Go home, immigrants, Canada is full: David Suzuki


David Suzuki is warning about a new threat to Canada’s environment: immigrants.

Speaking to the French newsweekly L’Express, Suzuki took on his usual targets, accusing Stephen Harper of being “anti-science,” condemning the “dismantling” of Canada’s environmental protections and praising Europe’s efforts to regulate carbon emissions.

But then the interview, published July 1, took a strange turn. When asked about Australian environmentalists opposing population growth and immigration, Suzuki responds: “I believe Canada is full as well!”

The interviewer, Jean-Michel Demetz, follows up by saying it’s “a little selfish to want to close the door behind you.”

To this, Suzuki replies that Canada does have a responsibility to help people “struggling to survive elsewhere. But there’s no more room.”

So why does Suzuki think that Canada is “full?”

There’s a bit of a hint earlier in the interview, when he tells Demetz that, “thanks to the immense size of the country and its limited population, our overall ecological footprint remains modest,” before adding that per capita, Canada’s emissions are “just behind the United States and well ahead of Sweden, Germany, the Netherlands and France - the last one through it’s qustionable choice to use nuclear power.”

But that’s not Suzuki’s only problem with Canada’s immigration system.

“Our immigration policy is disgusting,” Suzuki tells Demetz. “We plunder the South by depriving them of their future leaders and we want to increase our population to support the growth of our economy. This is crazy!”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Canada’s favourite grandfatherly TV host has seen his polished public image tarnished.

In January, he came under criticism for requesting an escort of “nicely dressed” “ladies (females)” while making a $40,000 speech at John Abbot College in Montreal.

[image via Flickr]

, David Suzuki, environment

  • ishmaeldaro

    Isn’t he making two discrete arguments here?

    The first is that we should try to limit immigration because continued population growth (either by birth or immigration) is going to tax the country’s resources. This seems like a classic Malthusian argument, which I disagree with, but at least it’s a common environmental concern.

    The second point seems to be about preventing a “brain drain” from poor countries that need their doctors and engineers more than we do. The government has certainly stressed exactly this kind of economic immigration in recent years, and it sure sucks when your best and brightest leave for rich countries after getting their training and education at home.

    But those two arguments, together, in French, came out sounding hella racist.

    • Ben Clarkson

      Welcoming immigrants in will lower population growth. Women have large amounts of kids because of.
      A.) Infant mortality rates
      B.) Legal rights over their bodies
      C.) Poverty
      D.) Education

      If anything, from a strictly “GLOBAL ENVIRONMENTAL” (as if this bombastic statement can scientifically or philosophical be really made, ala the club of Rome) it makes more sense to allow immigrants into our system so they have less kids.
      At the very least spread the magic that makes ours a negative birth rate.

      The brain drain is a good point,

      • purplelibraryguy

        Well, mind you, immigrants will generally shift from having the ecological footprint they had wherever they came from (usually pretty low) to having the ecological footprint of a Canadian (five times as big or so). It would take a lot of fertility reduction before that balances out-and fertility rates are going down in most of the world these days.

        If anything, the average Canadian probably does more ecological damage to the Third World than the average actual Third World resident does. Indirectly, by creating the market for Third World mining, unsustainable export-oriented agriculture, and sweatshop industry with no emission/dumping standards.

  • 1967PontiacGTO

    Be fair, he’s not telling anyone to go home.

  • clayallison

    I also agree with you Canada is full as well! we need to think about this…