Paving prime farmland to put up parking lots and housing has become a national sickness. Most of Canada's best farmland is located around Canada's large cities. It has come under more and more pressure—especially from high national immigration which goes almost totally to our cities, says Immigration Watch Canada.
According to a just-released survey by Statistics Canada, “Urban Canada has grown at such a rate over the last 30 years, it's gobbled up some of the country's best agricultural terrain”.
The survey states that “By 2001, Canadian cities and towns had taken over 7400 square kilometres of land traditionally reserved for farming…. In 2001, about 14, 300 square kilometres of urban land had been formerly used for agriculture.”
The report makes two major points.
(1) “Although the losses of agricultural land to urban uses may appear to be small”, the losses “affect specialty crops that have a limited ability to fluorish in Canada.” The fruit belts in Ontario's Niagara Peninsula and B.C.'s Okanagan have been particularly affected.
(2) “As the amount of prime agricultural land has diminished, the demand for arable territory has increased, forcing farmers to cultivate poorer soil”.
“Many Canadians continue to think that Canada has an unlimited amount of farmland”, says Dan Murray of Immigration Watch Canada. “In particular, they think that Canada's prairie breadbasket will provide an almost unlimited cushion against any future food shortages either here or in the rest of the world,”
In the case of prairie agriculture, scientists have pointed out that, a major problem is that Rocky Mountain glaciers are melting at an alarming rate. Yearly snowmelt provides the prairies with spring moisture. But glacier melting has traditionally provided summer moisture. Without glacier moisture, many prairie crops would dry up in July and August.
According to scientists quoted in a recent CBC news report, “Some of the glaciers in the mountains have lost 70 per cent of their volume in the past 100 years. The Rocky Mountain glaciers provide most of Western Canada's fresh water.”
“Every year there is more ice melting than going in. Over the last five years, it's accelerated rapidly. The glaciers are really retreating.” says University of Calgary climatologist Shawn Marshall in the CBC report.
According to the CBC report, “Weather records show that the average temperature in the Rockies has risen about 1.5 degrees over the last century.”
“A rise of 1.5 degrees may not seem to be very much—just like the loss of thousands of square kilometres of agricultural land may not seem to be significant. But when these two events are seen together and then seen beside other events, they become serious matters,” says Dan Murray of Immigration Watch Canada.
“For example, in 2001, a current federal cabinet minister proudly and seriously proposed a population of 100 million for Canada's prairies. His idea had been published in a major Toronto daily newspaper. According to this minister, the100 million people would be settled from the Canada-U.S. border northward. The settlement would begin at the B.C./Alberta border and extend to the Manitoba/Ontario border. At the time, this minister was serving on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Immigration. His proposal implied that these 100 million people would be immigrants.
“This federal minister seems to think that land that is not covered with pavement or housing is wasted. His immigration proposal was made without any thought of the future and without any knowledge of what is happening in the real world,” says Mr. Murray.
“The past Minister of Citizenship and Immigration liked to call herself the 'Minister of Hopes and Dreams', says Mr. Murray. “The new minister will have to rein in the current wild aspirations of his department as well as the equally-wild ones of his fellow cabinet ministers. If he doesn't do so, he will unfortunately come to be known as the 'Minister of Paving Paradise To Put Up Housing and Parking Lots'.
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