In the TV debate of April 12, 2011, the leaders of Canada's four parties with parliamentary seats demonstrated that beneath the phony left-right dichotomies, parliament is ideologically monolithic in the most important sense. All of them believe in the necessity, desirability and possibility of continuing economic growth, and that immigration-driven population growth is its necessary concomitant and driver. But how could it be otherwise? Politicians do not effect change, they respond to it. And the environmental movement---and its political arm in the NDP and the Green Party, has done nothing to create a constituency of awareness that population growth in Canada is unsustainable, an awareness that if widely shared, would compel political parties and their leaders to address it. Most culpable is David Suzuki, who could move mountains if he would publicly say what he has said of Australia: that in relation to our resources, we are in serious population overshoot.
Protecting Nature While Ignoring Immigration?
Take a look at Nature Canada's website http://www.naturecanada.ca/election2011.asp, and their "questions to ask " politicians in this federal election, and then you will understand what is wrong with Canada's environmental and conservation movement. They have taken the "P"( for population) out of the IPAT equation, the foundational formula of the environmental movement in the 1970s, essentially, environmental impact is a function of population levels and average consumption of each individual. Nature Canada, Nature Conservancy, the David Suzuki Foundation and the Sierra Club, the Green Party of Canada and the fake greens in the NDP all would have you believe that we can add 350,000 consumers to our population every year, year after year--- one metro Toronto every decade----without negative ecological impacts! And if challenged, they will tell you that we can shoe-horn tens of millions more into this country by strict land use planning (aka "smart growth"), preserve greenfield acreage and minimize their energy use. Aside from the fallacy of this contention, it is intellectually dishonest. Land use planning is in the hands of local government, and as Professor Robert MacDirmid of York University has documented in "Funding City Politics", local governments are controlled by developers.
Here are some questions to ask Nature Canada and their politically correct green clones:
1. Why won't you, Canada's green NGOs?make public your corporate funding sources? Why do you hide your corporate benefactors from your own members?
2. Why do you accept money from corporations like RBC, the Toronto Dominion Bank, the Walton Group, Encana, Atco etc etc? What do they want from you? What have you not said or advocated in return for their patronage? What is the going rate for your silence?
3. Can you explain the 'coincidence' that you have not taken on immigration-driven population growth in Canada when that is a major goal of corporations like RBC who fund you?
4. Can you seriously argue that we can "decouple" population growth in Canada from environmental degradation, from farmland and habitat loss and carbon emissions?
5. Why have you not pushed for an environmental assessment process for the government's immigration and pro-natalist policies? Do you honestly believe that renewable energy can be "scaled up" to meet the demands of a Canadian population that grows at over 1.08% per annum? Do you understand what exponential growth is? If you think a population level of 34 million for Canada is sustainable, at point would you concede that it isn't? 44 million? 54 million? 84 million? At what point along the road to ruin would you be prepared to call for a Population Plan for this country, as did Dr. Michael Healy and his UBC research team in their federally commissioned report, “Prospects for Sustainability”. As the Science Council of Canada warned in 1976, Canada must limit and stabilize its population.
Population Myopia Is An Outrageous Omission
The population-myopia of Canada's environmental movement is an outrageous omission that smacks of political correctness and outright corruption. Species loss is not something that only happens in some distant wilderness. The real killing fields are right here on the perimeters of Canada's growing urban centres. That is why Walton International, a land banking corporation, finds that it makes good business sense to give donations to Nature Conservancy for high profile land acquisitions far away from the farmland that Walton likes to purchase at the edge of cities like Calgary. When that land is rezoned to 'urban' use and housing development, Nature Conservancy stays mute, as it has when other patrons like RBC underwrite urban sprawl or bankroll the tar sands. Then, when Nature Conservancy "saves" a wetland or valley 500 miles away, these corporate donors can share the bragging rights. The new parkland is then declared parkland "forever". Forever, that is, until oil hits $250/barrel or minerals critical to our economy are in desperate shortfall. Until then, however RBC, the TD bank and Shell Canada can show off their credentials as good green citizens and paragons of corporate social "responsibility".
Where can nature be found on the ballot? Why won't Suzuki speak out against Canadian population growth?
