Glad to see some consensus on this by the Liberals and Tories at Queen's Park. The demographic shake-out of Canada -- the huge growth of the Ontario West and the relative stagnation of the provinces east of the Ottawa River -- will be the biggest problem facing Canada in the next generation. My kids and people of their age group will have to answer the political questions that arise when British Columbia and Alberta surpass Quebec in population and GDP. Together, those provinces are approaching that point now. In thirty years, each one will do so separately.
Quebec has already slipped, in my lifetime, from having 25% of the country's population to having about 20%. Ontario and Quebec had almost identical populations during Canada's Centennial year in 1967. Now Ontario has almost double. Quebec's population is about 7.2 million. Ontario's is 12.8 million. Both were at about 6 million in 1967. Quebec's birthrate is below replacement, and the median age of its population is older than the national average. Ontario's GDP was $537.604 billion in 2005. Quebec's was $274.863 billion, almost exactly half. Here in Ottawa, people still talk and act as though Ontario and Quebec are close to being equal in population and GDP. The demographic and political realities of the 1960s were supposed to be frozen in time by Meech Lake and Charlottetown. Canada's elites could then pretend that Quebec's suicidal social, economic and language policies had no impact on Quebec's growth. Fortunately, as Canada evolves, its people will be able to fully discuss the implications of population change.
The Toronto Star's Ian Urquhart writes a good column on the issue, coming close to answering the question: "Why won't some federal party stand up for Ontario?"