Canada—a world power? -

Canada—a world power?

Canada needs 100 million people before it can become a thriving global power.


Michael Stuparyk/TORONTO STAR

Canada needs to be a nation of 100 million people before it can become a thriving global power, writes Irvin Studin, an assistant professor at the School of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Toronto and editor-in-chief and publisher of Global Brief. “A well-distributed, larger population creates a national vitality,” he says. “It increases our prospects for being a meaningful player in the world.”

He also stresses that Canadians must be less inward-looking. “While Canada may on occasion serve to other countries as a gold standard of strong domestic governance,” he writes, “its patent weakness lies in its incapacity, and general national disinclination, to actually export (with intent, or purpose) this model or any associated Canadian instruments of influence.”

While he concedes that tripling the population will in all likelihood lead to integration challenges, as well as put a strain on the public purse, Studin warns that the 21st century will most likely “not be as kind, in strategic terms” to Canada as the 20th century was. More Canadians would fill out the country’s strategic arms—such as the military, diplomatic, civil service and political branches of government—and increase the number of artists, business leaders and international players. “You might get one Lester Pearson in 20 million, as was the case when he won the Nobel prize,” he says. “In a population of 100 million, you get many, many more.” In other words, a more competitive talent pool.

If that’s the case, should Canada aggressively ramp up immigration? Though he doesn’t lay out an exhaustive list of policy recommendations in his essay, Studin does suggest a 20 per cent increase on current rates. But even at that rate, Canada won’t be a world power for another 90 years.

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Canada—a world power?

  1. Why the hell would we want to be a super power? So we could be the next fall guy and the next most hated country in the world? It is rather comforting to have Canada remain modest and be a good model for humanity than ruling by might. There is more one can accomplish when underestimated than otherwise. Those who longs for power ends up with no power at all. Our infrastructure and services alone are already splitting at the seams with our number now, how much more if we have to take in those so much number. Irvin Sudin only look at things superficially. What a shallow shallow man.

  2. More garbage from the growth lobby. I wonder how much of Prof. Studin's 'research' is funded by banks, REITS, developers and other corporate interests–the same ones who donate generously to 'environmental' groups like the David Suzuki Foundation (which ignores population growth as an environmental negative).

    The fact remains that less than 5% of Canada's land is arable, there are finite reserves of freshwater (already an issue, with current population levels, in Southern Alberta), and severely-negative sociopolitical and economic effects associated with the already insanely-high 250,000 permanent/250,000 'temporary' annual immigration intake of Trudeaupian-Mulroneyist policy. We're losing agricultural land and natural habitats to urban sprawl, facing a freshwater crisis and filling up landfill space with the already run-amok warm body intake. Food prices keep rising, infrastructure costs are horrendous and the huge influx of elderly immigrants is straining the healthcare and pension systems (Bill C-428 will be the nail in the coffin). To top it off, we have the issues of immigration-related crime (Fresh Off the Boat, MS-13, African Mafia), doda and khat, honour killings and female genital mutillation, Islamic, Tamil and Sikh terrorist organizations, second and third-generation children who function in neither official language, and a host of other side-effects of 'diversity'. Interethnic tensions are already getting dangerously out of hand in Canada, though the chattering classes, of which certain University of Toronto professors are members of, don't care to notice: such a massive influx of immigrants will NOT lead to social and political stability.

    For every Lester Pearson, Canada will end up with a hundred Jackie Trans. Maybe the eminent Irvin Sudin wants Canada to be a 'world power' like Ethiopia, which is already edging toward the 100M mark. At any rate, the University of Toronto should evaluate their professor's work and funding sources, to see how unbiased and scholarly he really is.

    • Excellent article!

  3. People create economic activity as well as artistic and all human progress. Canada missed the great immigration surge after the second world war and will be a long time trying to catch up as not so many productive people want to emigrate from foreign lands nowadays. Perhaps all fertile Canadian women can get to work and create a new baby boom in the first couple of decades of the new century. (only somewhat tongue-in-cheek)

  4. What a bizarre article. There are only 11 countries in the world with 100 million people. Of these countries, Canada has more power and global influence than 6 of them (India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria and Mexico).

    GDP is the real indicator of power, no population, and Canada is ranked about 10th.

    Studin has no idea what he is talking about. What on earth is a national vitality? This is garbage.

  5. Adam posted an amazing comment that really resonated a lot with me.

    Increased self-sufficiency and greater political/economic autonomy from the United States would be a fantastic first step towards being an independent world power.

    Also… how about cultivating national pride? I was dumbfounded when my girlfriend, who happens to be a teacher, told me that a small handful of students who happen to belong to a particular religious group do not stand or sing our national anthem with everyone else at the start of the school day (or something like that – I forget exactly how she phrased it). My reaction was… "excuse me?" These kids aren't really being brought up to be future stewards of this great nation.

