Recently, Statistics Canada presented the 2001 Census, in which it was reported that population growth in this country is at a record low and that what meagre growth there has been is only due to increased immigration. To sustain a population, a country must have a fertility rate (the number of children a woman will have in her lifetime) of 2.1; Canada’s rate is 1.5.

Demographers predict Canada will stop growing completely within nine years. The results will be economically ruinous, affecting, as the Globe and Mail has noted, the labour force, schools, pensions, investment, consumption, taxation rates and individual households.

Joseph Chamie, director of the UN’s population division, said that the declining population is an economic problem and is a result, in part, of couples holding off having children, women focusing on their careers and the increased availability of contraception. Chamie – and most of the major media – sees the solution to low population growth as resting in increased immigration.

He is ignoring the biggest reason for low population growth, however: abortion.

Canada kills off approximately 115,000 unborn babies every year, for a total of 2.5 million since abortion was legalized in 1969. That 2.5 million is roughly the size of this country’s largest city, Toronto. When you consider that many of the unborn babies killed in the early years of legal abortion would by now have had children of their own, you begin to understand how abortion has lead to many of our contemporary problems.

Abortion is a moral wrong, to be sure. But increasingly, we are realizing that there are also disastrous economic consequences of the carnage. Without the labour force that the would-have-been generation provides, schools are closing, consumer markets have shrivelled up, the tax base has shrunk (resulting in budget deficits and forced spending cuts) and the pension system is becoming a major financial liability instead of a self-sustaining insurance scheme.

For those Canadians who have dismissed moral issues, especially abortion, as a private matter, the truth is becoming clearer: abortion has enormous and wide-reaching consequences.

As National Post columnist Andrew Coyne noted, predictions 100 years ago of Canada’s future greatness – for example, Laurier’s boast that the 20th century will belong to Canada – presumed vigorous population growth. Now, it is no longer a matter of greatness, but survival.

The Globe and Mail article added, “Immigration will become one of the most crucial issues of the century for countries such as Canada that have declining birth rates.”