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Questions About Haiti's Earthquake That The Media Never Asks


As the first anniversary of Haiti's devastating earthquake approaches, the questions that I asked then (below) remain unasked and unanswered by the Canadian media today. Apparently, as Garrett Hardin famously observed, no one ever dies from over-population. And no one ever dies from Canada's criminally irresponsible foreign aid and immigration policies, which are serving as birth stimulants to those nations--- like Haiti---which are given little incentive to address the root cause of their misery.

Why is Haiti's population explosion not identified as a key to their misery?

The CBC said that perhaps as many as 100,000 people died from the earthquake in Haiti. An earthquake of 7 on the Richter scale would cause casualties anywhere in the world. But how many deaths came because of shoddily constructed structures hastily built to accommodate a population that doubles every generation? Many were made of cinder blocks. The fact is, Haiti is too poor to adhere to safe building codes. But what causes their poverty? Overpopulation is surely a major factor. Rapid population growth overburdens already stretched financial and natural resources, impeding any ability to raise income and reduce food shortages. Some 25% of Haiti's population can't afford the caloric minimum of 2,240 calories recommended by the World Health Organization and 42% of Haiti's children under five are stunted in growth. With so many underfed and malnourished, it cannot be surprising that schools, hospitals and even the best homes cannot be constructed to a standard that will cope with earthquakes of this duration and magnitude. There is not so much a food shortage as a people 'longage'. The country's population grew by 36% in the two decades after 1982 to become the most densely populated nation in the Western Hemisphere, with an urban growth rate today of 3.4% that will, at that pace, double the size of Haiti cities most hard hit by this latest disaster. But alas, as the saying goes, nobody ever died from overpopulation. Yet overpopulation is the greatest emergency going, one which never excites media attention or public concern. Haiti's population of 8.5 million is projected to leap to 13 million by 2050, or 53%. But will the CBC or its commercial rivals mention that? Will they stress that Haitian women still give birth to an average of four children each because they have little access to contraceptive supplies? Or that the Catholic Church is a key blockade to that access? Not in your life. Government and non-government agencies will fall over themselves to rush to the scene, and anti-poverty Christian aid organizations like World Vision will re-double their efforts to provide medical care, food, clean water and nutrition. But they will do nothing to arrest an explosive process which consumes vital resources and diminishes the per capita wealth of each Haitian.

2. Is unconditional foreign aid and open-door immigration to Canada the best way to help Haiti?

Two years ago Stephen Harper handed over $300 million aid to the Haitian government in a photo op at Port au Prince. Not one penny went for birth control. Haitians see Canada's open door immigration policy as a chance to hit the jackpot by having a child become a Canadian citizen. This citizen can then sponsor relatives, and in the meantime send remittance money. No wonder almost one Haitian in a thousand emigrates. It is not surprising then, that two studies have linked high birth rates in poor countries or regions to the open immigration policies of destination countries (A.W Brittain, Social Biology 38 (1-2): 94-112, 1991 and D. Friedlander, Demography 20: 249-272, 1983). Open borders and global overpopulation go together like cigarettes and booze.

If we are determined to "help" Haiti, is this the best way to help them? Sending aid which in effect acts as a birth incentive? Then compounding that incentive by allowing the Haitian government and the Church to use us an escape hatch for their surplus population? How many Haitian tax cab drivers does Montreal need, anyway? How many Haitian votes does the Liberal Party need? Liberal leader Michael Ignatief is now calling for issuing more visas to Haitians, fast tracking the family reunification process---and are you ready--- ending deportations. Dishonesty pays if you wait for a disaster. Why doesn't the CBC raise these issues?

3. How does Haitian immigration help Canada?

It is interesting that CBC and Ottawa's political class love to trumpet the appointment of a Haitian Governor General or a Vietnamese refugee to lead Canada's Catholic church as example of how wonderfully "tolerant" we are. How long will we perpetuate this self-image of Canada as a land of opportunity, a place that needs buckets of newcomers to inject a vitality and drive that native born Canadians allegedly don't have? Isn't this immigrant-makes-good mythology wearing a little thin in 2010? The family farm is dead. Killed by agribusiness and the development and subdivision of prime farmland by immigration-driven population growth. We don't need waves of immigrants to homestead anymore. Our secondary industry is dead. Killed by trade agreements and globalization. The smokestack era is over. We don't need more people from any source to "build" the country, to create a reserve army of cheap surplus labour to drive down wages and displace jobs.

