Recognize Environmental Limits To The Number Of Immigrants We Can Take

All Canadians should note that in 1976, The Science Council of Canada examined the issues of Canada’s resources and its future population. It stated bluntly that Canada had to discard two myths: One is that it has an infinite supply of resources. The second is that its large area could absorb virtually unlimited numbers of immigrants. It stated that a large geographical space does not mean an ability to take huge numbers of people. On the contrary, Canada’s hostile climate means that its people have to consume large amounts of resources to survive cold winters. Consequently, to ensure its survival, Canada has to conserve the resources it has, to restrict immigration, and to stabilize its population. That number would be very close to what its population is now : 34 million.

Later studies at UBC in 1997 and by Ontario’s Environment Commissioner recently have issued similar warnings. Ontario’s Environment Commissioner has stated that Southern Ontario does not have enough water for the large population increase (between 4 to 6 million, almost all of whom will be immigrants) that our blind federal government plans to dump into southern Ontario.

Yet many Canadian politicians, pundits and some recent immigrants who have arrived from the world’s environmental hells continue to think that Canada can accommodate literally hundreds of millions of people.

If Canada continues its policy of taking in around 250,000 immigrants per year, this would mean adding a million people to Canada’s population every four years through immigration alone. When Canada’s natural increase and the children of immigrants are added, many more than 1 million people would be added to Canada’s population in that time .)

In the time when Canada professed to believe in adhering to its commitments to the Kyoto Accord to reduce Greenhouse gas emissions below its 1990 levels, Canada added almost 6 million new people to its population. That has happened since 1990. Immigration has been the single largest factor in this increase. Since most scientists argue in favour of world population stabilization and reduction, it makes no scientific or environmental sense to continue to increase Canada’s population.

Most of Canada’s immigrants go to three metropolitan areas. The flow of immigrants into those areas has resulted in dramatic population increases there and significant environmental damage. For example, in the Greater Vancouver area, it took about 130 years (roughly 1856 to 1988) to reach a population level of 1.4 million. It took just another 12 years to reach 2.1 million. The population there is now over 2.5 million. And municipal politicians there are compliantly accepting plans for another million—almost all of whom will be immigrants.

Toronto (even more so than Vancouver) and Montreal have had similar experiences. (Even if Canada’s Department of Citizenship and Immigration insisted that new immigrants go to smaller population centres, what smaller population centres really need more people?)

Canadians should note that it is a fact that about 40% of Canada’s area is Arctic and even more is sub-Arctic. Would the “vast, empty spaces” lobby agree that these new people should go to Baffin Island and other parts of Canada’s Arctic (North of 60)? Would small-town Canada south of 60 want to be flooded by immigrants?

The inundation of urban centres like Greater Vancouver by people (largely immigrants) has resulted in large-scale traffic congestion; increases in air pollution; disappearance of greenspace; increased pressure on remaining greenspace and more lobbying to convert farmland to housing; densification and infilling of many neighbourhoods; an erasing of Vancouver’s building heritage; increased demands on the servicing capacities of existing infrastructure; increased demands to replace existing infrastructure (The latter has resulted in added tax costs to the resident population which, ironically, never needed the population inflow that the federal government has imposed on it).

Canada’s large urban areas do not have the environmental capacity to absorb present high immigration levels. Canada’s small areas (with their high unemployment levels) do not have the economic capacity to absorb the high numbers.