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Handcuffed By Political Correctness---Why the root cause of urban growth is seldom discussed

It is not enough to whine about urban sprawl or challenge densification. People must acknowledge the root cause of urban growth and address it. They must call for the reduction of immigration.

Not the whole truth

A question was recently put. “When will Eben Fodor, (author of the brilliant handbook for anti-local growth activists, “Bigger Not Better”), step outside of his comfort zone to say that mass immigration must stop?”

Answer: Never. He is a nice guy who has done valuable work in exposing the myths and fallacies shopped by local growth-boosters. But when asked about the role of immigration in civic growth in Vancouver years ago, he wouldn't touch it. He is not alone. In fact, few of us will----for good reason.

Urban sprawl and its cause

Time and time again I meet tourists who are upset at urban growth. They come from Vancouver, or Ottawa, or Calgary or cities across North America. They tell me how much their city has changed. How it once was a nice place to live but no longer. How growth took off and swept over the region, making greenbelts vanish and affordable housing a memory. They complain that there are just too many people there now. But they will not connect the dots. They will not follow through and trace the source of this growth. Instead, they take refuge in familiar refrains. “We must save the farmland”. “We must make housing affordable to young people”. “We must rezone our neighbourhoods to accommodate smaller low cost housing”. “We must stop sprawl.”

Sounds good, but being against "sprawl" is a motherhood issue. Push that agenda and the greens will hijack it. Their cure? Land-use planning, aka “smart growth”. Let’s “grow up” rather than “out”. We need higher density, they say. But if population growth persists, then what? Stack’em even higher? And by the way, how have urban growth boundaries stood up against the pent-up pressures of population growth? Even Portland, Oregon---the poster child of smart growth, succumbed---as did Los Angeles.

Inconvenient questions

Other inconvenient questions arise: Who controls local land-use decisions? Local governments? How much influence do developers have on them? I think the answer is obvious. And if you need a good case history read Professor Robert McDermid’s paper “Funding City Politics” about the role that developer money had in influencing the city councils of Metro Toronto. As McDermid concluded, even small campaign donations influence voting behaviour.

What people need to ‘get’ is that population growth drives half of sprawl, and that 75% of population growth is driven by immigration. Making that connection is vital to solving the problem.

Book proposal

That is why I would like to put together a book consisting of letters to the editor written by urbanites in Canada and Australia ( and the US if I can find them) complaining about the growth of their cities. LTEs are good for two reasons.
1. Due to word limits, letter writers pack a lot of punch into them. They tend to be potent and concise.
2. Readers are attracted to text that is broken down into ‘bitable bits’. A book consisting of a series of 350 word "letters" can be absorbed in short bursts.
The book is almost all written, because I have been saving an archive of LTEs from Canadians across the country. What I need to do is write an introduction---and a conclusion. That conclusion MUST draw the connection between urban growth and immigration. The problem is, there has never been a study done about Canadian cities equivalent to what Leon Kolankiewicz and Roy Beck wrote a decade ago when they examined 100 US cities and found that on average, half of sprawl was driven by population growth, not bad planning.

rural depopulation and urban overpopulation

One thing Canadians need to learn is that while Canada has had the fastest population growth rate in the G8 for the last decade (.9% per annum), our real growth rate rivals or surpasses Australia's. Why? Because underneath that national population growth rate is the fact that we have experienced massive rural de-population. So in fact, urban Canada, where 80% of Canadians actually live, have had population growth rates double the national rate. Ottawa, for example, has been growing at 1.9% per year. Calgary's growth rate has also been insane. Ditto Vancouver and Edmonton. Toronto's Mayor –Rob Ford---was elected with the comment that Toronto was too big and that no more immigrants were needed (immigrants voted him in! ).

Immigration, immigrants and numbers

There is one problem. Most of the immigrants who have made these cities their homes happen to have dark skin. 90% of immigrants to Canada are drawn from the southern hemisphere, Central America and the Caribbean.

That fact means that we are prevented from raising the issue--unless we want to get quickly branded as racists and nativists. One can bet the farm that whenever growth is challenged, the growth lobby will play the race card. Mass immigration from “non-traditional” sources has changed the face of urban Canada, almost overnight. The number of Somalis in Ottawa and Edmonton is mind boggling. As are the Muslims in St. John's and the Chinese in Charlottetown (now 10%). What has happened to Perth in Western Australia has happened to Canada’s major cities. So if we try to attack the root cause of urban growth, we must go to war against that great god "Diversity". We may be bursting at the seams, our infrastructure may be crumbling, our housing costs prohibitive, but by God we are diverse! As if ‘diversity’ in an over-laden lifeboat is recompense for the very real prospect of capsizing in the Perfect Storm of peak oil, financial collapse and ecological meltdown.

