Statement of Assumptions, Conclusions, and Goals of Immigration Watch Canada


When launching a new organization, in this case, Immigration Watch Canada, it is vital to set out the assumptions behind such an important initiative. A clear statement of assumptions provides a worldview, reveals motives, leads to conclusions, and suggests objectives. All this provides a foundation from which members can work towards shared goals.

In fact, issues relating to immigration are interconnected with a whole range of subjects such as population, demography, business, economics, ethics, culture, religion, ecology, criminology, and, of course, politics. Politics provides the forum for the resolution of disputes. Since immigration touches on so many issues, it is invariably contentious and so is treated by policy makers with an approach that is reactive, piecemeal, and totally inadequate to meet emerging global pressures.

This haphazard approach to formulating policy for immigration has left Canada particularly vulnerable to many potentially damaging global forces. Immigration Watch Canada seeks to clarify thinking on immigration issues leading to a comprehensive and integrated immigration policy for Canada, a policy that serves the best interests of Canadians.

Key Assumptions:

(1) Population and the Earth

The Earth is finite and the amount of human life that can be carried on Earth is limited by the capacity of the web of life to meet human demands. The rapid expansion of humanity displaces other forms of life and undermines the biodiversity essential for healthy ecosystems.

The human population has reached the equivalent of a plague cycle and is quickly exceeding the long-term carrying capacity of the natural environment. Collapse may be much closer than is generally anticipated. Population has increased from an estimated 5 to 10 million 8,000 years ago to over 6.3 billion in 2003. The average projection for 2050 is 8.9 billion, suggesting that the increase from 2003 to 2050 will be approximately the equivalent of the population of the Earth in 1950. Most political leaders respond to this alarming projection with numb complacency. Yet even in 1950 the human population was sufficiently large to have created serious environmental deterioration, as made very evident in Rachel Carson’s bellwether book, ” Silent Spring ,” published in 1962.

Mass migration is a phenomenon closely associated with the human expansion over the past ten thousand years. It is tied to the instinct of the hunter-gatherer that if food becomes scarce in one region, population migrates to a region of greater abundance. However, in an overcrowded world this does not work. Mass migration merely spreads chaos and misery further afield. This cannot continue indefinitely. Left unchecked, the era of mass migration will inevitably come to an end, when everyone is equally disadvantaged.

(2)Population and Energy

All life on Earth depends upon energy from sunlight. The food chain is built on those green plants that are able to trap solar energy through photosynthesis and make their own food from inorganic compounds in their environments. These green plants are the producers of food on which all other animals depend, directly in the case of herbivores, or indirectly for carnivores. During the billions of years of life on Earth, some microscopic plants that were trapped, crushed and heated in deposits that eventually became sedimentary rock, have been transformed into layers of coal, oil or gas, which is a form of stored solar energy.

The extensive use of fossil fuels has made possible a rapid growth of human population, which has expanded about fivefold since the drilling of the first oil well in Titusville, Pennsylvania in 1859. Fossil fuels provide energy for industrial production, transportation, and mechanized agriculture. They are the sources of many chemicals including pesticides and fertilizers which fueled the “green revolution” of the mid twentieth century.

The storehouse of fossil fuel took millions of years to accumulate and human beings are on track to deplete it within a few centuries. Indeed, many seasoned geologists predict that the peak of global petroleum production will occur by 2015 at the latest. As fossil fuels are depleted, they become increasingly expensive to find and produce, since the most convenient sources are used up first. The crisis for human civilization will come not with the depletion of fossil fuels (for there will always be some left although not enough to meet demand) but with the decline of extraction, since economic growth throughout the twentieth century has been dependent in large part on the growing supply and use of fossil energy.

(3) Population and Fresh Water

Coinciding with the peak in production of conventional oil and gas are the looming shortages of fresh water in most regions especially those with high population growth (de Villiers, 1999). For example, water supplies in the Nile Valley are in peril. As their populations soar, for example Egypt expanding at more than 3% per year, the people of the countries through which the Nile flows, compete for scarce water.. In large areas of northern China, the water table is dropping at the staggering rate of one meter a year. It is sobering to learn of the amount of water required to produce food, with some estimates indicating that it takes more than 1,000 liters of water to produce 1 kilogram of grain and 40,000 liters to produce 1 kilogram of beef. The UN World Water Development Report ( 2003) predicts that, at worst, as many as seven billion people in sixty countries could face serious water scarcity by 2050.

