It’s the same old story year after year. Canada has a rapidly aging population, an astonishingly low birthrate (1.47 children per woman of childbearing age), and, as a result, is heading pell-mell towards disaster.
Yet, the economic implications of Canada’s aging population and its long-term effects on federal finances continue to be steadfastly overlooked by the Liberal government.
This jaw-dropping decrease in population is of incredible importance because it affects the economy, labour market, healthcare, pensions, regional development, and election results. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, in her economic statement on November 30, 2020, projects that Canada will post the largest single-year fiscal deficit in our history (at least $381.6 billion) and an unbelievable federal debt of $1.2 trillion in fiscal year 2020-2021.
Not only will our children and grandchildren have to grapple with this economic mess, but we can now expect that our great grandchildren will be dealing with the problem as well.
Canadians are living longer due to improved diets, better sanitation, medical advances, and greater prosperity, which is all to the good. Nevertheless, this means that seniors’ extended life span will increase government expenditures for pensions, medical care, and long-term care requirements. At the same time, the decline in the birthrate results in a decrease in the labour force, which will slow economic growth and reduce government revenues because fewer individuals will be paying taxes.
Decreasing Population Is Global in Scope
A new study from researchers at the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts that almost every country will experience slowing population growth or outright decline by 2100, partly due to dropping fertility rates. The researchers estimate the global fertility rate is to drop below 1.7 by 2100, while the 2017 rate was about 2.4 children per woman of childbearing years.
Japan, Russia, Bulgaria, China, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Thailand, and South Korea are among 23 countries that are expected to see their population more than halved by the end of the century. This phenomenon is going to change the dynamics of the world. For example, the Balkans used to be the powder keg of Europe, a fault line between Christian Europe and the Ottoman Empire, but because of its rapidly declining population, plus migration of its population to greener pastures in the West, the Balkans are slowly emptying out and becoming an empty shell of its former self. The same situation is occurring in Romania. As the Balkans go, the rest of Europe will follow, together with the rest of the world.
The United Nations
Even the United Nations, which has spent years and billions of dollars trying to quell the supposedly terrible problem of overpopulation, for which it has enthusiastically dumped contraceptives and abortion into third world countries to satisfy supposed “unmet needs”, has now been forced to admit that the real problem is the worldwide decrease in population. UN demographers are now grimly predicting that the world’s population may stop growing by 2100 and will peak at approximately 9 billion people, compared with the roughly 7.8 billion today.
Justin Trudeau’s Solution to Our Population Decline
Prime Minister Trudeau’s answer to the pending economic disaster, as is his custom, is to promote a simplistic solution which fails to acknowledge the implications of his plans. He is suggesting that Canada’s annual target of 350,000 immigrants per year must increase to 401,000 permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022 and 421,000 in 2023.
Canadians have always been supportive of immigration because that is what has built this country. Polls taken in October 2020 by the Leger and Nanos polling companies, however, indicate that Canadians emphatically do not agree with Trudeau’s new immigration targets. The increased immigration suggested by Trudeau is going to create serious problems because of the COVID-19 lockdowns. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians are currently unemployed because of the shutdown of small businesses, restaurants, manufacturing, and other, so-called “non-essential” work. No matter how hardworking and determined the immigrant may be, there just won’t be jobs available for him/her in the present economy. Increased immigration will create new demands for housing, social benefits, education, and medical care, which will overwhelm our already floundering economy. Increased population via immigration may be a worthwhile idea later, but until the pandemic ends and Canada is back on its feet economically, it is definitely not a good idea.
A further problem in increasing Canada’s immigration is that other countries are also looking to increase their population by immigration, and this means that Canada will be competing for immigrants from a shrinking pool.
The only place where population is increasing is in sub-Saharan Africa, which is expected to treble in size to more than three billion people (a third of the world’s population) by 2100. Nigeria will be the second largest country in the world (behind India) with nearly 800 million people. Canada will have to draw from this region, competing for immigrants with many other countries.
It is time for Canada to realistically face the problem of our declining population. Pretending it is not a problem or hiding behind an increase in immigration is not acceptable and is endangering our country.