Diverse ironies contained in 'diversity'

The irony is, this quest for cultural diversity has come at the cost of biological diversity, as wildlife habitat and farmland on the perimeter of our growing cities have fallen under the bulldozer. Intellectual diversity is another casualty of cultural diversity as well. Ideas that would challenge the rationale for mass immigration threaten profits and cultural sensitivities, and therefore fall outside the range of socially acceptable discussion. The growth lobby has employed an effective strategy. Much as a fleeing bank robber would grab an innocent bystander as a shield against police gun fire, growthists use multiculturalism as a shield against criticism of Ponzi demography. We can’t attack growth without attacking diversity. We’re handcuffed by political correctness.

Nevertheless, we must brave ad hominen attacks and get the truth about local growth out . People must know why there cities are becoming more unliveable. They must come to understand that Al Bartlett was right, that we cannot stabilize local growth without stabilizing regional growth. And we can’t do that if national growth continues to rage on.

So here are the dominos of urban growth:

Mass immigration > Population Growth plus bad planning> higher density and sprawl

The Hobsonian choice of higher density or sprawl is a false antithesis. As we are discovering, with unrelenting population growth, we are getting both. We must address the root cause. We must reduce population growth. We must reduce immigration.

Tim Murray
July 12, 2012


Australia's White-Australian Policy (1901 Immigration Restriction Act) existed in the latter part of the 20th century for 70 years. It favoured immigrants from certain countries over others. Migrants were mainly from the UK, or Europe. It lasted for 70 years and took 25 years to dismantle.

It has condemned now as part of our shameful past. While we are "proudly" multicultural - however dubiously it actually works - few of us know the real benefits.

The White Australia policy failed through being draconian and pro-actively discriminatory. White miners' resentment towards industrious Chinese diggers culminated in violence in Victoria, and some areas in New South Wales. It was the turn of hard-working indentured labourers from the South Sea Islands of the Pacific (known as 'Kanakas') in northern Queensland. Factory workers in the south became vehemently opposed to all forms of immigration which might threaten their jobs. Some influential Queenslanders felt that the colony would be excluded from the forthcoming Federation if the 'Kanaka' trade did not cease. Leading NSW and Victorian politicians warned there would be no place for 'Asiatics' or 'coloureds' in the Australia of the future.

For whatever the downfalls of the White Australia policy, it did give us 70 years of a foundation to form a cohesive society, an infant nation with common culture and ideals. It combined people will the same language and similar traditions, some shared Motherland history, and shared values. Australia was to be a nation founded on democratic participation; it therefore needed to attract residents capable of exercising political freedoms and, more generally, assimilating to the cultural mores of a British dominion.
Post war immigration gave us diversity and economic growth.

It was not so much the White Australia Policy that decided immigration policies, but more the wholesale discrimination against the Aborigine people that is more shameful.

Cultural diversity is stimulating and broadening. However, once "diversity" becomes mainstream rather than the minority, it's overwhelming and the result of mass immigration - something that is continually increasing. We lose our identity as a nation.

Now the support of Multiculturalism is about promoting high immigration. It's based on "white guilt" that forces mainstream Australians to feel some "guilt" about our past and thus we must continually make amends - even to our detriment with an overloaded and fragmented Australia. It ignores the volume of immigration - now largely from India and China. Any "anti-immigration" or questioning of "big Australia" labels us as "racist"!

Editor: The title of the comment was originally, "Some benefits of the White Australia policy." We changed it in order to avoid providing anti-democratic pro-high immigration ideologues an instant opportunity to seize upon such a heading to label the website and contributors as 'racist' and polarise discussion. We would rather this piece were read on its merits rather than for any shock value the original title may have had. For more on the subject of the White Australia Policy see also, on, Sheila Newman's "Overpopulation, immigration, multiculturalism and the White Australia policy."

Subject was: For those unable to see the wood from the trees. Originaly published:10:19 +1000, 14 July 2012

White Australia must not be regarded as a mere political shibboleth. It was Australia's Magna Carta. Without that policy, this country would have been lost long ere this. It would have been engulfed in an Asian tidal wave. There would have been no need for the Japanese to invade this country. We would have been swallowed up by the rolling advance of a horde of colored people, anxious to escape the privations of their own countries and prepared to impose their own standards on this country.

It is necessary only to examine the racial composition of present-day Fiji, where the Hindus have elbowed the natives out of the picture, to visualise what could have happened in this country had the White Australia policy not been fought for doggedly at the end of the l9th Century. We were then fighting for our national survival. Had we weakened, the flood gates would have opened and the natural increase of population according to Asian standards would have done the rest. It would then have been too late. This country would have become a pushover for the Asiatics.