(4) Population Growth and Human Instinct

Like all forms of life, humans have an instinct that favours the continual expansion of their own kind. Consequently, many traditional values and institutions, including western economics, favour the growth of human numbers. Most major religions support population growth by opposing birth control and limits to immigration into prosperous countries. Real estate developers want more people because they require housing and cause real estate prices to rise. Banks like rising real estate prices because it makes their mortgage business more secure. Businessmen support population growth because it means more consumers and drives down wages. Immigration lawyers want more immigrants because it is good for their business. Governments favour an increase in population because it spreads the burden of public debt, and politicians often push for lax immigration laws with the hope of gaining the support of recent immigrants. Meanwhile, Marxists overlook overpopulation and insist on the redistribution of wealth as the global panacea. Consequently, human numbers and demands continue to grow and fuel the deterioration of the web of life on Earth.

(5) Population Growth and Ethics

Inevitable environmental constraints on population growth will require that humanity makes major changes in its ethics. That is, humanity will have to move away from giving the highest priority to meeting human demands at the expense of other life forms, to bringing humanity into greater balance with other species in a way that restores the health of the entire web of life. Current ethics that focus on expanding human numbers irrespective of the environment’s carrying capacity will simply lead to more unemployment, poverty, starvation, and chaos.

(6) Population Growth and Individual Rights

Individual and collective rights must be reconsidered in the light of the health of ecosystems and held in proper balance. With the sum of individual choices threatening all life on Earth, it is time to stress both individual and collective restraint for the common good. This will require a profound rethinking of economics as applied by business as well as politicians. Future sustainable living will come from reducing human numbers, and consequent consumption, to a level that the Earth can support over the long term, and not from increasing the overall size of the economy on a finite planet.

(7) Population Growth and Economics

The economic activity of humankind must be linked directly to the long-term carrying capacity of the web of life, and not to the current concept of economic production which does not include the full cost to the environment.

Economics is a theoretical field of study that excludes any value judgments of how people should behave, but rather shows how they must act to meet ends agreed upon at reasonable cost. Like all conceptual systems, it is subject to abuse with the most flagrant example, as mentioned above, being the exclusion or understating of the environmental costs of production. As applied in the political sphere, economics has been interpreted as a system that requires continual growth. However, in a finite planet, continual growth becomes an absurdity. Politicians have made the choice that production must grow faster than population to provide jobs and increase the wealth of citizens. Indeed, this approach has contributed to political success throughout the ages, but times have changed. Now we see all around us how the web of life deteriorates rapidly while politicians continue to downplay or even overlook environmental constraints.

(8) Heeding the Warnings of Scientists

In recent decades, scientists have gained a deeper understanding of the relationship between humanity and the rest of life, and have delivered warnings that human expansion is causing an eradication of species at a rate that could exceed in scale the other two major extinctions during the history of life on Earth. These prior catastrophes were precipitated by climatic change caused by the coming together of continents into one large land mass and by the collision of the Earth with a large asteroid. Political leaders have given some token responses to the new knowledge provided to them by scientists, but a much more fundamental shift is required by humanity if collapse and chaos are to be avoided.

The Government of Canada has responded in an uncoordinated way to the widespread environmental crisis and fails to make the connection between population growth and environmental decline. This leads to absurd situations. For example, Canada has signed the Kyoto agreement to limit greenhouse gases, but simultaneously fosters immigration policies that increase the population of Canada by one percent a year. Therefore, the lack of integration in Canadian public policies makes Canada’s fulfillment of the conditions of the Kyoto Agreement much more difficult if not impossible.

(9) Ratio of Population to Natural Resources: The Fundamental Basis of Human Well-being

A low ratio of human numbers to natural resources is the best guarantor of human rights and sustainable well-being within a healthy web of life. Citing examples such as Singapore or Hong Kong, some will argue that human resources are the source of wealth. However, this overlooks the fact that these urban centres/nations have managed to translate a short-term competitive advantage in production into an ability to purchase natural resources from another part of the world whose people will be deprived of the use of these natural resources in the future. Such centres have a substantial negative environmental impact.

The key issue that must be addressed is the destructive effect of the current huge and growing global population on the web of life. However, any efforts to achieve consensus on appropriate steps to begin to resolve this serious predicament are undermined by those who continue to favour population growth.

(10) Canada and Population

Relative to most other countries, we in Canada have a favorable ratio of natural resources to population but rapidly changing circumstances could undermine this situation.

