Wednesday, April 11, 2007


What is a "useful" immigrant? Is it one who has a degree in engineering, medicine, a tradesman in construction, a surveyor, a businessman with experience in land development/subdivisions?
What does "contributing to society" mean? In the old fashioned days when wilderness was the rule and civilization was the exception, building bridges, railroads, providing medical care to growing populations was considered good for society.
But times have changed.
Immigrants may have ‘built this country’ but this country doesn’t need any more building.
We have already paved over the most biodiverse treasures our country had to offer.
Our lifeboat is full and adding passengers (immigrants account for 2/3 of Canada’s present population growth) will compromise our ability to survive the resource scarcities of the very near future. At this point, there is no more sustainable development or ‘smart’ growth. They are oxymorons.
What will the superficial environmental groups come up with next? “Sustainable extinctions”? “Smart pollution”? “Managed clearcutting”?
Groups like Sierra Club, Green Party, NDP, Nature Conservancy of Canada, World Wildlife Fund, Ontario Nature, Friends of Clayquot Sound, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, The David Suzuki Foundation, Canadian Nature Federation are all dependent on being politically correct to maximize their donations from the ignorant public and large business entities which are pro-immigration/pro-population growth.
All these "green" groups care about is maintaining their high salary jobs and their yuppie, feel-good approach to environmental issues. Many of these said organizations promote the concept of "smart growth" which is the absurd idea that population growth can be environmentally benign if new housing is stacked up (highrise apartments) instead of sprawled out (subdivision homes, cul-de-sacs). This so-called "smart growth" would only be smart if people didn't need to consume
resources in order to survive or if earth was infinite. If people could survive without consuming resources and producing pollution or if the earth itself was infinite, we could have an infinite human population on earth. However, we know better. Unfortunately the earth is finite and people consume finite resources and therefore, there are limits to the human population. The more humans, the less wildlife is an accurate rule of thumb.
If we ignore these limits we will convert an ecologically rich planet into an impoverished planet and worsen our quality of life to the point where war, disease, and famine become the norm for the majority of the population and the already ubiquitous "too many people chasing too few resources" reality will become obvious to an absurd degree.
A litmus test for any Canadian environmental organization is to ask them if they see a connection between immigration and environmental degradation. If they don't see the connection, they are not an environmental organization.
The following, among others are NOT environmental organizations despite their claims:
Sierra Club
Green Party
Nature Conservancy of Canada
World Wildlife Fund
Ontario Nature
Friends of Clayquot Sound
Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society
The David Suzuki Foundation
Canadian Nature Federation
None of these organizations have a simple public policy statement to the effect that Canada is overpopulated and humans are out of balance with the rest of nature and it is therefore necessary to reduce Canada's population as well as the global population. Importing immigrants has the opposite effect on Canada's population and the global population.
Ecosystems are collapsing, species are being marginalized and lost forever and the only way to resolve this problem is to have an end to population growth and therefore a ban on immigration. Population growth on a finite world by definition is unsustainable. These organizations only work on incidental symptoms of overpopulation and population growth, such as when a swath of mixed wild forest is made into a Wal-mart or a parking lot. Such efforts will only slow down the inevitable loss of wilderness. In order to prevent the loss of wilderness, you have to stop population growth.
"Canada is the most immigrant-friendly country in the world, accepting twice as many immigrants per capita as the next most welcoming nation, many of them people about whom little is known." according to Stoffman.
Consequently, Canada has the fastest decline of real wealth per capita in the western world.
We are liquidating our forests, fish, freshwater, minerals at rates that jeopardize our future by destroying Canada's biodiversity.
Immigration to Canada is almost always involving immigrants from countries with low per capita consumption. Of course once they arrive in Canada, their consumption skyrockets. This is a bad multiplier effect from an environmental perspective.
Allowing human population to spread from countries with scarce resources per capita (UK, China, Taiwan, Holland, Lebanon, Vietnam) to countries with a relatively abundant resources per capita like Canada, only serves to maximize the global population by efficiently spreading humans over the land without borders to impede human expansion.
Unfortunately Canada cannot solve global overpopulation single-handedly. By stopping immigration and providing incentives to Canadians for not having children, Canada can provide some desperately needed environmental leadership on the global stage. However, history has proven that no lands are protected when the population surrounding them is growing. This applies to countries, national parks, islands, or whatever. Once growing populations that surround pristine areas reach a tipping point, the demand for the resources of the protected area will become so great that all safeguards, laws, or barricades will be obliterated and the resources will get exploited.
In Canada 80% of immigrants are unskilled and take more benefits from our revenue system than they pay in taxes. In the US, each family of the 20 million illegal immigrants costs American tax payers the equivalent of one Mustang convertible annually.
I couldn't care less about artificial constructs like the economy. The biosphere is real and the economy is only an abstraction of this. If we are beyond our carrying capacity, we've got much worse problems than economical problems.
American and Canadian immigration is driven by the big businesses who profit from the cheap labour and additional consumers.
These big businesses fund political campaigns and dictate government policy on immigration.
The average North American has to put up with an ever more competitive workforce as hoardes of cheap labour immigrants arrive. The jobs of today aren't like the jobs of the 1950's. The educational requirements are higher. Scholarships are scarce, tuition is greater. A middle class person of the 1950's who wants the priviledge of pulling his own weight by growing his own food could afford a huge amount of prime agricultural land to do so. A modern middle class person could work his whole life just in order to afford a smaller amount of marginal land in a poor climate. In
the 1950s anyone could hunt moose without a license. Now you have to pay to enter a lottery for the right to 1 hunting tag for 1 moose. Resources per capita are becoming scarce.
In the UK there is barely more than 1 acre per person. They have a net ecological deficit. With roads and infrastructure rendering much of Britain's land useless, it is clear that Brits can't even feed themselves without being dependent on foreign food imports. Will Canadians learn anything from the British failures? Or will we grow our populations, plunder our resources, all while making more stringent laws until there is scarcely anything left to protect?
Hearing the CBC Radio's The Current this morning with Anna Maria Tremonte, they were talking about the boreal forest in Canada and even the so-called environmentalist they interviewed was only shooting for protection of 50% of the boreal forest since over 50% of this is scheduled for clearcut logging. The Minister of Natural Resources was interviewed and said the token statement: "We take the boreal forest very seriously" and assured listeners that the aboriginal residents would get a piece of the profit from the clearcut logging of the boreal forest north of the 51st parallel near Red Lake, ON as though that is some sort of consolation to destroying Canada's natural wealth and biodiversity.
Of course, the CBC "the thought police" avoided interviewing any environmentalist that would state the obvious that human populations are out of balance with the rest of nature and to make matters worse, human populations are still growing, and no intelligent discussion on limiting human expansion ever enters the environmental debate.
As a side note, CBC no longer broadcasts any new episodes of "The Nature of Things". Perhaps this is because David Suzuki is 70+ years old. This was one of their few programs that had any connection to nature and how Canadians interact with their land.
Wouldn't it be prudent to get a new host and broadcast new weekly episodes of The Nature of Things year-round? Ideally they would select a host this time who was not afraid to be politically incorrect by saying that Canadian population growth is making permanent environmental protection impossible.
In summary, as long as our planet and her resources are finite (last I checked they were) and so long as human beings must consume these finite resources in order to survive, the only good immigration for Canada's environment is none at all. April 10/07.

