Unreasonable Accommodation


Metro Vancouver's projected population growth of 800,000+ by 2031 is in complete conflict with Climate Change warnings from the world's top scientists.Almost 100% of the population increase will be caused by offshore immigration. As critics have repeatedly pointed out, most of this immigration is unjustified and unnecessary. Metro Vancouver, the province of British Columbia and their counterparts in other parts of Canada should be resisting federal demands to accommodate more people.

Most provinces and cities in Canada would find the 800,000+ figure incomprehensible because the entire population within their boundaries has never reached that figure or never exceeded it by much. So to add another 800,000+ to an existing population of 2.2 million, already crowded into a small area, seems unbelievable.

Metro-Vancouver has an area of 1111 square miles. For those who want some perspective on this issue, Canada's smallest province, P.E.I., the most densely populated province in the country, has an area of 2184 square miles and a population of 135,000. So Metro Vancouver has one half of P.E.I.'s area but 17 times its population. If the 800,000+ population increase occurs, Metro Vancouver will have over 22 times the current P.E.I. population by 2031.

Faced with the idea that continued population growth is inevitable and that municipalities do not have the power to control population growth, many of the people who attend the meetings do so with the intention of helping out in some way. They make suggestions and genuinely contribute to the process. They present ways to reduce traffic congestion, to have more people use public transportation, to have more people recycle, to create zero waste, etc. They want to do their share to help the larger community and they are to be commended.

However, many do not think of the possibility of stabilizing or reducing the area's population.As a result, many of the things they suggest are mere “management” or “accommodation” techniques. They do not ask the crucial question, “Is population growth inevitable?”

In contrast, some Metro Vancouver planners are very straightforward about population growth figures. They say that 85% of current population growth is caused by immigration. And, not far into the future, they say, 100% of the area's population growth will be caused by immigration. So, to planners and others, the area's future population growth is an immigration issue. It is not as if immigration is a side issue. It is the central issue.

And because Canada has three ocean borders and its only land neighbour is becoming increasingly concerned about migration, immigration is controllable—contrary to what immigration advocates and real estate developers– who will profit from the construction of a potential 400,000 new dwellings by 2031–like to say.

At the meetings which Metro Vancouver has held, a number of participants have stated that the Metro Vancouver area is a finite space, and that if we constantly add people to it, we are going in a direction opposite to that which real environmentalists and Climate Change mitigators are advocating.

Here are some of the arguments that have been used to justify continued population growth. After them are the answers given by those who advocate population stabilization or reduction.

(1) “We need immigration to support our aging population.” ANSWER: No. Health and Welfare Canada researched this question in the late 1980's. At that time, some people believed that higher immigration levels could reduce Canada's average age. However, the work done by 200 university researchers from across Canada concluded that raising immigration levels to as high as 600,000 per year would not reduce the average age of Canadians. The researchers stated that measures such as making better use of Canada's female work force and employing Canada's 45+ year old unemployed males were statistically and culturally (also morally) superior to the raising of immigration levels.

(2) “We have a declining population.” ANSWER: No. We don't have a declining population. We do have a low birthrate, but the Baby Boom Echo is still being felt in Canada. Part of our population increase every year is still the result of “natural increase” (births within our country). Natural increase is declining, and it will eventually reach zero. The major point is that Canada, like many countries in the developed world, has a great demographic opportunity. It can respond to the Climate Change issue and all of the concern about environmental matters by choosing either to stabilize its population or to reduce it.

(3) “We need workers for our economy.” ANSWER: Maybe we need a few, but immigration advocates are trying to stampede the country into perpetuating our high immigration levels (now 260,000+ per year). They are also trying to scare Canada into importing large numbers of temporary workers (now 170,000 per year—twice as many as were arriving just two years ago and a clear indication of the stampede effect). Together, these two processes mean that a total of 430,000 newcomers a year are arriving—a phenomenal number. Illegals are not included. Queens University Professor Emeritus Alan Green has said that in the 1960's, Canada did not have the required educational structures in place to train its own workforce, but Canada has those structures in place now and we can prepare almost all the people we need for our workforce. Contrary to what Citizenship and Immigration tells Canadians, 80% of the people who enter Canada every year as regular immigrants are unskilled. That is, most of our legal immigrants are people we do not need. Regarding the issue of ensuring that temporary workers leave Canada once their permits expire so that newly-trained Canadians can take those jobs, one critic has wisely said: “There is nothing more permanent than temporary workers.”

An incident in the Fall of 2006 illustrates that our federal government is failing to stand up to (a) those who want to maintain high unskilled immigration levels and (b) those who want to increase temporary worker levels. At that time, our federal government released a list of 170 occupations in which supposed vacancies existed in Alberta and B.C. The list included the ludicrous claim that these provinces needed people for such occupations as real estate agents, cashiers, clerks, biologists, editors, athletes, and dozens more. Clearly, the list had been assembled in a sloppy way (probably by people outside the Citizenship and Immigration Department). The government was probably duped into accepting it. Much of it is an example of outright fraud. The questions our federal and provincial governments should be asking of “employers” who are looking for “workers” are these: (a) “What are the jobs you are talking about?” (b) “Where are the jobs located?” and (c) “How many 'workers' are really needed?” In addition, the governments have to look at the experience of other countries where people smugglers have used the so-called “labour shortage” issue to profit by bringing in people who would not otherwise be admitted.

