Canada needs a northern immigration strategy – by Irvin Studin (Toronto Star – August 26, 2018)

Canada’s modern approach to immigration makes two capital mistakes. First, it presumes that immigration this century remains primarily a “southern” Canadian phenomenon — that is, that most people will invariably move to southern cities such as Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver.

Second, it presumes that Canadian immigration should turn almost exclusively on economic demand. In fact, reports of continuous, aggressive ice-melting in the Arctic this summer — part of a long-term, accelerating trend — only serve to confirm that Canada will need many more people in the North in the coming decades.

In other words, Canadian immigration and migration this century will be increasingly “northern” in character, and will be driven more by national strategy and geopolitics than by traditional economic considerations.

The settlement of our southern border in the late 19th and early 20th centuries presages what’s to come. Contrary to present-day mythology about us having populated the 49th parallel because it is comparatively “warm” (has anyone been too Ottawa in wintertime?) or because most of our trade runs with our American neighbours, the original logic of Canada’s southern settlement was primarily military in nature.

The United States was the natural enemy of Canada, and Canada’s population followed the line of fortifications along the Canada-U. S. border, supported by rail lines eventually spanning the entire expanse of our huge country, along an east-west axis.

For the rest of this column: