Larger population sizes will have more significant economic and cultural impacts on certain regions. Traditionally, many immigrants to Canada have been concentrated in the bigger cities that include Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto. Over the recent past, the city of Toronto has been receiving nearly 100,000 new immigrants annually, which makes it one of the globe`s largest cities most populated by immigrant population. According to Statistics Canada (1), many of the immigrants coming to Canada are highly educated, in most cases higher than those of Canadian nationals. This therefore benefits these cities by transforming them into modern knowledge-based cities. Moreover, other than education, these immigrants are ambitious and have the potential to positively contribute to the growth of the host cities and region, and the Canada as a whole. However, there is a need for immigrants to be distributed in all other Canadian regions for even social and economic development to be achieved. If more immigrants are allowed in the cities already populated with immigrants, the other Canadian regions will be left out and the economic benefits of a larger population will not be fully realized.
On the negative side, more immigrants in cities already mentioned will likely create cultural and social issues. These immigrants bring with them cultural standards that may not be compatible with the Canadian traditions. Moreover, as more immigrants from a particular region converge in a particular city, they tend to isolate themselves and form ethnic enclaves. This negatively affects Canadian unity. This has already been witnessed in Quebec, which necessitated the creation of a commission to determine what amounts to reasonable accommodation of cultural differences (Bouchard and Taylor 2).
There are numerous local economic benefits that Canada can gain by having a far larger population. Firstly, a larger population will offer a large national market and help the local economy in achieving economies of scope and scale for all products and services. Many big dynamic cities will emerge in Canada that will act as competitive arenas and incubators for innovation, creative ambition and productivity. If the increased population is proactively distributed across Canada, it would mean more people and bigger cities across Canada, but especially in the East (the Maritimes), the Midwest (the Prairies) and Northern Canada that are presently under populated. The increased population will also promote positive inter-civic competition between the country`s metropolises. In addition, it will bring about increased economic and social invention and experimentation at the local level, with the sub-state units serving as laboratories, thereby driving aggregate national performance. Moreover, the country will have enough manpower to occupy the country`s big research institutions. This will support the development of policy ideas to support local sectors such as sports, music, theatrical and visual arts. Furthermore, a larger population will enable Canada to host the best companies in the world across all sectors of the economy, which will generate more aggregate wealth. In summary, a larger population will significantly transformthe country`s local capabilities.
Canadian cities will be adversely impacted if their populations grew substantially. In particular, the host cities will face a major cultural challenge in terms of integrating the millions of new immigrants coming from very different cultures. Whereas Canada has done remarkably well in integrating immigrants compared to other countries, a large influx of newcomers will make the process more difficult. This will most likely lead to an increase in ethnic enclaves in the larger Canadian cities, which will make it hard to assimilate the newcomers and achieve social cohesion.
Yes the proposal has some chance of being implemented. As already noted, Canada already accepts more immigrants per capita compared to any other country across the globe.In fact, over the last few decades, many Canadians have either been supporting the current immigrations levels or have been advocating for immigration levels to be increased, which is not the case in many countries, where many people want reductions. Therefore, the country is already on a path toward the100 million mark, however, the process might take long. The need to strengthen Canada as a cultural, economic, and military power continues to grow, and Canada already has a vision of making its cities big and full of activities. Various countries in the world are already competing in boosting their competition base. Countries such as Australia have already began efforts to double its population by making it easier for immigrants to enter the country through the “Big Australia” movement. Therefore, there is a likelihood that the same may soon happen in Canada considering that there are concerns that once the world reaches peak population, it will become much difficult to attract immigrants.
If a national referendum was to be held on this proposal, I would support it because the smaller Canadian population has prevented the country from achieving its full potential. As Professor Irvin argues, population size has a direct influence on a country`s strategic power. Canada is already strong in aspects such as natural resources, geography, and quality of government. Therefore, the only major component of strategic power that Canada appears to be weak in is its population size. Growing this population will generate significant social, economic and political benefits for Canadians and enhance the country`s standing in world affairs.
Bouchard, Gerard and TAYLOR Charles. Building the Future: A Time for Reconciliation (Report), Quebec: Consultation Commission on Accommodation Practices Related to Cultural Differences (2008). Print.
Statistics Canada. ‘The Effect of Immigration on Social Cohesion in Canada – Immigrant Economic and Social Outcomes in Canada: Research and Data Development at Statistics Canada’. Statcan.gc.ca., 2011. Web. 9 July 2015.