Brishen Hoff’s blog

Saturday, April 7, 2007


PRESS RELEASE from Immigration Watch Canada, May 17,2006

Making the connection between too much immigration and environmental degradation continues to be the litmus test for environmental groups. As many critics have observed, if a group says there is no connection, it is confessing that it is really not an environmental group.

The most notorious case of an environmental group which has failed to assert the connection is the U.S. Sierra Club. For years, many people were suspicious of why the club did not speak out against record increases in U.S. population (largely due to legal and illegal immigration). In 2004, the truth surfaced in a report in the Los Angeles Times. In an interview, a major benefactor, David Gelbaum, said that he had contributed over $100 million to the club. He also confessed that he had made it clear that his generosity would end if the club took a stand against immigration.

Gelbaum told the reporter: "I did tell (Sierra Club Executive Director) Carl Pope) in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."

In the interview, Gelbaum, who... is married to a Mexican American, said his views on immigration were shaped long ago by his grandfather, Abraham, a watchmaker who had come to America to escape persecution of Jews in the Ukraine before World War I. "I asked, 'Abe, what do you think about all of these Mexicans coming here?' Abe didn't speak English that well. He said, 'I came here. How can I tell them not to come?' "

Gelbaum told the reporter: "I cannot support an organization that is anti-immigration. It would dishonor the memory of my grandparents."

