Letter: Immigration policies need quality of life debate

It's a fallacy to use an expected influx of a million more newcomers to Vancouver by 2040 as a valid argument for transit upgrades.

To the editor:

Re: Falling Behind Transit Needs, Capital News March 11.

Metro Vancouver is at a 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 when 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. Vancouverites 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,