I’m a little late on the news these days. I wasn’t feeling well on Sunday and my drafts have all been posted now. Came across an article by Hans Tammemagi in the Vancouver Sun. He’s emphasizing that we need to control our population in order to curb the impacts of the environment.
Let me start the discussion by suggesting that countries, Canada included, need to develop national population policies. Population targets and policies should be established that provide the basis for family allowances, immigration, foreign aid and much more. Hopefully, we can encourage smaller families, having children later and reducing teenage pregnancies.
National policies, in turn, need to be coordinated with international policies overseen by the United Nations. Foreign aid for Third-World countries, where the large share of population growth is projected, must include education and empowerment of women and proactive family planning.
Indeed, more humans will definitely mean more of an impact on the environment. I don’t question his position on that. However, I’m not sure Canada really needs a national population policy. It would get rather Draconian at some point to legislate whether people pro-create or not. China already has a one-child policy that punishes parents who have an extra child(ren). There are even rumours of forced abortions in some parts of the country. In the countryside, where enforcement is dependent on local officials, the policy is carried out in a somewhat spooty fashion.
Canada, if it were not for immigration, would have a negative growth rate. We already have an aging population and lower birth rates just like most industrialized nations. Eventually, if we follow the trend of industrialization, many other nations also will eventually have lower birth rates. In the cities of China, birth rates are already down. With further industrialization and higher standards of living, people will start having less children like the rest of the industrialized world. It just becomes too expensive to have a lot of children.
I think Canada is doing its part already to lower world population. In fact, we don’t have enough people in our vast country. By taking in some of the world’s population through immigration, aren’t we helping parts of the world that are under more severe environmental pressure. Aren’t we helping to be a pressure valve in this great population surge. The reason we need immigration is because we don’t have enough people to populate the 2nd largest country in the world. Without immigration, the jobs we have now and the standard of life we have now, may not exist. It could still exist, but where does the tax base come from then? What will we do then if we are heavy on the senior end and light on the working force end?