The population of Canada is increasing about 1% a year and may already have exceeded its sustainable long-term carrying capacity. Since Confederation, the Canadian population has grown very quickly. It rose from 3,463,000 in 1867 to 11,654,000 in 1942, to 20,378,000 in 1967, and to 31,000,000 in 2001. Statistics Canada estimates that the population should reach about 36,000,000 in 2025. However, with the expected surge of environmental disasters and the concomitant rise in the number of environmental and economic refugees and the growth of human smuggling, the population may be much higher within a generation or two. This represents a potential onslaught of which the Government of Canada is aware, but for which it appears to be either very ill-prepared or unwilling to act.

Canada’s current policies governing immigration make little sense from an environmental perspective. In the mid 1980s, Canada began to take in a high number of immigrants with an annual target of about 250,000 people a year regardless of the economic, social or environmental conditions of the country.

The population of Canada will continue to grow by natural increase without immigration for the next twenty years despite suggestions by the pro-immigration lobby that Canada faces an imminent decline of population unless high levels of immigration are maintained. However, in the years ahead, an increasing proportion of population growth in Canada will come from immigration if current policies persist.

(11) Population Growth and Canadian Mythology

Many Canadians fail to understand that Canada may have a problem with overpopulation since the idea that Canada is a vast empty land ripe for massive human settlement has become part of Canadian mythology. Recent insights from the science of ecology suggest that Canadians are inclined to greatly over-estimate the carrying capacity of their country. This is supported by hard evidence of the collapse of the cod fisheries, the crisis of the salmon fisheries, the Walkerton water fiasco, national parks under siege, and the ever-lengthening list of endangered species. The reality is that much of Canada, like Antarctica, is barren and incapable of supporting large numbers of people.

(12)Canada and Energy

Canada is a country that depends on a very high level of consumption of energy per capita because of its size and climate. The average Canadian consumes 30 to 50 times as much as a person in one of the poorer countries. Consequently, transplanting population from low consuming regions to high-consuming ones merely accelerates the deterioration of the planet. For almost two decades, Canada has accepted about 250,000 people a year as immigrants and refugees or as illegal economic migrants, with about half of them coming from very poor regions. Given the high per capita consumption of energy in Canada, the impact of current levels of immigration on global warming is the annual equivalent of adding 5 to 8 million extra people to a poor country.

Canada will not be immune from the effect of the imminent decline in the global production of fossil fuels. The production of conventional oil, excluding oil from oil sands and biomass, is expected to peak in Canada in 2006. The much touted Canadian oil sands require the use of two barrels of energy to recover three, and need large quantities of water to process the oil sands. This leaves considerable pollution and degradation and so is not a long-term solution.

Rising fuel prices will change the distribution of food products, keeping in mind that in North America, food travels on average about 2000 kilometers from source to dinner plate. In a few years, it may become too expensive to bring food from California, Florida or Argentina to Canadian markets. Canada will be forced to grow and process more of its own food, but in the past fifty years, much of the best farmland in the country has been paved over by urban expansion to accommodate the rapid growth of population, substantially driven by immigration. We can expect extreme hardship to become more commonplace in Canada.

(13) Canadian Population Growth and Deteriorating Infrastructure

Rapid population growth in Canada comes at a time of curtailed governmental expenditures in a harsher, more competitive, global economy. As a result, massive immigration has overburdened existing infrastructure, such as the health care system, highways, and schools and universities. The public health care system may simply collapse within a few years contrary to the wishes of most Canadians.

(14) Key Factors Increasing both Legal and Illegal Migration to Canada

Almost all of the rapid global population growth is occurring in the poorest regions of the Earth . This is causing a string of environmental disasters that will set in motion hordes of starving and desperate people moving towards the more orderly regions of the globe. Modern telecommunications have made evident the huge disparity in living conditions between rich and poor countries, and many of the desperately poor are willing to do almost anything to enter the wealthier nations.

Canadian immigration and refugee laws are not very effective in restricting the numbers that enter the country and reflect the idealism of the mid twentieth century when travel was much more expensive and difficult than now. Modern telecommunications have made global migrants much better informed about the social services offered by the various wealthier countries, and about laws governing immigration and refugees and how to circumvent them. Meanwhile, jet airplanes and the growth in international travel generally make it relatively easy to reach the desired destination.