    We need to become a nation of people who are willing to literally (and figuratively) stand up for Canada.

  6. If we always depend on immigration alone to boost our numbers, then we are just a road away from failure. Right now the population are so busy meeting their heavy fiscal burden that there is just no energy and time left for procreating. A surge in number will force us to provide services and infrastructure to absorb those numbers. Money does not just sprout on trees, so guess who will be burdened by paying at the beginning… Our burden will just become heavier and heavier, procreation will be left in the back burner and so we again have to rely on immigration… there will be no end to that cycle. It is a very short sighted bandage which will cause so much systemic problems later on. Why can't politicians start thinking of long term solutions than quick fixes that are not really fixes. Even so called university researchers are lacking visions, what is the hope for us having visionary politicians?

  7. You think Canada has more power and influence than India? LOL Canada is rarely an afterthought in most global leaders' minds. India on the other hand is regularly consulted. GDP is an indicator of wealth you fucking idiot.

  8. I am so tired of people like this professor suggesting we are not good enough as we are. Look at France , Britain and Germany who all have under 100 million. The overpopulated third world nations are mostly the countries who have over 100 mill, but that's how some people see Canada-just a place to bring the overpopulated masses. When I was growing up we were proud of our open space and quiet country where a person could have a home with a big yard. Already Toronto and Vancouver are changed beyond recognition since immigration levels have TRIPLED annually since the 1980's. Growth used to be gradual and hardly noticeable now it's full on. People like this professor are jerks in my book.

  9. Exactly what defines a "world power" ? The US is a world power, but not in everything; do Canadians want to be like Americans? Which world power would Canadians wish to emulate? How many Canadians would welcome increasing our population almost 2 1/2 time? I bet that none of us would. We have our own niche to fill, and we can be a "power" if we fill it properly. At the moment, we have abandoned one of the most important things for which we were known – peacekeeping – and replaced it with something much more dangerous – peacemaking. We don't have the money or human resources to follow the American warmongers into dead-end conflicts like the current activities in Afghanistan. What we must remember is that we are not the US, we don't want to be the US, we don't have to do what the US does (thank you Jean Chretien), and we will be the better and more respected around the world if we stop riding the American shirt-tails into places we have no business to go. We need to look around the world and see what the end result has been when nations have followed certain paths: what has happened to Britain with its open-door immigration policies, for example. We were blindly led by the nose into a so-called "multi-cultural society", and are moving towards cultural ghettoes where people have no intention of adapting to our established society, and are beginning to demand their own social and cultural norms be recognized and allowed. We need to become very, very choosy about who is allowed into this country, like the Australians were, and the Dutch are becoming. If that sounds racist, so be it; many of the immigrants are far more racist than I could ever become. This is Canada, bi-lingual, metric, with an established legal system, all and more of which is prepared to welcome immigrants who are not seeking to replace their own versions. For that, let them remain in or return to their countries of origin.

    • I can't agree more…Become or get the fu.. out !

  10. Canada has an "incapacity, and general national disinclination, to actually export (with intent, or purpose) … any associated Canadian instruments of influence?” Funny – all this time I thought that, during a period ranging roughly from 1997-2006, Canada promoted a series of ideas that were soon embraced around the world – human security, good governance, and the responsibility to protect. But I guess I just imagined that.

  11. lets inventory our arsenal and check if we are a super power…. some canoes, some gopher guns, maybe one or two rifles bought in the underworld of course, slingshots, bows and arrows, police just itching to kill, an army of about three thousand minus the ones killed in afghanistan war (with all respect for giving their lives of course)which is not ours to begin with, the politicians just wanted to run with the big guys….gawd… better run hide and head for the hills….yep a real super duper power armed to the false teeth

  12. Professors are very expensive for taxpayers, we pay them a lot of money to write this stuff. We rarely get value for our money, it should be returned to us. If professors are smart they'll be able to find real jobs, perhaps start businesses.

  13. Canada is by far one of the best country's in the world, we are extremely efficient with our military even if it is 50 years old, the only thing i want is that the world recognizes the importance of Canada to the rest of the world stability. another thing i would like to see is that the USA recognizes and respects Canada and understands that they are nothing without Canada.

  14. So many great articles.

    We need to change Canada's immigration policy and bring things back to sanity that benefits Canada!

    We need a Royal Commission of Canadains views and concerns. We need a national debate on immigration and population growth.
    To do this, we need to write letters to our elected officials and medial outlets like Macleans.

  15. france and britain were and still are, more or less, world powers and had far fewer than 100 million people. canada has the educated, skilled, and stable people and a very highly developed infrastructure. who knows how many refugees from a collapsing europe and u.s. could be looking for a new home? and they would be bringing their skills and talents and in many cases their money with them. 10 million more and you would have the population of france, 15-20 million more and britain. i think that would suffice. 100 million is typical canadian over-modesty.