ONTARIO LOST 600,000 ACRES OF FARMLAND BETWEEN 1996 AND 2006 : HIGH IMMIGRATION WAS PROBABLY THE MAJOR FACTOR
Immigration is probably the major factor in the loss of 600,000 acres of Ontario farmland between 1996 and 2006.
According to the Ontario Farmland Trust, 600,000 acres of Ontario farmland were lost to non-farm uses between 1996 and 2006. The OFT does not provide figures for 2007 and thus far in 2008 , but if we assume that the pace has been similar to that of the previous 10 years, the loss will probably be another 120,000 acres. If we also assume that the pace of loss was slightly lower between 1991 and 1995, let's say 50,000 acres per year, the loss would amount to another 250,000 acres. And if we add all these figures, the total for 1991 to 2008 is 970,000 acres.
Since this is close to 1 million acres of lost farmland in one province, the big question that has to be asked is this : WHY HAS THIS HAPPENED?
The Ontario government does not keep statistics which show how much of Ontario's farmland was converted to housing for new immigrants to Canada. But it is highly probable that this is what has happened.
Like other parts of Canada , Ontario has been losing farmland to short-sighted development for many years, but the process accelerated in 1991 when uninterrupted high immigration levels were introduced. Unlike other parts of Canada, southern Ontario has half of all Class 1 (the best) farmland in Canada. Since 1991, southern Ontario has also been the destination of half of Canada's approximately 5 million new immigrants, most of whom Canada did not need.
Canada has made a deal with these 5 million and that deal has to be honoured. But it would be extremely foolish to repeat the serious mistake by making a deal with another 5 million unnecessary people.
Here are a number of points that the people of Ontario and other parts of Canada should consider about the connection between farmland loss and immigration:
(1) It is illogical for many Ontario municipal councillors, MPP's or MP's to say they are green, but cheerlead high immigration and tolerate the loss of such an important commodity as farmland. Politicians use the word “sprawl” to identify the cause of farmland loss. But “sprawl” is now really a euphemism for immigration. According to the Ontario Farmland Trust, in the Greater Toronto Area alone, 210,000 acres of farmland were lost between 1976 and 2001.
The same charge can be made in other provinces. That is particularly true of B.C. where Premier Gordon Campbell and his like-minded see nothing wrong with taking Canada's best farmland near Vancouver out of B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve and converting it into housing or industrial uses. Almost all of the pressure for new housing in B.C. has been created by an immigration-driven population increase of nearly 1 million people—which he has approved of. Campbell has portrayed himself as a green premier, the only premier who has introduced a carbon tax.
Ironically, he lives in the only province that has strong farmland protection laws. However, he is the one who weakened the power of that legislation (B.C.'s Agricultural Land Reserve) by transferring (from a central provincial body) to municipalities the right to remove agricultural land from the Farmland Reserve. With considerable guile, his government has put poor quality land from Central and Northeastern B.C. into the Reserve in order to create the illusion that the amount of land in the Reserve has not changed. The truth is that the quantity of land may not have changed, but the quality of land has altered dramatically.
Like politicians in Ontario and other parts of Canada, Campbell's green-ness is questionable. This week, new charges have been made that he interfered with environmental assessments so that he could lend support to a 3200 acre housing development outside Vancouver. If substantiated, this will further undermine his green self-portrait. Many other politicians in other parts of Canada are guilty of the same deceit and similar flawed logic.
(2) Loss of farmland endangers future food security. High quality farmland that is near population centres will probably become crucial. Rising oil prices and Peak Oil, which were not important issues in the early 1990's, are important now and will likely contribute to making food security a major issue in future. Do pro-immigration politicians in Ontario and any other part of Canada think that Canada can keep importing huge amounts of food as fuel costs rise sharply? If so, are these great immigration “humanitarians”, who see nothing wrong with surrendering food security to the “unselfish” creation of multiculturalism and diversity, prepared to be so “selfless” about basic necessities for themselves and their families in future? Are they prepared to hear: “Let them eat diversity!!” if their food supply is cutailed?
(3) Many Canadians continue to think that the country's large size means it can take limitless numbers of people. They place pro-immigration ideology high above basics such as preserving good farmland. They ignore the fact that 40% of Canada is north of 60 degrees latitude and that only about 5% of Canada's land mass is farmland. They also ignore the fact that other vast tracts of this planet have few humans living there because they do not have basics such as a hospitable climate, water and arable land. To these people, empty land means room for more people, particularly for more immigrants.
These people have had warnings. For example, Ontario's Environment Commissioner has stated that the Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) area does not have the water resources to supply the 4 to 6 million immigrants the federal government is planning to deposit into that area in the next 22 years. He has also said that the waterways of the GGH area do not have the capacity to take the human effluent (excrement, urine, etc.) that these new arrivals will produce. Despite the credibility of his statements, many Ontario politicians continue to sing the praises of diversity and multiculturalism as they clamber over one another to get the ethnic vote. Many think that the solution for every problem in every country on the planet is to move its population to Canada. Many of these new arrivals have moved from overpopulated countries whose surroundings resemble a virtual environmental hell. To these people, the middle of environmental purgatory in southern Ontario and other parts of Canada looks like environmental heaven. And to them, it is almost inconceivable that their numbers could degrade the areas they move into and re-create the hell they came from.
The politicians who have promoted the arrival of these people like to perpetuate the delusion that Canada is a limitless cornucopia and that current conditions will last forever—-despite all the economic and environmental warnings to the contrary.
For the sake of the country's precious farmland and its entire future, these politicians cannot continue to have their way with Canada.
1. (EDITOR'S COMMENT: TOTAL OF CLASS 1 FARMLAND IN ONTARIO:
The Ontario Farmland Trust says that 18% of all Class 1 Ontario Farmland = 150,000 Acres. We have provided the following calculation to show the total of all Class 1 Ontario Farmland.
IF 18% OF ALL CLASS 1 FARMLAND = 150,000 ACRES,
Then 1% = 8333 ACRES
AND 100% = 833,333 ACRES, THE TOTAL OF ALL CLASS 1 FARMLAND IN ONTARIO)
2. Ontario Farmland Trust has compiled a list of municipalities and organizations that support the creation of an agricultural gifts program.