Presentation to the Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, April 18, 2002
Peter Salonius , 522 Route 8 HWY, Durham Bridge , New Brunswick , E6C 1K5
Phone: (506) 452-3548 , Fax : (506) 452-3548, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• federal government policy is aimed at a continuously increasing Gross National Product
• federal government equates increasing GNP with progress
• federal government links population growth to increasing GNP
• economic growth, when offset by population increase, results in lower per capita wealth
• new indices of social/economic welfare ( eg . ISEW) show quality of life down since 1970
• between 1991 and 2001 our numbers grew at a third-world-like rate of about 1.6 % per year
• federal policy aims to increase our numbers by 300,000 per year indefinitely
• resident fertility drops in response to decreased economic well-being and prospects
• massive immigration continues in spite of economic downturns and increased unemployment
• massive immigration drives population growth as fertility of residents drops
• wealth creation, through technology, slows as stocks of natural resources are depleted
• wage decreases are due to combined economic slowdowns and rapid population growth
• native-born Canadians have not been rewarded for their reproductive self-restraint
• the capacity of the health care system is stretched by relentless population growth
• non-stop massive immigration stunts employment possibilities (especially at the entry level)
• decline in per capita share of resources usually leads to less equal distribution of wealth
• wage inequality and population growth (here and in the US ) top other industrialized countries
• studies show countries with slowest population growth have lowest pay disparities
• unemployment of 6-10 percent (even during rapid economic growth) is now the norm
• oversupply of labour drives down incomes and increases unemployment
• historical studies show that employers benefit from rapid numbers growth, workers do not
• as per capita wealth decreases, more family members are drawn into the labour force
• one income per family was often adequate until the 1970s; now two incomes are often needed
• as the labour force has increasingly involved all family adults, real wages have fallen
• the erosion of the middle class signals the polarization into rich and poor
• middle class erosion increasingly exposes the very young to crowded day care facilities
• crowded day care facilities cause increased sickness incidence (youth and adult)
• real wage dilution results in increasing hours worked per family unit
• increasing work hours and less rest results in higher stress and decreased disease resistance
• falling real wages incrementally increase reliance on food banks by the working poor
• falling real wages result in increasing numbers of working poor slipping into homelessness
• escalating homelessness and poverty result in increased communicable disease ( eg . TB)
Figure 2 from the article titled "The Twenty-First Century: The World at Carrying Capacity" by Gary W. Barrett and Eugene P. Odum published in the AIBS journal, BioScience , pp. 365, April 2000. © Copyright, American Institute of Biological Sciences.
• the proportion of Canadians who live in large cities increases annually
• the massive tide of federally orchestrated immigration gravitates, mainly, to large cities
• large cities already suffer from inadequate housing caused by mushrooming human numbers
• large cities suffer escalating traffic congestion in spite of subsidized public transport
• economic immigrants seek to raise their consumption to Canadian levels of excess
• Canada and the US (using 25% of world resources for 5% of its numbers) are overpopulated
• Canada placed 26 th out of 29 OECD countries with a 24.4% increase in numbers (1980-1998)
• total energy consumption growth matched population growth (20.3%, 1980-1997)
• in spite of federal efforts to decrease air pollution, smog levels continue to worsen
• worsening air pollution results in increasing poor health for citizens
• unhealthy citizens put increasing pressures on an already overburdened health care system
Population growth has served us well throughout history as we sought to exploit what seemed to be limitless natural resources in a comparatively empty land, however insistence on such growth in today's world can be seen as an anachronistic, frontier mentality which has no place on a full and finite earth.
The Canadian population has responded to decreased economic prospects by reducing its fertility, however its federal government continues to force population growth with massive immigration. The temporarily increased effective carrying capacity, that results from fossil fuel subsidization, results in Canada 's ability to import carrying capacity from other countries to serve it enormous per capita ecological footprint. This large ecological footprint, as we process a share of resources disproportionate to our numbers, has increasingly caused our urbanizing population to live in more and more congested and polluted environments. This escalating pollution and congestion result in poor health and increasing pressure on the health care system.
As a society, we have not considered the repercussions of the imminent and certain termination of the ‘petroleum interval'. We are continuing to expand our population and our economy as if the energy to support them will always be available.
Unpublished graph of Professor K.E.F. Watt, University of California , reproduced with his kind permission.
Future per capita reductions in energy availability, whether planned so as to effect a gradual transition to less plentiful renewable sources or in response to decreasing conventional supplies, will translate into long-term falling living standards. The health of Canadians will suffer and the pressure on the health care system will increase as our population continues to skyrocket in the present and as the per capita energy availability diminishes in the near future.
Meanwhile if the Canadian federal government does not come to understand the impoverishment and poor health that its expansionist policies produce for its citizenry, then the health care system will continue to experience increased pressures and the requirement for a curtailment in service levels on a per capita basis.
The Canadian federal government should use immigration as a tool , first to stabilize population numbers in the context of native-born fertility that has fallen below replacement levels, and second to orchestrate a gradual shrinkage in our numbers over time so that the sum total of our economic activity can be supported by the true carrying capacity of the country at the end of the ‘petroleum interval'.
SCIENTISTS FOR POPULATION REDUCTION
© Copyright Peter Salonius 2002
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