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Are a million more people needed in Metro Vancouver area?

Sustainable immigration practices should focus on the quality of immigrants, not the quantity.

Editor: Metro Vancouver is at the crossroads of sustainable growth.

In light of the pending referendum on transit funding improvements, a recent poll taken in Metro Vancouver found that 93 per cent of people surveyed thought the region’s population was either large enough or too large.

Whether or not Vancouver is “full” remains to be seen. However, we should give careful thought to the inherent fallacy of using an influx of a million more newcomers expected by 2040 as a valid argument for needed transit upgrades.

Inasmuch as such massive population growth is expected to come almost entirely  from current high levels of federally-controlled immigration intakes, it is time to reframe the debate on sustainable immigration policies away from predominantly quantitative arguments to its qualitative implications of economic, environmental,  social, cultural and overall demographic concerns.

Proponents of maintaining or even raising our annual immigration intake, in the name of achieving the elusive goal of so-called “critical mass,” cite such population expansion to be indispensable to urban growth. In reality, urban growth is becoming a victim of a self-defeating cycle of increasingly exorbitant and economically unsustainable infrastructure demands.

Above all else, the forthcoming referendum vote on additional funding for transit infrastructure improvements will be a vote affecting the quality of life of Vancouver’s citizens, present and future.

Residents of the Metro Vancouver region should bear that in mind and make their vote an expression of what they want an economically and demographically-sustainable federal immigration policy to accomplish for their city and wider region.

E.W. Bopp,