Go forth, multiply and fill the provinces: Reynolds

Neil Renyolds has an interesting commentary in the G&M today where he rebuts the idea that women who decide not to have children are doing their part to save the planet.    He cites a biological anthropologist who calls having more than one or two children ‘littering’.   He puts this in the context of Canada which is among the least densely populated countries in the world.  It’s worth reading.

I picked up on his ‘fill the provinces’ phrase because I think just as there is some logic to the notion that you can have too many people in a place (say 20 million in a third world urban area) there is also something to the idea that you can have too little (Renyolds cites New Brunswick as not having enough population for even a ‘decent’ city).

I have talked with people who hold to the strange fantasy that New Brunswick could actually shrink in population size and still support the public services and infrastructure in the province.  I have looked at the data from every angle and I don’t see how  without some Newfoundland-level infusion of oil revenues.  Even at that, population decline has broader impacts on a community and a province even if you could somehow address the public services issue.

New Brunswick needs a population boom not a bust.

4 thoughts on “Go forth, multiply and fill the provinces: Reynolds

  1. Yes we need a population boom. Not a baby boom, though – it’s actually the least efficient way to try to populate a region. Let’s get some immigration – and some new families and new ideas, instead of the same old family compact.

  2. Don’t know what it is, but suddenly population talk is all the rage. Our local pub library had all eugenics books out front, and have seen articles at numerous media sites.
    Of course NB COULD have fewer people, it could also have more. The well being of such people depend on so many factors its hardly worth discussing. You could have only a population of 10 living together in Fredericton who could provide for themselves quite well.
    It really was a stupid article, wasn’t this the Neil Reynolds who used to work in NB? Just for fun I went through the first two pages of comments,and virtually every one said the same thing-this was just stupid beyond belief.
    The question is never ‘how many’, but simply ‘how’.

  3. “It really was a stupid article”

    All of Reynolds articles fit that description. Typically, he takes an anecdote, or a story written by someone else, and weaves it into a narrative designed to fit a ‘contrarian’ position. An easy and cheap way to get noticed; when the holes in the narrative are pointed out, he simply will say – gee, I was just referencing what someone else said; blame them not me!. This article is a fine example of silliness – there is little point of having more people here or anywhere else if their median income remains low.

    What I would like to know is how someone with no obvious idea of how things work or how things get done in the larger world obtains a permanent op-ed job with the G&M. Now that, I am sure, would make a great story. He is a bit like Preston Manning – he has been transformed into some sort of guru, yet has no obvious intellectual heft or experience behind him to justify the position. Pressie’s prominence is explained, of course, by the oil money behind his foundation. Not sure how to explain Reynolds.

  4. Certainly NB needs and can accommodate more immigrants. One problem we are running up against is Canada is cutting back on intake numbers because of a variety of factors, including that the immigrant populations in the big cities are getting so large they don’t integrate economically as successfully as they used to. Smaller centres could well take more, but the feds say they can’t hold people in a smaller location. If, however, there were a contract with immigrants to stay a certain length of time (as with rural doctors) many would find it not necessary to move on to Toronto or Vancouver. The excuse the feds use is the Charter and mobility rights – but these are subject to reasonable limitations (Sect 1) and a contract should surely be seen as a reasonable limitation. This has never been tested in court but immigation people have told me privately they think the contract would be sustained. Lack of political will holds them back.

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