Canada is already over-built. Our best arable land is under threat from development, with nearly 20% of our Class 1 farmland already lost. Ontario, which has been lost 600,000 acres of prime farmland in the decade preceding 2006, is slated to add another 6 million people to the Golden Horseshoe in two more decades. Dr. Michael Healy also warned, in a federally-commissioned study of the Fraser Eco-Basin, that Metro-Vancouver and the Fraser Valley was already overpopulated in 1997 by factor of three, and that immigration-fuelled urban growth in other major Canadian localities would wreak the same havoc if not unchecked. He cited immigration as a major force in that growth, and not bad land-use planning, which is under the control of developer-controlled town councils.

So why do we celebrate immigrant success stories? Why does CBC icon Peter Mansbridge presume to speak for all Canadians when he declares that the appointment of Father Vincent Nguyen as the new Roman Catholic bishop is a story that "will lift our hearts.?" We need new folklore. The old formula is not appropriate to our present predicament. We need stories about Canadians who got the job done, not more CBC portraits of immigrants who turned their lives around by turning ours upside down. I wonder if there is a program on Saudi Arabian or Libyan TV entitled "Little Church on the Desert"? I wonder if Haitians would celebrate the appointment of a guy called Smith from Saskatoon as their new head of state? Or if they would import educated Canadians to drive their taxis and then have a pity party about how their credentials aren't recognized? I rather doubt that they would be that stupid.

I for one am sick of CBC puppeteers pulling our heartstrings while neglecting the hardships suffered by people right here. I am sick of their deification of the immigrant and their denigration of the Canadian-born. I am sick of the kind of journalism that focuses on the struggles of a downtrodden illegal refugee to put food on the table at the expense of Canada's working poor who are squeezed out by this competition. I am sick of a taxpayer-funded corporation that consistently reports the frustration of a foreign born engineer in not finding employment in his field when Canadian engineering graduates, burdened by a mountain of student debt, must rely on minimum wage jobs or the patronage of parents to see them through. In short, I am sick of PC bias. I am sick to death of the CBC. (Canadian Bleeding-heart Crap). By all means let’s help Haiti, but let’s do it right this time.

Tim Murray

January 14, 2010

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Comments

Tim,

Did you ever read these other articles on candobetter.net about Haiti's history? Are you aware that Haiti originally had a sustainable population and economy, until the arrival of the Spanish and the introduction of slaves, and that much land and manufactures were recently internationally corporatised, so that, mostly, the only thing left for Haitians is to work for crummy wages - and that the Catholic church actively works against contraceptive provision, which in any case the Haitians are too poor to afford? Here are the URLs and teasers:

How did beautiful, rich, sustainable Haiti become Poor Haiti?
Posted January 14th, 2010 by Sheila Newman

How the tragic situation of Haiti's overpopulation and poverty came about? There were not always 9m hungry people there. When this once rich and beautiful island was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492, it was inhabited by a population of about 100,000 Amerindians, living in a steady state economy. The Amerindians refused to mine gold for the Spanish, so the Spanish imported many thousands of slaves from Africa. The French took the whole island over in 1697 and it remained their most lucrative possession until 1825, despite the inhabitants claiming independence and freedom from slavery under the French Revolution of 1789. At that time there were few Amerindians but about 400,000 African slaves and 100,000 colonists. Added on 17 Jan 2010. Slavery is ongoing in Haiti.

Catholic blog fights contraceptive aid to Haiti
Posted January 21st, 2010 by Sheila Newman

A blogsite called "Catholic Dialogue" sounds so extreme in its condemnation of feminism, contraception and women's choice that you wonder if it's actually a joke. The blogsite warns people not to donate to Caritas Haiti because they support condoms, the celebration of Women's International Day and present a 'negative image of the Catholic Church'!

Please DO therefore consider donating to Caritas Haiti. And thanks, Catholic Dialogue, for telling us about them. They have survived the earthquake. Personally I think they are improving the image of Catholicism.

Haiti: There's no such thing as a curse
Posted January 22nd, 2010 by Sheila Newman

A French writer, Louis Préfontaine, talks about the roles of the United States, Canada and France in propping up dictatorships, and of the United State's particular role in divesting Haitians of land and public institutions. See also "The U.S. Role in Haiti’s Food Riots: 30 Years Ago Haiti Grew All the Rice It Needed. What Happened?"

Sheila Newman, population sociologist
home page

"The Amerindians refused to mine gold for the Spanish, so the Spanish imported many thousands of slaves from Africa."
No doubt it was because, as we hear people say now of imported workers...."Because they do work that our people won't do". But alas, overtime, the slaves too went native, and refused to work for, well, slave wages. Sounds familiar doesn't it. It should. That is what immigration is all about. Displacing indigenous people with those who will do the work on the cheap. And soon the native-born find themselves marginalized.

What happened to Haiti is happening to us, correction, has happened to us. Foreign companies (agribusiness), have depopulated rural Canada and sent the sons and daughters of farmers to the cities to compete with a foreign-born slave labour class. Sounds hyperbolic but that is what 80% of our immigrants are. Working for $13/hour in Canadian cities where you need to make $20/hour just to keep your head above water. Our minimum-wage servants were not brought here by slave ships, but dispossessed by liberal trade agreements and corporate expansion. Did this not also happen to the Roman Republic? Expansion and conquest flooded the cities and farms with slave labour, and the once proud farming class was forced into the urban feed lot? And tell me, was that not the case in Britain at the onset of the Industrial Revolution? The enclosure movement created the cheap labour needed to slave in factories for 12 hour days and pittance? And didn't the African slave trade provide the capital for investment in this nascent British "take-off", as Rostow called it? I read EP Thompson and Christopher Mayhew but you studied this era in depth.

Overpopulation alone is not the key to everything-----but the fact that it is completely ignored justifies my emphasis on it I think.

Most aid is dispensed, not for the benefit of recipients, but for the benefit of those who give it. The aid agencies, the governments and the dupes who want to feel good by mindlessly donating to a "good" charity without doing their own research. You state, "Sending a few dollars to Haiti is good... No-one is against charity". I say it is bad and that I for one am against charity without conditions attached. It has been argued on candobetter that "relief" must be treated differently than "aid". But the problem is that the condition in countries like these are a constant emergency. Famines, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis---the traumas are never ending. As you point out, societies cannot be built on charity. Nor can they be built without governments and people taking responsibility. In my experience, I have done the most harm to people by trying to help them out or "fix" them. By trying to rescue people from the consequences of their folly so they that they never learn to change, nor have the ambition to change. Why should they? Why should Haiti, Zimbabwe, or the Philippines clean up their act when good old Canada can be relied to throw money at them. Borrowed money, I might add.

What ever made Haitians poor, foreign aid without birth contol will not lift them out of poverty----as you know. My article is about Canada and Haiti, a special relationship. Haiti is our Mexico. And Mexico, as you also know, has had its farming class destroyed by the NAFTA agreement. I am not one of those North American anti-immigrationists who ignore push factors or our complicity in them. Landless people get very poor, but foreign aid and open immigration will not cure it, it will exacerbate it. The historical reasons for poverty are interesting, but the question is, what can be done about it now?

The world environment continues to be besieged by human activity. The tragic earthquake and floods of Haiti were compounded by deforestation and overpopulation, making both the poorer and mother nature the biggest losers of 2010.

Overpopulation is one of the prime reasons for poverty.

Banning condom use almost doubles the birth rate of a country. The use of condoms as a part of sexual practice must be permitted. Improving the lives of women has a positive effect on the health care, education and the economic development of their countries.

Anticipating a global population of 9.1 billion people by 2050, the UN has warned that international food production must rise by 70 per cent to meet the growing demand. The true problem of the world is: OVERPOPULATION. Technology will not and will never save us.

The threat of overpopulation is ignored due to PC, and human arrogance.

(Emphasis added by Politically inCorrect editor.)

The people who think that we can have limitless population growth are living in denial. They should go to Haiti and see the devastation and poverty and misery of overpopulation. According to the Australian Academy of Science's advice, "If our population reaches the high end of the feasible range (37 million), the quality of life of all Australians will be lowered by the degradation of water, soil, energy and biological resources. Cities such as Sydney and Melbourne will double or triple in size, multiplying their current infrastructure problems and their impact on the surrounding regions of the continent. " Is this what our greedy generation wants - maximum population?

BTW, news has it that Haiti's fertility rate has tripled since the earhquake. Good work Canada! Your foreign aid has paid off again!

since last year CIC website is help after bringing more Haiti's national in Canada I understand distaer happened in Haiti is not good for anyone but what about Chili and Japan they both are suffering from same situitation why CIC loves Haiti so much?
Its unfair immigration Policy because some politician belongs to Haiti. It feels like Canadian politics is also corrupts.