Since the U.S. has always restricted how many people arrive on its soil, it seems illogical, especially for a mathematician like Gelbaum, to argue that limits on total immigration (and, in this case, support for U.S. population stabilization) can be interpreted as "anti-immigration" or a stand against "all" immigration.

Moreover, it is both illogical and scandalous that the U.S. Sierra Club has ignored the impact of an increasing U.S. population on the U.S. environment as well as on that of the rest of the world. The club has never revealed any attempts it has made to persuade Gelbaum to accept some logic. Instead, it has tried to focus attention on American consumption levels, and minimize the importance of immigration. At the same time, it has concealed its motive in doing so. The U.S. Sierra Club is aware that U.S. population growth in the past 15 years is the highest in its history. The major factor in that growth is legal and illegal immigration. For an environmental organization to agree to say nothing about immigration (in effect, abandoning sustainability in order to continue receiving millions of dollars) is a complete betrayal of its supporters.

Does a similar situation exist in Canada? Although characters like David Gelbaum have not surfaced, Canadian environmental groups remain largely silent about immigration. When the immigration issue arises, these people either intimidate the persons who bring up the topic, try to minimize the impact of immigration, or run to the nearest hiding place.

The recent behaviour of a large Canadian environmental group which warned about the loss of farmland in British Columbia is a case in point. This group should know that almost all of the pressure to take farmland out of the province's Agricultural Land Reserve has originated directly or indirectly from Canada's immigration policy. Like many Canadians, members of this group should know that Canada has the highest immigrant intake per capita in the world. These very high inflows of people have created significant pressure to convert farmland to housing or industrial use ---especially in areas such as Greater Toronto/Southern Ontario, Greater Vancouver/Fraser Valley, and Greater Montreal.

Ontario's Environmental Commissioner spoke eloquently about the inability of Southern Ontario to absorb the population inflows (largely due to immigration) that it has taken. British Columbia's environmental groups have said almost nothing about immigration. The environmental group, which issued an otherwise very good report on the threat to farmland, did not even mention the word "immigration" in its report. Such an action amounts to ignoring basic cause and effect.

It is illogical for this Canadian environmental organization to behave in this way---just as it is illogical for the U.S. Sierra Club to ignore the effect of the inflow of 2 to 3 million people per year, on the U.S. environment. It is even worse for both groups to ignore the cumulative, long-term effect
of high inflows.

Like the Sierra Club, the Canadian organization has to answer one important question: Is it interested in the critical issue of environmental sustainability or is it interested primarily in sustaining itself and the comfortable incomes of its staff? In other words, is an interest in the environment really just a pretence?

Those who contribute to this organization as well as to all other environmental organizations have to ask the same question. Contributors have to look carefully at what these organizations say they are interested in and in what these organizations are actually doing. And if contributors are not satisfied, their contributions should go elsewhere.



(1) The complete Los Angeles Times article on the connection between the U.S. Sierra Club and David Gelbaum is available on the Immigration Watch Canada web site in the "News Articles---American" section. The date is October 27, 2004. The title is "The Man Behind The Land".

(2) A previous weekly bulletin (April 27, 2006) focused on the publication "Forever Farmland" which was published by the David Suzuki Foundation.


