Canada’s Federal Election and World Contraception Day: Opportunities for Action!

Dear PIC Follower,

By the time this post goes out, it will be very close to September 20th, the day Canadians head to the polls to elect the members of Canada’s 44th Parliament. While the main political parties have put forward strategies to deal with climate change as part of their platforms, none of the plans acknowledge the impact of growing human numbers on the failure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, much less  include calls for reducing population growth. On the contrary, most mainstream politicians continue to beat the drum for ever more economic and population growth in Canada. This is absurd, as PIC followers know, but not surprising given the benefits that growth provides to powerful and influential interests. Speculators, developers, bankers, and cheap labour businesses – not to mention politicians seeking the ethnic vote through high immigration numbers – all benefit from growth, while ordinary people bear the costs of densification, stress on infrastructure and services, noise, pollution, and loss of greenspace, farmland, and wildlife habitat.

Most Canadians likely don’t know that less than a week after they vote in the federal election, World Contraception Day will be celebrated as part of a worldwide campaign to highlight the importance of family planning and the right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children. World Contraception Day was established by the UN in 2007 and designated to fall on September 26th each year. Based on a vision of every pregnancy being wanted, it is supported by many NGOs working in the field of population and reproductive health.

Knowing, as they do, the importance of contraception and family planning in improving the lives of people and fighting against environmental degradation and climate change, population organizations can be counted on to spread the word about World Contraception Day. It’s unfortunate that most environmental organizations are reluctant to promote population stabilization and eventual reduction as a worthy goal in its own right, given that human population growth is the underlying problem or a major contributor to virtually every environmental problem and an impediment to every goal these organizations hope to achieve. Governments at all levels, health experts, and humanitarian organizations similarly tend to avoid this sensitive subject.

But ignoring the problem is no solution! As the United Nations stated in its annual report in 1992, “family planning could bring more benefits to more people at less cost than any other single technology.” That statement is truer than ever today. Unfortunately, even the UN has not adequately taken its own advice to heart! It has never made population stabilization per se one of its Sustainable Development Goals.

The world population is projected to hit the 8 billion mark by 2023, only twelve years after reaching 7 billion. Whether we are aware of it or not, our lives are affected by human overpopulation through its impact on the environment, the availability of cheap offshore labour and outsourcing, migration pressure, and other factors. Canada’s own population growth should be an election issue. Unfortunately, if Canada’s population growth is mentioned at all, it is likely to be treated as a good thing. The fact that the Liberal government has increased Canada’s immigration target for 2021 to over 400,000 while many Covid restrictions remain in place seems to have caused barely a ripple.

Whatever their party, we should take every opportunity to remind our elected Member of Parliament that growth can’t go on forever, in Canada or globally. Campaigns like World Contraception Day provide an opportunity to support reproductive rights in the many regions of the world where they are lacking or deficient. Thanks to the support of members like you, PIC is continuing to raise awareness and working to turn the tide on this most important of issues.

Get involved

Madeline Weld, Ph.D.

President, Population Institute Canada
Tel: (613) 833-3668
Email: [email protected]