Brian Mulroney, the former Prime Minister of Canada, has a message for Canadians: “We need more people— a lot more.” As prime minister, Mulroney, who is best known for tripling immigration during his tenure, predicted that Canada’s population would reach 100 million by the year 2100. He spoke at a forum hosted by the Globe and Mail and the Century Initiative, a think tank focused on Canada’s long-term growth, last week.
The former prime minister proposed ideas to boost Canada’s population growth based on the Century Initiative’s agenda. Canada’s current birth rate is insufficient to replenish the population on its own. This low birth rate, combined with an aging workforce, would place a financial strain on the working-age population if immigration was not allowed. As 9 million baby boomers hit retirement age, the impact will be felt this decade. Canada has turned to high levels of immigration to address these demographic problems. In 2019, immigration accounted for more than 80% of Canada’s population increase. This year Canada set out to welcome 1.2 million immigrants between 2021 and 2023. However, Century Initiative says more needs to be done. According to the Century Initiative report, “this business-as-usual approach to population growth would not produce the economically vibrant, socially generous future that Canadians want and expect.”
In 2026, there will be 500,000 new immigrants.
According to the Century Initiative, the target of 100 million Canadians by 2100 is “neither radical nor unachievable.” At 1% of the population, immigration targets are almost where they ought to be. According to the Century Initiative, Canada’s annual immigration goal should be 1.25 percent of its population by 2026. In 2026, this could result in 500,000 new immigrants. In 2021, Canada expects to accept 401,000 new immigrants, rising to 421,000 by 2023. Furthermore, the Century Initiative anticipates 450,000 people in 2024 and 475,000 in 2025.
The next move, according to Mulroney, is a white paper.
According to the Globe, Mulroney called for a new national policy at last week’s conference that would commit to tripling Canada’s population by the end of the century. Mulroney suggested that a white paper build momentum and bring the idea into a serious political discussion. A white paper is a document that might significantly alter Canada’s policy if approved by the public and the government. The white paper of 1966, which paved the way for a points-based approach to accepting new immigrants, is one of the most important documents in Canadian immigration history. Previously, Canada assessed immigrants using a tiered system, with commonwealth countries and the United States receiving priority.
It came when public opinion on human rights was evolving, and Canada was considering changing its discriminatory immigration policies. The white paper’s recommendations became law a year later. Via its economic-class programs, Canada still uses a points-based system for immigration. The Express Entry program is one of the most well-known examples. The acceptance or disapproval of policy proposals proposed in a white paper is heavily influenced by public opinion. A white paper on population growth, if pursued, would open up discussion on topics such as the merits of immigration in Canada, how Canada can prepare for high levels of immigration, and how Canada can improve an immigration system that is already known to be one of the best in the world.
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