It is the quid pro quo of the refugee crisis, at least in Atlantic Canada, where the provinces are stuck in a demographic death spiral, with rapidly greying populations, young people leaving for jobs someplace else and shrinking tax bases, lurching under the weight of the retired, the sick and the old.
Nowhere is the crisis more acute than New Brunswick. Consider: Canada’s population has grown by a million people over the last three years. New Brunswick’s has shrunk by about 3,500, out of total population of about 750,000. More people die in New Brunswick than are born, while out-migration is occurring at a rate unseen since the mid-1970s.
Now along comes the potential to add 1,500 new faces, and not in a trickle, but in a relatively concentrated wave.
“A lot of the questions around the logistics of this have yet to be determined,” says Brad Woodside, the mayor of Fredericton. “But I can tell you our doors are open for the Syrian refugees.
“This is good news for us.”