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JOHNSTON: Immigration & Climate Crisis: Why eco-alarmists want Canada to close its borders to the poor

Politicians who are pushing the “climate emergency” panic button face a choice of their own creation: human extinction or immigration restrictions.

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Photo credit: Wiki Commons

According to the CIA World Factbook, oil consumption per capita in Ethiopia is measured at 0.52 bbl/day per 1000 people. Oil consumption per capita in Canada, by comparison, is measured at 64.4 barrels. This means Canadians consume approximately 12,000% more oil than Ethiopians on a per capita basis. When people migrant from poor countries like Ethiopia to wealthy countries like Canada in search of economic opportunity and a higher standard of living, they can expect to increase their carbon footprint significantly. If the climate is in immediate crisis due to rising C02 levels, immigration becomes an environmental problem, and a serious one.

This simple math has some in the environmental movement calling for restrictions on immigration — while most progressive politicians continue to sell voters a “climate crisis/open borders” policy package deal hoping nobody will crunch the numbers.

Opposition to immigration from the environmental movement is nothing new, but it was thrust into the national conversation in 2013 when Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki shocked progressives with an anti-immigration rant during a radio interview:

“Oh, I think Canada is full too! Although it’s the second largest country in the world, our useful area has been reduced. Our immigration policy is disgusting. We plunder southern countries by depriving them of future leaders, and we want to increase our population to support economic growth. It’s crazy!”

Suzuki repeated this narrative in 2016 arguing that using immigration to fuel economic growth is ecologically “suicidal”.

Jason Kenney – federal immigration minister at the time – called Suzuki’s remarks “xenophobic”, but the only thing Suzuki fears about the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” is that they might escape the grinding poverty of the developing world and stomp proudly on the terra firma of the West with new shoes and a respectable carbon footprint. I don’t know if that qualifies as xenophobia, but it does show that developing world poverty has a “certified green” stamp of approval.

According to news report, Suzuki responded to this scolding from Kenney, and to the general backlash from progressives, by avoiding any further talk about immigration, although he has never recanted his views. Canadian environmentalist John Meyer, however, refuses to be silent on the subject.

In an article published in Humanist Perspectives, Meyer wrote that “if asked where the increase in carbon emissions is coming from, virtually every Canadian would say the oil sands. And they would be wrong. For despite the rapid development of the oil sands and its inherently GHG emissions-intensive nature, they constitute only a fraction of Canada’s emissions increase.” The real culprit, according to Meyer, is population growth and mass immigration.

It is difficult to argue against the position that inviting people from low-energy economies to high-energy economies will significantly increase global C02 levels. Remaining poor and staying in-place in a low-energy, developing world economy is good for the environment, if C02 levels are the measure of ecological health. But this leaves politicians who are pushing the “climate emergency” panic button with a choice of their own creation: human extinction or immigration restrictions on those emigrating from the developing world – a choice they are refusing to acknowledge or address. In fact, Trudeau has promised to steadily increase immigration levels to 400,000 a year.

Of course, if the climate is not actually in crisis, the ecological impact of immigration can be safely ignored and the economic benefits of immigration enjoyed without consequence or green guilt.

What Suzuki and Meyer have bravely done is reveal the true nature of the deep ecology movement in which people and prosperity are the enemies of the planet, and energy poverty and restrictions on human mobility are the solution to the climate crisis. How long before the progressive left is forced by the logic of their own rhetoric to choose between the environment and open borders and adopt this same view?

Opinion

BARNES: Albertans deserve the right to make the big decisions in referenda law

Guest column from Drew Barnes says that Alberta’s referendum law should be expanded to allow votes on big constitutional issues.

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Guest opinion column from Alberta MLA Drew Barnes

“I am and I will remain a populist, because those who listen to the people are doing their job.” Matteo Salvini.

At its core the word populism is the action that government policies should be determined by the will of the people, not the will of the elite. Direct democracy is the institutional populism in action.

There is debate over whether populism should be termed as a movement or an ideology. Since the actions of populist engagement can transcend the ideological spectrum, I believe it should be viewed as a movement, that can sometimes manifest itself ideologically. As a movement, populist participation can take place on all points of the spectrum. Ultimately, that is what is wanted from a democratic society – engagement from all points of the spectrum.

Now more than ever, we need a new grassroots-populist approach to politics. Grassroots politics by its nature suggests that it is a movement that is sparked from the bottom-up. Politicians who came from grassroots movements must never forget where they came from, or lose sight of what they came to do. We need more of the bottom-up approach to politics, and make listening to the people that elected us a priority.