Many Canadian politicians cater to various communities of recent immigrants by lobbying to relax Canadian immigration and refugee laws. Immigration lawyers from each community draw their clients from their respective countries of origin. The more people immigration lawyers bring in, both legally and illegally, the larger their incomes. Most of the costs are borne by the public in the form of legal aid and welfare payments.

Many Canadians are deluded by the myth of Canada being a country with almost inexhaustible natural resources into believing that Canada can be a haven to the starving masses of the world. This is a national conceit and misplaced grandiosity. Canada’s resources are not inexhaustible. The reality is that the global population is increasing by about 80 million people a year, and almost all of this growth, as noted earlier, is occurring in the poorer regions of the world. The increase of global population in just one year, if transferred to Canada, would overpopulate the country immediately. The result would lower the ratio of natural resources per capita and substantially increase poverty in this country.

As an analogy, the doctor does not cure the patient by becoming infected with the patient’s disease. In a similar way, a prosperous country will not cure the problem of overpopulated nations by taking their surplus people. The problem of overpopulation must be resolved at source. Those countries with very high fertility rates must accept the responsibility for the consequences of their political and social policies. In an overcrowded world, mass migration is no longer an option. More prosperous countries should assist those countries with high fertility to bring high fertility down to below replacement levels using advanced methods of contraception and appropriate social and economic policies.

International business has stressed the inevitable trend towards globalization and the need for the free movement of goods, capital, and people. Corporations, considered as legal individuals in law, move quickly from place to place as suits their interests, and they want access to resources wherever they can find them. Naturally, corporate leaders support the same free movement of individual people as they want for themselves and their staff. In Canada, business favours population growth to add more consumers and create a larger workforce, thereby depressing wages. The globalization of business and international migration are forces that accelerate entropy and the deterioration of the web of life on Earth.

International crime has been quick to engage in smuggling people into wealthier countries. Canada, with its ineffectual policies and inadequately funded administration relating to immigration, is an increasingly favoured target with the added benefit that its long undefended border offers plenty of opportunities for criminals and their clients to enter the United States.

Major religions, in effect the earliest multi-national institutions, favour open international migration. For example, the Roman Catholic Church maintains that each individual has the right to choose freely where they will live anywhere in the world. In countries where the Church is losing support, they are keen to replenish their members by importing people from poor countries where the population is more devout and more inclined to have a high birth rate. Thus we see the opposition of the Church to effective contraception.

Humanitarian organizations and the United Nations urge prosperous nations to take in growing numbers of global refugees but undertake few effective measures to curb population growth in the source nations. Consistent with our self-image, Canadians, like to support humanitarian efforts. Many humanitarians in Canada are also strong proponents of a sound healthy natural environment, but do not see the contradiction between these two important causes. Humanitarianism focuses on individual rights and the short-term, while environmentalism stresses the importance of the long term and collective restraint.

Proponents of globalization, for a variety of motives, challenge the authority of the nation state to deal with global problems. It has become fashionable to say that one country cannot address overpopulation because it is a global issue. This attitude seems to contradict the maxim set out in the Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development (1987) urging people “to think globally and act locally.” The fact is the nation states are the most effective large administration units on the planet, and overpopulation cannot be resolved without their support. If countries with stable or falling populations refused to take in people from countries with irresponsible population growth and also denied them aid unless they agreed to take tough measure to curb their runaway populations, then these nations would soon adapt.

Those who advocate population stablization and reduction and more stringent limits on international migration are often unfairly called racist. These abusive ad hominem attacks hinder rational debate and deter many public officials from supporting more effective immigration and refugee policies for Canada. Consequently, we are left with a porous system readily exploitable by many special interests, and contrary to the general public good of the country.


(1) Canada needs to develop a population policy that looks at human numbers in the context of the natural environment that supports them. To date, no Canadian government has ever adopted a population policy or even acknowledged domestic population as an issue. One could say that the issue has been “addressed” piecemeal by policies on immigration, human rights, refugees, child credits, abortion, perhaps even euthanasia and assisted suicide. In general, governmental policies favour an increase in population.

(2) Immigration to Canada should be sharply curtailed pending a comprehensive study of Canada’s long-term sustainable carrying capacity.

(3) Canada must become much more assertive internationally by pressing for the reduction of global population using all humane forms of contraception. Canadian foreign aid should be conditional on recipient nations adopting population policies that will lead to a swift reduction of the fertility rate.

(Goals of Immigration Watch Canada)