Nature Canada implores us to "vote for nature" in this election. But where, on any federal election ballot in any constituency, can "nature" be found? The counterfeit "Greens", along with the NDP and the Liberals, actually want to hike Canada's immigration quota from its current 285,000 to 340,000!!!! Canada already vies with Australia for the dishonour of having the highest per capita immigration intake in the world, and has the highest population growth rate in the G8 group! Privately, according to some sources, David Suzuki has called this process of converting third world immigrants to "hyper consumers" in Canada as "madness", but will not say soon a major media outlet. He has, however, bravely gone on ABC radio in Australia to tell Australians that Australia is overpopulated. But Australia already has Tim Flannery and the Australian Conservation Foundation to tell them that. Will we have to invite an iconic Australian environmentalist here to say the same thing about Canada? In what way has Canada not overshot its carrying capacity to the same degree as Australia? Why the silence, Dr. Suzuki? Why be frank 'down under' but be seized with demographic lockjaw in your own country? Does the David Suzuki Foundation customize its policies to suit its benefactor, RBC, whose Chairman Gordon Nixon has lobbied for an immigration intake of 450,000?
Nature Canada is right in one important respect. In their words, "we cannot afford to allow nature and the environment to be ignored." So why are they ignoring population growth?
Nature Canada Asks Us To Ask the Candidates
What will you do to make sure Canada does a better job of enforcing our laws to protect wildlife like caribou, whales, and migratory birds?
How will you make sure nature is really protected in all federal parks and protected areas?
What will you do to protect more lands, waters, and oceans for nature and future generations?
How will you do a better job of using federal regulations and environmental assessments to prevent environmental disasters?
My hard-earned tax dollars are going to subsidize big oil and gas companies and our Canadian lakes are being handed over to mining companies to dump their waste. What will you do to end these dirty subsidies?
What is your party’s plan to really move Canada to a green economy powered by renewable energy?
Canada urgently needs an ambitious national plan to protect nature for wildlife, for us to enjoy, and for future generations. What will you do to show national leadership and give Canada an ambitious vision and a plan to protect nature for all?
Tell Canada’s leaders where you stand – vote for nature in 2011!
Suzuki says Australia is overpopulated:
David Suzuki - Interview with radio station 6PR, 22 Sept 2006:
Suzuki: You know I was shocked to find that you have got a Minister in the Federal Cabinet here (Treasurer Peter Costello) who is encouraging Australians to have more and more children. Why? Because everybody thinks that in order to keep the economy growing forever you have got to have a growing population to keep that economy growing.
And so no one ever asks what is the cost of adding more people to Australia, a country as far as I am concerned that is already overpopulated because the demand of each Australian is so great?
Journalist: So you are saying Australia is overpopulated?
Suzuki: You bet.
Postscript: The National Leaders Debate of April 12, 2011
Last night a TV debate was held between the leaders of Canada's 4 main parties. All of them proceeded on these assumptions:
1. Continual economic growth is necessary, desirable and possible.
2. A growing population is necessary to fuel economic growth.
3. Continued high levels of immigration are necessary to replace and increase our existing population level.
The only difference between them was whether a higher or lower proportion of those immigrants should be drawn from the "family class" category. And even here, Prime Minister Harper argued that his government had remained faithful to the concept of "family reunification". Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe joined the chorus in favour of more and more immigration, but stated that multiculturalism "does not fit Quebec", which has a duty to ensure that immigrants be fully integrated into a francophone society that represents only 2% of North America's population.
Needless to say, none of the leaders questioned the justice or the sense of pro-natalist policies and child-benefits packages, or the lunacy of the Quebec government subsidizing couples' IVF treatments to the tune of $7,000 a piece.
And it should be added, that Green Party leader Elizabeth May would have been in emphatic agreement with these leaders had she participated in the debate.
We are passengers on the HMCS Ecological Titanic led by a captain and aspiring captains who believe that we should pick up more passengers, and remain ignorant about the perils ahead. Has anyone one of them read James Howard Kunstler, or Richard Heinberg, or Michael Ruppert, or even one article in the vast archive of material that is available on overshoot?
April 13/ 2011