The first Federal Platform for the Labor Party, adopted at an Interstate Conference held in Sydney on January 24, 1900, was a model of brevity. It was the platform on which the party fought its first Federal election in the following year. There were only three planks. They were (1) Electoral Reform, providing for one adult one vote. (2) Total Exclusion of colored and other undesirable races, and (3) Old Age Pensions.

The Conference also agreed that the Constitution should contain machinery for the Initiative and Referendum to alter the constitution, and that instead of double dissolutions there should be a National Referendum to settle deadlocks between the two Houses.

But it was the question of White Australia that knit the first Federal Labor Party together. In 1908 when the party decided to draft a much more elaborate platform, the first plank agreed upon was "Maintenance of White Australia." It headed the list.

The White Australia Policy did not have its origin in any idea of racial superiority, or color prejudice. From the start it was a simple bread-and-butter issue. Australian workers were trying to defend their own living standards. They were trying to save their jobs

So the Australian Labor Party was actually brought together with White Australia as its primary objective. Later the word-spinners put it much more elegantly as "The cultivation of an Australian sentiment, based on the maintenance of racial purity."

That was not, however, the real reason for the development of the White Australia policy. It did not have its origin in any idea of racial superiority, or color prejudice. From the start it was a simple bread-and-butter issue. Australian workers were trying to defend their own living standards. They were trying to save their jobs. They knew that unrestricted immigration of colored races would mean the introduction of a kind of industrial Gresham's Law - the bad wages would put the fair wage out of circulation. The white Australian worker would soon be reduced to coolie levels. Having got rid of convict labor, they did not want to be reduced to the rice bowl. Yet that was the threat that was actually hovering over the people of this country.

Anybody who is against the White Australia Policy is against the Australian Nation.

From I Remember, 1956. by Jack Lang -The People's Champion

Editorial comment: A strident international critic of Australia's supposed racism was Japan, a country whose international record since then includes vast imperial wars of conquest, mass slave labor, forced prostitution and mass genocidal slaughter, most notably Chinese. Within Japan, Chinese, Koreans, Ryukyuans, Buraumin, indigenous Ainu and other races have faced systematic discrimination and prejudice for centuries. In comparison, the allegedly unjust treatment of foreigners of non-European origin is trivial in comparison. The only aspect of Australian history that could be considered in any way comparable to Japan's record is the dispossession of Australian Aboriginals by European settlers. Nonetheless, in the early 21st century, imposed mass immigration threatens to dispossess all native Australians, indigenous and non-indigenous alike.

Pre-Chifley, Australia not without its shortcomings, was a foundational social phase of a cohesive nation state.
Australian pioneers and the harsh wide landscape shaped our nation from the bush into the cities. They forged their own wealth and built our nation.
It was an era of Australian values - not all perfect, some down right primitive, but compared with most other societies - bloody decent.

So everyone then wanted to come to the 'lucky country' that we had built.

But too much of anything destroys harmony, and so it was the Labor Party's Chifley's leftist massive post-War immigration dogma that started our undoing from the late 1940s. Then from the 1970s, Labor under Whitlam's leftist dogma pronounced an open border policy and imposed politically-correct naivety upon Australians by personally accelerating his incompatible Asian multiculturalism to compound the dismantling of our nation state. Then from 2007 the Labor Party under Rudd's 'Big Australia' leftist dogma ramped up even more incompatible Arab and African immigration. "If your different from us, you're welcome". Labor's Melting Pot Theory.

None of these Labor leftist social dogmas were decided by the Australian people - Labor immigration invasion has each time been an unwanted imposition on the local populous.

Now the population dominant is the new waves of immigrants, through their sheer arrival numbers year on year. Immigrants from all corners of the globe, beholden to grotesquely incompatible value systems, are here and trying to reshape Australian society, from the cities outward. Traditional Australia is being marginalised into a minority. And so we have seen the National Party representing the bush desintegrate. We have seen traditional Labor chase popularity and in doing so become an increasingly Foreign Labor Party.

It is like the British pushing aside the Aborigines up until the 1970s - now the new immigrants are doing it all over again to those that were here first.

The latest incarnate of leftist dogma under 'Flood-Gate' Hanson-Young, is seeing Australia succumbing not as a melting pot but as a welfare refugee camp for the Third World seeking the good life. What will Australian values become - commune-based Sharia Law? We are edging towards a No Australia Policy.

John Marlowe

Tim says "..we must brave ad hominem attacks.." Yes- if we cannot do this , we have lost. Most of us can feel OK if we lose an argument and may even be happy to learn something, but an attack on our moral fibre is harder to take. Anything less than standing up for ourselves and insisting that the Earth moves around the Sun, that any excess of immigration over emigration will result in population growth and any population growth requires among other things, housing and infrastructure solutions which we may not like...not to mention putting the future for the incumbent population at risk through declining environments and resources is just conversational. We must insist on this even at the most polite dinner party- steadfastly and factually.