The greening of hate, Canadian-style

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

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 …

Related reading:


  • Sorry, November 7 as I write this; a little late to join the discussion, but just noticed the site. Briefly, with your typically (for the pro-immigration left) shrill response, laced with anger, invective and name-calling, ‘Climate and Capitalism’ is marginalising itself as a voice to be seriously considered in the whole immigration debate.

    Good for Derek Burney and the rest in the new group dedicated to introducing common sense into our immigration policies. It’s too bad that C&C is still, like the rest in our politically correct brigades, in denial when it comes to the economic, environmental and cultural impacts of our immigration influxes. No awareness of the reality that in many, if not most societies, down through history, the advocation of the sorts of immigration policies you embrace would earn the promoter, at best, a place in a courtroom docket, at worst torture chambers or a firing squad.

  • So, by default, the Green solution is to grow population indefinitely?

    Anyone who thinks that population is not a problem might consider answering this question:

    Why, in spite of enormous scientific and technical advances, do we have far more people living in poverty today than there were people in existence one hundred years ago?

    Paul Colinvaux (Why Big Fierce Animals Are Rare) demonstrated the answer in 1978. Ecology’s first social law should be written “All poverty is caused by continued population growth”.

    Canada should set a responsible example by stabilizing its population.

    Your banner, “Ecosocialism or Barbarism: There is no third way”, demonstrates a peculiar lack of imagination and irresponsible abandonment of rational thought.

    It is wrong to equate reduced levels of immigration with “anti-immigrant sentiment”. Personally, I am favorably disposed to immigrants (I am one) but I know very well that it does everyone a disservice to have too many immigrants.

  • When immigrants enter Canada, they become part of the economy and hence it’s omissions. The only argument that makes sense in the above is number 4.

    “4. By using broad averages (ratios) he ignores the differences in impact between social classes in Canada. Studies show that the rich generate far more CO2 than the poor — and most immigrants are in the latter group.”

    I didn’t take this into account but it is definitely real. You could look at the $ ratio which would put immigrant contribution at maybe 20% lower?? I don’t have a figure for immigrant vs native incomes.

    Deporting executives of high emitting corporations still leaves the demand for the corporations services and hence its emissions. Maybe someone else at the helm can do a better job but they can’t totally re-write physics. Conserve and reduce demand are the only paths to sustainability.

    Sending people from cold climates to more temperate ones actually does make sense on a global level. Do the math.

    An influx of cheap labour is probably the most socially destructive dynamic we have in this country. Income polarization, inability to maintain the social safety net, child poverty and on and on.

    If you want to get an idea of what disparity does to a country and a society read the superb “The Spirit Level” by Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett.

    For some idea of what the book covers go to:

    It is a paradigm changer and brings together coherently many of the things I’ve been working on for 40 years.

    BTW, my favourite ec prof was from the US and in his Economic History course focused on the economics of slavery. He held that slavery was inherently inefficient and the south would have collapsed in 20 years anyway without the civil war.

    Also see Roman society and their agricultural/slave structure. Lots of slaves = no innovation = eventual collapse.

    Any society which depends on a stream of cheap labour rather than developing its own human resources to the fullest is going down.

    John Meyer

  • John Meyer’s attempt to compare “immigration emissions” to “tar sands emissions” involves several very common populationist errors.

    1. He is comparing apples and oranges. Tar sands emissions are measured emissions, clearly produced by a specific source. But his “immigrant emissions” figures are ratios — abstract numbers produced by dividing Canada’s total population into total Canadian emissions, a calculation that tells us exactly nothing about the cause of those emissions.

    2. He is double counting. Total Canadian emissions includes the tar sands — so his immigrant emission figures include them as well.

    3. As point 2 shows, his immigrant emissions figures include greenhouse gases that cannot reasonably be attributed to the actions of immigrants. Not just tar sands, but uranium mines, coal-fired power plants, and much more.

