadian federation” said Gilles Grandin, Director of Public Relations for Campaign Life Coalition in Ottawa. The government knows that if the current trend continues, French Canadians face the possibility of becoming a minority in their own province, he concluded.

But a “handful of dollars” is not going to “revitalize the French Canadian family” said Grandin. What is required is “real permanent change rooted in spiritual transformation.” He expressed a profound certitude that such a rebirth ‘from below’ would take place much sooner then expected. “The whole of French Canadian society is extremely sensitive to the gathering crisis in family life,” said Grandin.

A number of criticisms have been levelled at the new policy. These range from the view that subsidizing families to have more babies will simply result in more poor children, to the suspicion that the government wants working women to relinquish their jobs and return home to raise their families.

None of these criticisms confront the essential contradiction between one government programme that pays for more babies and another that subsidized their destruction to the number of 30 000 a year, says Gilles Grandin. “Nothing has been said about the deleterious effect abortion on demand had on Quebec society.”

“Quebeckers are committing biological suicide.”