This is taking place in some measure here in Alberta. Political party policy processes allow for constituency associations to generate policy proposals for conventions, where they are voted on by the membership. Every party in Alberta – with the exception of the NDP – uses a ‘one member, one vote’ system.

Another grassroots/populist tool is referenda, that when used the right way are a valuable democratic tool. Referendums however, must stay true to their purpose, and the process for bringing them forward must allow for citizens to craft their own – fair – wording on a question. This is not to say that any question – however subjectively worded – that anyone wants to ask should be put to a referendum. Therefore, the rules on the use of referendums must not be overly onerous, nor overly temperate.

Switzerland is a prime example of a country that takes full advantage of referendums, including citizens’ initiative. In their democratic system, referendums can occur up to four times annually. All citizens registered to vote can cast their ballot on issues affecting decisions within both their federal government and their cantons (autonomous provinces). Before each vote, all registered voters receive a package of booklets in the mail which provide details on the coming referendums. Since these referendums began in 1848, just under half of the referendum proposals have passed. Even if they don’t always pass, the process is crucial to starting conversations and keeping citizens involved in debate. Referendums also force political parties to reach beyond partisan lines to reach consensus.

Alberta’s legislature recently passed a bill that guides referendums on non-constitutional matters. While this is a positive step forward, there are issues in this bill that need improvement. 

For example, Albertans initiating a referendum might go through the process of collecting hundreds of thousands of signatures, only to have the cabinet alter the wording the question. While fair wording of the question is critical to the integrity of direct democracy, that issue is not best dealt with by politicians who may have a stake in the result. Instead, clear guidelines should be established in law on question wording, and left to non-partisan officials at Elections Alberta. 

And while the new referendum legislation is a big step forward over the status quo (that is, nothing), it deliberately bans citizens-initiated referendums on constitutional questions. This means that if Albertans wished to force a vote on adding property rights to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that they would not be allowed. Similarly, Albertans are barred from forcing a vote on reforming the Senate, equalization, or internal free trade. Ominously, Albertans have no right to force a vote over the heads of the legislature on independence or other forms of sovereignty. 

I believe that Albertans can be trusted with the right of citizens’ initiative on all questions, both constitutional and non-constitutional. 

We trust the people to elect a government to run our systems, so why can’t we trust them to bring their own questions forward? 

Drew Barnes is the UCP MLA for Cypress-Medicine Hat

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Opinion

LETTER: Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East

A reader says that Erin O’Toole isn’t “woke” enough to beat Trudeau in the East.

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In this ‘Era of Wokeness” along with the ascension of Black Lives Matter into the public consciousness, I believe that it would be detrimental to the Conservative Party of Canada to have Erin O’Toole as
it’s leader.

Mr O’Toole recently refused to use the word ‘racism’ and did not answer clearly when pressed on whether he believes it even exists. Erin O’Toole will hand the Trudeau Liberals an easy victory during the next election, should he become Tory leader. Canada cannot afford another four years of Justin Trudeau. 

Like it or not, most people in Ontario and Quebec (where all federal elections are ultimately decided owing to their number of allotted seats), are very much ‘woke’ on the issue of racism, as well as
sexism, homophobia, ect. In my experience, this also includes most Conservative Party of Canada voters in Eastern Canada.

Right-wing populism and social conservatism does well in Western Canada – but centrist Red Toryism is all they are prepared to accept in most of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada. CPC members in Western Canada need to keep this in mind when voting for their next leader. 

CPC members need to be sensible and realistic if they want to win the next federal election. 

Gila Kibner 
Edmonton, Alberta

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Opinion

LETTER: While Trudeau mislabels regular guns “military-style”, he is handing real assault weapons to the police

A reader says that Trudeau is militarizing the police while disarming Canadians.

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RE: Canada’s cops worried Liberal gun ban will hamper training

I enjoyed your article on the gun ban and how it will affect cops. A point of view the CBC would never share.

Perhaps another topic should be brought to the public is this: Although Justin Trudeau said there is no place for these weapons in Canada and Bill Blair said these  weapons have only one purpose – and that is for one soldier to kill another soldier – they gifted more deadly weapons to our local police forces through the Canadian Armed Forces., as was done recently in my hometown of St Thomas, Ontario.

What is the government’s agenda in giving true military assault weapons to the police and banning “military-style” (no legal definition) weapons from civilians. 

John Siberry
St. Thomas, ON

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