Preparing Canada for "Peak People"

To close off the paper's series on Canadian immigration policy, the Globe and Mail's Doug Saunders calls for a dramatic increase in immigrants, arguing that the country's underpopulation harms almost every aspect of national life.
May 21, 2012, 5am PDT | Michael Dudley
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The Globe and Mail has recently run a daily and in-depth series on Canada's immigration policy, focusing on such areas as demographic trends, education, the economy and racial and ethnic diversity. Now commentator Doug Saunders, (author of the 2010 book on urban migration Arrival City) argues that Canada has always been underpopulated, and that it needs to act now to boost the population to 100 million by the end of the 21st Century, when global population growth is expected to stop. He writes,

"Canada remains a victim of underpopulation. We do not have enough people, given our dispersed geography, to form the cultural, educational and political institutions, the consumer markets, the technological, administrative and political talent pool, the infrastructure-building tax base, the creative and artistic mass necessary to have a leading role in the world.

Because our immigration rates have remained modest and our birth rate is low, our population will grow only slightly – to perhaps 50 million by mid-century. By that point, the world's population will almost have stopped growing and it will be difficult to attract large numbers of immigrants. At current rates, Canada will have lost its chance to be a fully formed nation...Canada should use this moment – now – to start boosting its base population so we are on a world-class footing before the world reaches 'peak people' and immigrants become increasingly difficult to attract."

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Published on Friday, May 18, 2012 in Globe and Mail
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