At this point in the early 2020s, Canada’s population has reached over 38 million people. Demographic models in the late 1900s forecast that with balanced immigration Canada’s population would stabilize near 28 million sometime between 2020 and 2030. The increase of 10 million has been driven by the highest immigration levels in the world and represents a milestone of imposed population growth.
The rapid population growth policy stems from the replacement of the policy of nation-building, in effect in Canada prior to the 1960s, by a policy of commercial market building. It placed the interests of lobby groups, who profit from the growth of the commercial market, real estate inflation and abundant cheap labour, ahead of those of the vast majority of Canadians and the health of the land.
During the 1990s the Mulroney government cemented mass immigration and globalization into government policy and the fate of Canada’s middle class and lower income groups was sealed. Canadians had not wanted more people in the country since the 1950s as the enormous social, quality of life and environmental benefits of a stable population were self-evident.
Why it Matters
As studies clearly predicted, Canada’s level of equality, second highest in the world in the early 1960s, has fallen to the mid-30s now and the loss of farmland to urban sprawl has risen to over 300 acres per day in Ontario alone. Neither of these indicators bode well for social stability of food resilience in an increasingly unstable world.
So, what have the impacts of extreme levels (~450,000 annually) of immigration been? That 10 million extra people means:
- Over 3 million additional housing units built mostly on prime farmland
- 130 to 200 mt higher carbon emissions depending on how you count emissions (emissions from the oil sands is roughly 100 mt of CO2)
- An extra 6 million vehicles on our increasingly congested roads
- High housing inflation and low affordability
- Substantially eroded quality of life and access to nature
- Soaring debt now 5 times higher than 50 years ago
- Plummeting equality levels – 2nd highest in the world in the early 1960s to the mid-30s now.
- Declining job quality
- Reduced resources per capita
Of course, the elites – developers, speculators, cheap labour employers and media corporations – who promoted mass immigration profited immensely from the rise in property values, mortgage debt and the growth of the commercial market. This caused inequality levels to rise and funneled wealth from those to produce it to those who acquire it.
How it Happened
Decades ago a small predatory group decided to ignore the welfare of the nation and reduce Canada from a nation to a market; a market where they would become wealthy at the expense of Canadians. Instead of continuing to build the nation by investing in Canadians and increasing their skills and productive capabilities as well as preserving and enhancing the country’s natural wealth, they promoted the unsustainable path of real estate development and asset inflation with profits flowing into their own pockets.
Witness the Ontario government overriding environmental concerns and housing affordability to pave some of the best farmland in the world with housing for massive numbers of immigrants which they bring in in ever increasing numbers. This policy is carried forward without environmental review and without consideration for the debt and lifestyle decline it imposes on Canadians, deficits, social safety net integrity and the viability of our health system.
As we have learned from the growing Stop Sprawl movement, politicians are deaf to farmers, environmentalists and social activists, not to mention everyday citizens, when developers whisper money and good press in their ears. As the democratic process breaks down, is it any wonder only 43% of registered voters in Ontario bothered to vote?
What of the Future
In the era of climate crisis and rising food and energy costs, a policy of population increase is beyond reckless. In a world where food security is declining due to climate change and energy cost increases, paving over Canada’s most productive land to accommodate more mouths to feed epitomizes the failure of responsible government.
Canada’s current policy is never-ending growth and tripling our population over the next 100 years. This is hard for most people to believe but that is the truth. Yes, our media and political institutions are driving hard to actually triple the population of this country. Rather than establishing a broad-based, resilient economy, our corrupted system of government is supporting a buy-sell and asset inflation Ponzi scheme which serves only a small disconnected parasitic overhead.
However, this pales in comparison with government failure to begin to deal with the extremely clear and present threats of climate change, resource depletion and the challenge of the transition to renewable energy. Current growth policy is orienting our country in exactly the wrong way to meet these challenges.
What is coming? More, much more of the same reduction of quality of life and increasing inequality that an additional 60 million immigrants over the next 80 years will guarantee. But, instead of that, let’s stop posting population growth milestones, aim for stability, and start posting environmental revival, higher quality of life and more housing affordability milestones: Positive Milestones .
What You Can Do
The ability to override all environmental assessment processes, evade democratic mechanisms and ignore the housing inflation it creates clearly demonstrates the immense power of the mass immigration lobby. The growth lobby in most western nations is extremely powerful, but at least there is some discussion of the negative impacts whereas Canada is uniquely corrupt in that growth negatives are never discussed in government or media forums despite being widely discussed amongst the public.
We need to get growth lobbyists out of government and the media and make democracy work again.
Canadians aren’t looking for perfection but are alarmed and disheartened by the lack of any semblance of government strategy associated with their welfare and any hint of integrity on the part of the media. “National conversation” has come to mean that media corporations make decrees and bully while being completely deaf to the will and the welfare of Canadians.
A population of 38 million and growing rapidly is a grim milestone. It marks the decline of our environment and social structure and the dominance of a corrupt and disconnected elite whose vision does not extend beyond their own power, privilege and profit.
All is not hopeless as several communities have at least presented a couple of small bumps in the road for the Growth Forever steamroller. Hamilton has said no to further expansion onto farmland. How long this lasts is a matter of speculation.
Orillia took the radical step of asking its citizens for their opinions. Needless to say, they wanted safer and healthier community and there was no support whatsoever for more expensive housing, greater congestion or the paving over of farmland. Needless to say, the planning report ignored public input and assumed that growth was the only option.
In any case, the provincial Conservative government (and likely the NDP and Liberal parties as well) will force growth down the throats of those municipalities demanding progress for their residents rather than growth of the commercial market. If enough local governments though and push for a stop to the madness of sprawl and population increase, it will be very difficult for the federal and provincial governments to continue to drive it.
So talk to your local politicians and demand to know how they will deliver more affordable housing, higher quality of life and access to nature, plus food and energy security if they fail to call for a halt to growth. Stand up to corruption masquerading as social justice and economic growth.
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”