Immigration-Driven Population Growth: Canada’s Untouchable Subject

This is such a huge sensitive subject … where to begin and how to keep it succinct.

To me, population growth in Canada and the world affects two key aspects of life: 1)  quality of life and 2)  the survival of humans and all other species on the planet.

Quality of life is a very subjective topic. Each person has their own view of quality of life, and we may never agree on what constitutes a high quality of life. But that should not stop us from trying to define it and measuring it. Because, if we can’t, my feeling is that a rather ugly version of the second option will kick in. And, so far, we have not done a good job of defining and measuring quality of life. Instead, we have an uncountable, ad nauseam quantity of financial measures, like Gross Domestic Product (GDP), to measure one narrow aspect of life.

Currently, in Canada, we artificially grow our population via immigration because the level of natural births is below replacement. Replacement is 2.1 per woman. Canada’s rate is 1.4. And, that birth rate is telling us something that our leaders choose to ignore.

The main issue is not immigrants. It is the level of the growth via immigration. If we stopped growing our population, we would still need immigrants to maintain our current population. If we were to consider degrowth, which we probably should, since the planet is in population overshoot, then immigration would need to be cut further. By the way, unless you are a First Nations person or a descendant of one, we are all immigrants or descendants of immigrants.

In the past, people have come to Canada for the dream of more freedom and a higher quality of life by getting away from the lower quality of life in overcrowded European and other countries. If we keep doing what we are doing, the “Canadian dream” of a higher quality of life is going to disappear as we keep jamming more people into the same space, just like everywhere else. And, please don’t tell me that Canada is a huge country. 90% of our population lives within 160 kilometres of the U.S. border and only 4% is arable … the portion that we keep destroying through development to accommodate growth.

Just in case anyone thinks Canada is a democracy, it’s not. It’s an authoritarian growthocracy, as is pretty much every other country in the world. Since Jacques Cartier first stepped onto North America, we have lived in a colonialist/developer run growthocracy that benefits mainly our country’s wealthy elite. Democracy was subverted a long time ago. It’s growth for growth’s sake and to hell with most people’s quality of life.

Growth for growth’s sake is medieval/colonial thinking. The West has been won, the land has been “settled”, the First Peoples have been relegated to reserves and, if we don’t stop soon, Ontario, for example, based on my calculations, won’t be able to feed itself by about 2056. Ontario loses 319 acres of farmland per day to development to accommodate our population growth. And, that is just farmland!

Canadian politicians at every level of government and the mainstream media never talk about the insane level of population growth here. We are firmly controlled by the development industry elite, led by the growthist organization Century Initiative, who want to see Canada’s population hit 100 million by 2100 with the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) to hit 33.5 million and the Vancouver area to hit 11.9 million. Can you imagine what the Queen Elizabeth Highway (QEW) would be like to drive on if the GTA population hit 33.5 million? It’s awful now.

Those of us who speak out about stopping population growth get labeled “eco-fascists”, “xenophobic”, “racists”, etc. when all we are trying to do is improve everyone’s quality of life and trying to prevent a horrific human and planet scenario that can be prevented by stopping and even reducing population through promoting family planning education and making contraceptives readily and freely, or inexpensively, available worldwide now.

According to Valentina Niccolucci, et al, of the Department of Chemical and Biosystems Sciences and Technology – University of Siena, in a 2006 article “Strengthening the threshold hypothesis: Economic and biophysical limits to growth” there is a theory that relates economic growth with quality of life called the “Threshold Hypothesis”, which states that economic growth up to a point brings with it an increase in quality of life. But at that point, called the threshold point – further economic growth can bring with it a deterioration in quality of life. This results in an upside-down-U-shaped curve, where the vertex of the curve represents the level of growth that should be targeted. In my opinion, we in Canada have passed that threshold point, and most of the rest of the world has passed it further than Canada.

Politicians want to grow our economy by growing our population. They never mention the environmental impact. But, and it doesn’t matter where people are housed, high, or low density, here is the environmental impact of adding 500,000 more Canadians per year to our population.

● 7.5 million more tonnes of CO2 are added per year. Every Canadian, on average, creates 15 tonnes of CO2 per year.

● 22.5-52.5 million more tonnes of material resources used. Every Canadian consumes 45 to 85 tonnes per year.

● ? million more tonnes of biomass loss

● ?  million more other species lost.

● 3.1 tonnes of greenhouse gases are created to build one new home. If 5.8 million new homes are required by 2030 to accommodate our population growth, then 18 million more tonnes of greenhouse gasses will be created – water vapor, CO2, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide, chlorofluorocarbons.

Planting 2 billion trees in 10 years to sequester CO2 is never going to keep up with that.

Constant, relentless growth in the quantity of us humans is the root cause of most of our current problems and is lowering everyone’s quality of life.

We need to refocus on growing the quality of everyone’s life instead of growing our population. We need to stop spending money on accommodating quantity growth and instead spend that money on caring for our fellow human beings, the planet, and growing everyone’s and every species’ quality of life. That’s the kind of new “economic model” that we need.


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