    4. By using broad averages (ratios) he ignores the differences in impact between social classes in Canada. Studies show that the rich generate far more CO2 than the poor — and most immigrants are in the latter group.

    I could go on, but I encourage anyone interested in the misuse of statistics to support populationist arguments to read Dissecting those ‘Overpopulation’ Numbers

    Part One: Population Where
    Part Two: The Perils of Per Capita
    Appendix: Rates versus Ratios

  • By your logic John we could reduce emissions simply by transferring populations from the First World to the Third World. We can eliminate “cheap labour” by keeping immigrants out. Wouldn’t it be more emissions-effective to deport the owners of the largest-emitting companies who are responsible for more emissions than the hundreds of thousands of immigrants you’d keep out combined?

  • A few figures.

    In 2006 tar sands emissions were 27mt and emissions attributed to the 5 million extra people (about 2+ Torontos) were 120mt.

    Canada’s Kyoto target is 556mt. By 2012, we will probably hit 714mt – over by 28% – the worst performance of any Kyoto signatory save Saudi Arabia. We will be #57 out of 58. The top countries will have cut their emissions by close to 40%.

    They have stable populations. Canada has the fastest growing population in the western world courtesy of mass immigration and Saudi Arabia’s population is growing even faster, naturally.

    Oil sands emissions are growing faster than immigration based emissions. By 2012 oil sands emissions will be 75mt. Immigrations will be 154mt.

    Although oil sands emissions grow rapidly, they will never quite catch those from immigration based population growth because oil production will level off and immigration policy calls for an exponential grow-forever rate of 1%.

    So in 2050, oil sands emissions are 350mt and immigrations are 414mt. That is as close as it gets. Tars sands flatten after that but immigration based emissions keep on climbing to 879mt in 2100. Population 66 million.

    John Meyer

  • You should at least get your smears straight when ripping the coherent immigration movement.

    Cheap labour, growth forever and all of the mantras chanted in support of high immigration rates are bedrock right wing policies.

    Calling immigration critics right wing just doesn’t work. Except for the right wing.

    Cheap labour employers, real estate developers and media corporations love your comments. They give them cover.

    BTW, my research showing that immigration was responsible for 2.5 to 3 times the contribution of the tar sands to Canada’s Kyoto 2012 target overshoot did take into account energy exports.

    The other externality to keep in mind is the consumption of manufactured goods from China. My brief research here showed that Canada’s carbon emissions are about 8 to 10% understated when imports from China are taken into account.

    China takes a bad rap for this. For Britain, I’ve seen estimates of 25% to 35%.

    No social progress or environmental balance is possible without taking into account the effects of population/immigration.

    Let’s get our figures and our terms accurate.

    John Meyer

  • I would like to address the fact that 95% of Canada’s increased emissions are coming from the Alberta Tar Sands-not immigrants.

    In fact, it is migrant labour that is being imported from countries like Mexico, China, and India that are being forced to work on these projects. The same right-wing think tanks cannot tout on the economic benefits of the industry while also trying to kick out the same labour force that is exploited to make these projects happen.

  • The population bomb argument is indeed bogus. As well, anti-immigration policies will victimize environmental refugees who will be increasingly displaced as one consequence of our inability in the affluent classes of the developed nations to control our overconsumption.

    However, not being a peak oil or climate change denier and having recognized that our present oil and petrochemical civilization is unsustainable, I worry about our ability–never mind our commitment- to continue to feed the present numbers of people alive on this planet–let alone any increase. How we produce food and how we deliver it is going to have to change radically when we say goodbye to cheap petrochemical inputs and cheap oil. If this has been dealt with on this site I missed it. Such considerations should inform any responses to the racist anti-immigration crowd.

    I note that many self-described ‘deep’ greens—the greenest of the greens, they would have us believe— have bought into this anti-immigration, population bomb in the developing world scenario while insisting they are not racist. Right. Nevertheless, I do think they have genuine concerns re our ability to continue to produce our present levels of output in a post-peak oil world. This site should address those concerns and perhaps it already has.