January 8, 2011: Australian And Canadian Social Democrats Compared


By Tim Murray

Everybody knows NDP (social democrat) leader Jack Layton favours windmills, solar panels, retrofits, meeting Kyoto goals and all those progressive, good things.

Most have heard of his wife, NDP MP Olivia Chow. After hearing that Canada’s Conservative government foolishly plans to accept up to 265,000 immigrants this year, she recently stated that the target should be even higher. She realizes that the Liberal Party of Canada advocates that Canada admit 1% of its population as immigrants (that is, 340,000 immigrants per year). So she has re-stated the NDP’s long-held position on immigration which went even further than that of the Liberals : Canada should have an immigration rate of over 1% of the current population (maybe up to 400,000 per year).

In the past, she has parroted the same cliched falsehoods that a number of Liberal, Conservative and Bloc Quebecois MP’s use :

We need more immigrants because of our aging population. We need families and young people for productivity and economic growth.

More recently, when she criticized the Centre for Immigration Policy Reform (the CIPR) , Chow said : “My fear is that they (CIPR) will choose immigrants whom they (CIPR) think are good for Canada.” In fact, other NDP members went so far as to say that the CIPR advocated immigration policies that were “un-Canadian”.

God forbid if the federal government started to choose immigrants who are good for Canada. Better, I suppose, to follow the NDP plan of hiking immigration levels into the stratosphere. Better, I also gather, to choose immigrants who will continue the current trend of (1) being unskilled in 80% of cases, (2)  half not possessing fluency in either official language and (3) collectively consuming vastly more in government services than they will pay in taxes. This would get Canada to the bottom even faster than the policies of the Conservatives and Liberals.

With regard to statements made by other NDP MP’s, I suppose it would be impertinent to point out that J.S. Woodsworth, the founder of the social democrat CCF—which the NDP was once called—- was “un-Canadian” for approving of the Chinese Head Tax. Woodsworth believed that the Head Tax was a good thing because it discouraged the importing of Chinese cheap labourers and thus prevented the displacement of Canadian workers. And, dear me, I gather it would be blasphemous to remind NDP and other MP’s that Woodsworth supported the policy that immigration intakes be dramatically reduced during economic downturns such as the Great Depression. After all, today’s social democrats, like other MP’s who remain silent about immigration, are “enlightened, modern cosmopolitans” who reject any “reactionary quasi-Woodsworth plan” that might restrict the labour pool. The heck with a move that would put workers, that most MP’s claim to represent, in a better bargaining position.

Ms. Chow and  Mr. Layton are captives of a national myth. Contrary to what Canada’s most eminent scientists (The Science Council of Canada) have stated, these two and their counterparts in all other parties think Canada is a vast country with unlimited room for unlimited numbers of people. It’s a huge treasure trove of resources waiting to be opened up without ecological consequence—–if only there were the human resources (additional immigrants) available to do so.  Therefore, our immigration and refugee policy, to use an NDP phrase, must “be welcoming”.

Some Australians, both environmental superstars like Tim Flannery and Ian Lowe and prominent Labour (social democrat) politicians, have exposed that myth for what it is : a dangerous, suicidal fallacy which threatens to bring about a massive die-off of much of the population.

In April of 2010, Australia’s Labour (Social Democrat) government actually appointed a Population Minister. This was done so that Australia could hear arguments from 3 sides on whether that country should pursue a “Big Australia” policy. They defined “Big Australia” as a trend to use high immigration levels and baby bonuses to make Australia’s population significantly “bigger” than what it is now.

The person chosen to express the views of an ecologically-sound, limited population for Australia was prominent social democrat Bob Carr. He is the former Labor premier of  Australia’s largest state, New South Wales. Compare the fact that such a commission was even appointed to the fact that in Canada, all 5 federal parties (including Canada’s Greens) seem incapable of even dreaming of such a policy. In fact, all 5 merely compete with one another for the greatest amount of the immigrant vote. Compare also the fact that the former social democrat premier of Australia’s largest state was chosen to represent ecological, low-population interests. Then, anyone can see a major difference between the ecological views of social democrats in Australia and those of the NDP in Canada.

In a November 2009 Bob Carr said it was a disgrace that a population increase of this magnitude (from 22 million today to 35 million by 2049) was not subject to an environmental impact assessment, likening it to playing ”Russian roulette with water security”.

Prominent Australian environmentalists Mark O’Connor and William Lines, co-authors of “Overloading Australia”, quote Bob Carr’s reasons for making such a statement :

“We’ve got to dispose once and for all of the notion that Australia is an under-populated continent, an empty continent waiting to be filled up…. Australia has enormous difficulties because of the vulnerability of our soils, our water and our vegetation.  Australia is in fact over-populated…. We judge this by the point at which a country’s population begins to dent its capacity to provide a sustainable living for people in the years hence.” (P.12) “The debate ought to be about the carrying capacity of the continent.” (P.84)

In a debate with Steve Bracks, another state premier, Carr said :

“The point I make is : For advocates of high immigration, what is the limit? What is the limit? Is any limit recognised? Is it 100 million, 50 million for this land? And does it take the remotest account of Australia’s carrying capacity? I (also) want to deal with the economic arguments. The fact is there’s been serious study that shows increased immigration worsens and doesn’t relieve skills shortages. The same point has been made about the simple idea that increased immigration solves the problems associated with the ageing of the population. Bob Birrell, who’s Australia’s best academic expert in population policy, points out that over the long term, it has the most marginal impact on age distribution and you have to run very high immigration to even have that marginal impact.”

Carr has been joined by Labour MP Kelvin Thompson. In a Sydney Morning Herald article, Thompson said that Australia was ”sleepwalking into an environmental disaster”.

”Another 13 or 14 million people will not give us a richer country, it will spread our mineral wealth more thinly and give us a poorer one.’ ”It will make a mockery of our obligation to pass on to our children a world in as good a condition as the one our grandparents gave to us.”

Retired Labor (social democrat) parliamentarian Barry Cohen has expressed similar views. On February 2, 2010 in “The Australian”,  he said :

“The Prime Minister might also care to explain why the government is telling us we must reduce our carbon footprint while suggesting we should double the number of feet. We appear to be on two different planets. Some suggest that not to share our country with millions more immigrants is selfish and that we have the responsibility to help other countries to lighten their population load.

“Excuse me? What about helping them with population control?”

Let’s temporarily ignore the fact that none of Canada’s MP’s have expressed serious concern about immigration-driven population growth (well over 5 million since 1990). Let’s merely ask why Canada’s NDP, in contrast to Canada’s social democrats, has not a single MP expressing concern.


Sources :

For Olivia Chow’s views, see http://forums.canadiancontent.net/canadian-politics/52392-immigration-will-increase-canada-2007-a.html

“Overloading Australia” by Mark O’Connor and William J. Lines in 2008

“Poll Shows Deep Unease On 35 Million People By 2049”, in “The Age”, Nov. 10, 2009 (Bob Carr’s views)

“Populate and Perish : Sydney’s Time Bomb” in “The Sydney Morning Herald”, September 19, 2009 (Kelvin Thompson’e views)

“Populate And We Will Perish” by Barry Cohen, in “The Australian”, February 2, 2010

“Population, Technology and Resources” by The Science Council of Canada in July 1976. It is summarized on www.ImmigrationWatchCanada.org