Friday, 14 August 2009

Investing In Families Is Key To Nation Building, Not Immigration.

The Toronto Star's Carol Goar has written an opinion piece about a turn around in fertility rates in most industrialized nations after 40 years of decline. The fertility rate is still below the replacement level of 2.1 children per women but it is a turn around nonetheless.

Three countries buck this trend: Japan, South Korea, and unfortunately Canada.

Canada is what statisticians call an outlier: an exception to a well-established trend.

The fertility rate in most developed countries is climbing after a 40-year drop. It is still below the population replacement level – 2.1 children per woman – but it has turned around in a way demographers never anticipated.

Three western nations are not experiencing a millennial baby boom: Canada, Japan and South Korea.

Mass immigration seems to have failed to help Canada increase its fertility rate. Indeed, StatsCan has reported that immigrant women have as few children as Canadian born women. According to the last StatsCan report on fertility rates most ethnic groups fall at or below the national average of 1.58 with Muslims and Hindus experiencing fertility rates above it. But of the children they do have in Canada it is likely they will have as few children as Canadians do now.

Has mass immigration contributed to Canada's low fertility rate? I say it has by contributing to labour market instability and job insecurity, wage and income suppression via an over supply of labour, and by discouraging the training of Canadians to meet the nation's labour market needs by relying on the cheap and easy option of immigration. These fixtures of the Canadian labour market discourage child bearing. Canada's low fertility rate, key to nation building, cannot be reversed by mass immigration.

But there is something the government can do about it.
Canada would be an ideal test case for Kohler's hypothesis because it has its own outlier: Quebec.

Since 1997, the province has implemented a panoply of measures to support women who want to be good mothers without sacrificing their careers.

They include generous parental leave, affordable child care, tax incentives for child-bearing, and employment premiums for working parents.

They appear to have worked: Twelve years ago, the province's fertility rate stood at 1.51 children per woman. Today it stands at a 30-year high of 1.72 children per woman, significantly higher than the Canadian average of 1.58.


Quebec's programs are expensive. The province will spend $6.5 billion to support families this year (45 per cent more than Ontario).

But its fertility rate is on par with those of the Scandinavian countries, the Netherlands and Britain.

Canada spends (wastes?) billions of taxpayer dollars on immigration. Why are Canadians with their tax dollars investing so much money on importing foreign individuals when this money can be invested in Canadians by rewarding and supporting those who decide to have children?

Canada needs to dramatically reduce its immigration intake. The funds that would have been spent to service the bloated system that it is today could be redirected to support Canadian families and those who want to start families. This is the most effective way to nation building. Canada has, for most of its history, relied on a natural increase in its population, not immigration.

Canada's population is increasing today despite immigration. Were we to cut immigration off Canada's population will still continue to increase up to the year 2020 and this included emigration. The 250,000+ we import today is inadequate to stave off an eventual population decrease due to the aging demographic. For this we would have to increase Canada's immigrant intake far beyond the 250,000+ mark and we simply cannot afford it.

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