(4) “Immigration makes Canada diverse.” ANSWER: (a) Real diversity (biological diversity, the kind that biologists say is healthy) has virtually disappeared in Canada's major immigrant-receiving areas. These areas have been transformed into large human mono-cultures. (b) In addition, the kind of cultural “Diversity” that the multiculturalists trumpet has made some areas of Canada into mono-national areas, the cultural opposite of what these areas have been for most of their history. Recent immigrants from a few countries have become the majority in certain areas. To justify this cultural colonization, advocates of a “Diversity/We Are The World” policy like to proclaim that Canada was bland and in need of enrichment. This attitude implies a contempt for Canadian history and the people who were part of the history. Once again, we ask: “What country, which now sends immigrants here, would tolerate a few million Canadians showing up on its doorstep and declaring: “You are too bland. We've come to enrich you and make you more diverse.?”

(5) “In the next fifty years, there will be millions of environmental refugees. Inflows of people are beyond our control.” ANSWER: This statement assumes (a) that huge numbers of environmental refugees are inevitable; (b) that Canada will not have any of its own to take care of and (c) that by accepting population increases now, Canada is not already responsible for the creation of environmental refugees. If the 800,000+ or so extra people that Metro Vancouver is being told to accept in the next 23 years (and the projected 5+ million for all of Canada) are polluters like the rest of us, then they will increase the pollution that Metro Vancouver (and Canada) will produce. In other words, bringing that extra 800,000 people here (and a bare minimum of 5+ million more to cold-climate Canada) will make the Climate Change problem worse. By itself, that action will create at least some of the environmental refugees both in Canada and elsewhere. Instead of creating more GHG's, why don't we curb the inflow of people, do more at home to decrease our ecological footprint, and help parts of Canada and other countries reduce the destruction that may be coming their way?

(6) Immigrants want to bring their families to Canada. Canada has an obligation to take these people. Answer: (a) Canada's primary obligation is to the good of the majority of its own citizens. Period. We can be generous to people outside our borders, but that does not mean we are obligated to move the world to Canada. From the 1920's to 1990, Canada's immigration policy was designed to serve Canadians first, not to import people who would compete with Canadians for employment. It was obviously based on the notion that if Canada did not look after its own people, what other country would? That policy was abandoned in 1990 when Barbara McDougall, Canada's Minister of Immigration, convinced her colleagues to increase immigration levels so that her party could compete with the Liberal Party for the recent immigrant vote. A number of Canadians think our current intake (which has averaged 240,000 for over 17 years) is normal, but in reality it is a completely senseless abnormality. (b) On the issue of our social services obligations: Canada allows recent immigrants to bring in about 20,000 parents/grandparents annually. (This is happening at a time when immigration advocates like to say immigration will solve Canada's aging population problems.) These recent immigrants have claimed that it is a cultural tradition to have parents/grandparents living in the same household. A number of these recent immigrants have acted responsibly and fulfilled their obligation to look after their parents. But others have merely used the cultural argument to bring elderly into Canada and then deposit them into the closest Seniors' Home where they displace Canada's own elderly (who have lived here all their lives and paid into the social safety net).

(7) “Immigration is a federal issue. Municipalities have no control over this matter.” ANSWER: It is immoral for municipal or provincial politicians to claim that they are impotent in influencing immigration policy. When municipal or provincial politicians approve of current high immigration levels or advocate increasing immigration levels, federal politicians fall at their feet. In fact, federal officials look for ways to reward this “influence” on federal policy. Provincial and municipal politicians have seen this often. Getting the federal government to do the opposite is harder, but it is not impossible. If a number of MP's get the idea that they will be looking for alternate employment after the next election, they will eat humble pie. Canada is experiencing the greatest demographic change in its history. This enormous change is completely unjustified and completely senseless. Playing impotent during the course of such a fundamental change is a poor excuse from anyone, especially from those who live off the public purse.

(8) “Immigration has made this place more vibrant.” ANSWER: On the next sunny day, when residents can see the yellow shroud of pollution over the area, tell them they should feel grateful at the prospect of another 800,000 people, and that they should take a very deep breath and feel vibrant. The next time residents are stuck in traffic while traveling by public transit or private car, tell them they should remain calm and feel vibrant. The next time their children have to make an outrageously high offer to buy a roof over their heads, tell them to move into a basement suite and feel vibrant.

Crowding another 800,000 people into Metro Vancouver and another 5+ million into the rest of Canada would be a clear case of unreasonable accommodation of a senseless federal immigration policy. The proposal is not in the interests of Metro Vancouver, Canada or the planet. It really is time to “Think Globally. Act Locally”.