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.
January 14, 2010