Not too long ago I was about to join David Orton’s Left Biocentric discussion group of 40. His requirement was that I pledge my support for the 8 principles of the Deep Ecology platform, and that I submit a statement of my beliefs and a short biography. I replied that Deep Ecology’s principles met with my enthusiastic support and that I would submit a biography. But then I made an impertinent request. I said that if it was important to the group that I met their standards, it was equally important to me that they in turn met my standards. It was important for me to deploy my limited time and energy to the most central issue facing Canada—and the world---over-population. While there was so much in Deep Ecology that resonated with me, I found nothing that pointed directly and shouted loudly at the Elephant in the Room. I simply couldn’t afford to piss away precious time on admittedly fascinating theoretical discussions, which are clearly Orton’s forte. If the Left-Biocentrics wouldn’t commit themselves on this litmus test of green credibility, then I’m gone.
Orton replied that I was “rather arrogant” in making this request. While the Liberal Party, or the Conservative Party, or the NDP or the Greens are only too happy to confess to their outrageous population policy or lack thereof, Orton said that I would have to ask the group individually. Which of course I couldn’t unless I was accepted and I committed my self to them on blind faith. As for himself, if I wanted to know where he stood, then I should go to his website and read his scholarly articles. That was that. All I wanted was a simple yes or no. Is Left Bio-Centric dedicated to a policy of population stabilization for Canada, and all that that implies?
Well, it looks like I finally got my answer. In a recent article called “Reclaiming the Commons” (Spring 2007), Orton states:
“Canadian Greens need to look at the ecological carrying capacity of Canada, considering the habitat needs for all species, as well as humans, before we can form positions on emotion-laden topics like immigration and population. Tim Flannery’s 1994 book The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People, which I highly recommend, does this kind of population capacity study for Australia. He comes up with “an optimum, long-term population target of 6–12 million” (p. 369), meaning that country is already overpopulated. Here in Canada we need to do similar work about what an optimum human population would be and situate immigration discussions within this.”
In other words, Orton comes upon a man bleeding to death on the roadside from a car accident. Instead of simply stopping the bleeding and patching him up, he wants to first hold an inquiry into how much blood volume he has lost and whether he can get up and start moving. We don’t know what Canada’s carrying capacity is yet. We may never know what it may be. Carrying capacity is not a static concept. For example, a study done by Mario Giampietro and David Pimentel placed the maximum US population at 200 million for a sustainable economy—two-thirds its present level. But they didn’t factor in declining fossil fuel production, which author Dale Allen Pfeiffer argues could necessitate the reduction of America’s population to half of its current level. There are so many wild cards---the strip mining of the oceans, toxins in the ecosytems, military and political upheaval. In 1975 the Science Council of Canada determined that our population should not exceed 30 million people. But they were largely focusing on diseconomies of scale, environmental time-bombs of growth were not so much anticipated then.

Orton is only one of a very long line of people to call for a look into establishing an optimum population level for Canada, a carrying capacity. But Ottawa has never listened. John Meyer of Zero Population Growth proposed it in the late seventies but no one listened. Professor Michael Healey of UBC led 23 academics in 1997 on a $2.4 million study into the environmental damage to the Fraser Basin wrought by population growth. Observing similar damage nationally Healey’s report recommended that Ottawa formulate a Population Plan for the country and that provinces comply with it. The report was left to gather dust and now 20% of the Fraser Valley is covered by buildings and 10 species of mammals exclusive to that region face extinction. The Population Institute of Canada followed suit with a presentation to a parliamentary committee in May of 1991 proposing the development of a Population Plan for this country. We still haven’t got one.
Meanwhile 70% of endangered species in Canada inhabit ecoregions under duress from the population growth of urban centres. Farmland continues to disappear at an alarming rate. How many people can our environment sustain indefinitely? What is our carrying capacity? Preliminary evidence, alarming evidence, suggests that we have long exceeded it. Assuming that carrying capacity could indeed be definitively established, until then, until that magical day when policy-makers wake up to the concept, would it not be prudent in the meantime to declare a moratorium on immigration, since two-thirds of all current population growth comes from this source and soon it will be the only driver of growth?
We don’t need to, as Orton suggests, “look at the ecological carrying capacity of Canada…BEFORE we form positions on emotion-laden topics like immigration and population.”…and only “situate immigration discussions within” what some lengthy government study finds to be “an optimum human population.”
We need instead to stop the car crash victim from bleeding NOW based on the manifest evidence of our own two eyes, and worry later about the definitive diagnosis and appropriate protocol.
David Orton is a brilliant intellect with a rare and valuable perspective, which I share substantially. But I fear that he is afflicted with that trademark handicap of great scholars—analysis paralysis. The ability to see the complexities of an issue can prevent one from seeing the urgency of taking quick, immediate and simple remedial action. Additionally, of course, Orton is also a political animal, a one-time Green Party in Nova Scotia. Telling the truth about population issues in Canada and deferring to political correctness at the same time is an impossible task. Too many bridges would be burnt. That’s my take on his hesitancy over immigration reductions.
What is depressing about Orton’s position is this—if even the best mind of the greenest wing of the environmental movement, Deep Ecology, can’t see the urgent need for an immediate freeze on immigration, who on the political landscape will?