Leading Canadian conservatives use green arguments to promote anti-immigrant sentiment
The Canadian Centre for Immigration Policy Reform, launched today on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, is a dangerous step forward by the anti-immigrant right in Canada.
CCIPR isn’t just another obscure group of right-wing cranks — it is headed by former ambassador Martin Collacott, now a Senior Fellow with the conservative Fraser Institute, and former Tory candidate Margret Kopala. Other founding members include: James Bissett, former director general of the Canadian Immigration Service; Barbara Kay, National Post columnist; and Peter White, a long-time associate of Conrad Black and former publisher of Saturday Night magazine.
Perhaps most ominously, its advisory council includes Order of Canada recipient Derek Burney, often described as a “pillar of the establishment.” He is former CEO of Bell Canada International and was head of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s 2006 transition team. His support clearly signals that this anti-immigration campaign has powerful support in Canada’s ruling circles.
Like anti-immigrant groups in other countries, CCIPR has latched onto environmental arguments in attempt to give its arguments credibility among progressives.
On its Home page: “Our high immigration levels make it more difficult to achieve Canada’s environmental objectives and inhibit efforts to reduce the extraordinary size of our ecological footprint.”
On its Immigration Myths page: “Immigration currently accounts for most population growth in Canada, and population growth is by far the major pressure on the environment. In addition, immigration to Canada from developing countries (which is where most of our immigrants now come from) has significant negative effects on the environment in the world as a whole because, according to some estimates, such immigrants have an ecological footprint four times that which they had in their countries of origin. It is worth noting in this regard that, while Canada is often criticized for the environmental consequences of its oil sands development, the impact on the environment of our immigration intake is significantly greater. Immigration in fact has major environmental consequences.”
The group’s website includes links to seven “organizations with useful analyses of immigration and refugee issues.” Two are influential right wing think tanks in Canada, the Fraser and CD Howe Institutes. The other five are prominent international anti-immigration groups, including the US-based Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform, which has been identified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Climate and Capitalism will follow this closely …