By Hilary White and Steve Jalsevac

TORONTO, September 27, 2006 ( – Titled, “No Elixir of Youth; Immigration Cannot Keep Canada Young,” a new report on population trends in Canada flies in the face of the accepted wisdom that increasing immigration will solve the country’s looming demographic crisis.

The study, by C.D. Howe Institute policy analysts, Yvan Guillemette and William Robson, says that the immigration solution is not going to work with an aging Canadian population. What the study fails to address, however, is the elephant in Canada’s demographic living room – that Canadians do not have enough children and government policies have greatly contributed to that state of affairs.

Coinciding with the beginning of the slow-down in fertility rates, Canada has been importing more and more people, but studies have shown repeatedly that while immigrant workers can alleviate immediate labour shortages, increased immigration does not solve the aging crisis.

The study examined population and aging trends for the next fifty years and shows that “declining fertility and rising life expectancy” will inevitably result in a slow-down in the economy and the slowing of the rise in standards of living. In addition, the economic pressures of caring for the aged will increase even more.

Based on current trends, Canada’s ratio of residents age 65 and over – those out of the work force – to those of traditional working age (18–64) will rise from 20% in 2006 to 46% in 2050.

The study’s authors do not address the problem of how to get Canadians to have more children, but only suggests instead raising the age of retirement from its current 65 over the next 20 years to age 70.

Canadians are already working longer, more stressful hours than recent generations. It may be not be reasonable to expect most of them to add to those years of exhaustion, especially given age-related health problems, in order to alleviate the problem caused by unwillingness to bear the next generations of workers and taxpayers.

What the study incredibly fails to mention is that during the time period for which the authors examined immigration rates, 1972-1986, Canada’s birth rate plunged. Current numbers show that just under 35 % of the Canadian population is in the 40-69 age range – past the normal child-bearing years.

Comparison of US and Canadian birthrate declines

The collapse of the Canadian birth rate corresponds closely to the double introduction of the chemical contraceptive and abortifacient pill and legalized abortion and with the explosion of the sexual revolution and the feminist movement that took mothers out of the home and into the work force.

Statistics Canada shows that the birth rate has dropped since 1940 from a high in 1960 of 4 children per woman, to an all time low of 1.2 by 2000. In 2004, Canada’s birth rate – the number of live births for every 1,000 people in the population – hit another record low from 10.6 live births for every 1,000 population in 2003 to 10.5.

Since 1970 Canada has aborted approximately 2,587,344 children by surgical abortions alone. In 2002, the number of abortions was approximately 32% of live births.

With few children bringing up the rear, solutions to the demographic crisis such as keeping workers on the job longer hours and later in life are, according to some, at best a stop-gap for a problem with no end in sight.

Campaign Life Coalition’s Mary Ellen Douglas, told that another aspect of the looming aging crisis is what to do with the elderly for whom fewer and fewer monetary resources are going to be available. The study highlights the problems of ‘elder care’ for this huge population of older people.

In many jurisdictions around the world, including Canada, the movement towards legalization of euthanasia has relied heavily on fears of an upcoming shortage of elder care resources. Douglas said it is a major feature of the euthanasia movement to propose death as a solution to the looming elder care crisis. “It’s the old eugenics story: useless eaters off the planet.”

“What we are going to see is a massive bulk of people over seventy in poor health with few resources to look after them. The euthanasia scenario is going to grow enormously,” Douglas said.

Douglas said that raising the age of retirement is a fallacious suggestion that would likely make the problem worse. “We would lose more and more young people to the States. People in the younger generation who can’t find jobs because the workers are staying in their jobs until 70 would simply leave the country.”

The real problem, Douglas said, is that Canadians fear children. “We’ve lost huge blocks of our population, in the millions, to abortion and untold more to legalized contraceptives. Neither immigrants nor stop-gap solutions are going to change that,” she said.

Government policies at all levels have generated much of that fear of children. Numerous policies have encouraged or forced women to leave the home for full time jobs and careers and denigrated the worth of traditional marriage, family life, having children, parental authority and much more related to the conception and raising of children.

Compared to government policies of the past, traditional marriage and parenting are now receiving far less, if any, preferences, financial benefits and approval with the result that it often seems to take near heroism to raise a family of more than two children.

Finally, significant religious practice and belief and strong religious leadership have nearly collapsed in recent decades in Canada. Studies have shown that child bearing is often related to religious belief with the significantly higher birthrate and higher rate of religious practice in the United States adding credibility to the contention.

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