Documents obtained by Calgary’s Western Standard magazine reportedly confirm anecdotal evidence that communities around Toronto and in B.C.’s Lower Mainland with a high proportion of immigrants from China and India have significantly more baby boys than girls. Sons are said to be favoured because they continue the family name and are presumably better able to support their parents.
“Compared to other areas of Canada,” reporter Andrea Mrozek stated, “the deviation is as obvious as it is sobering. To put all of it into perspective, since the communities mentioned above have seen hundreds of thousands of live births in the last decade, the number of missing daughters may be somewhere in the thousands.”
One internal document from the B.C. Women’s Hospital in Vancouver dated earlier this year, said Mrozek, deals with a presentation to health care workers on how to respond to “implicit or even express requests” for sex-selection abortions.
Perhaps most notably, it reveals the moral ambiguity many abortion providers feel over sex selection. On the one hand, it acknowledges that these procedures, among other things, “violate the principle of equality between males and females.” And yet it rationalizes the need to provide them by claiming that “not allowing sex selection causes increased harm to women who must endure repeated pregnancies in efforts to have a son.” Nor was it clear “if banning sex selection will benefit women.”
And from the article itself:
Extrapolation from Statistics Canada census data reveals that in several areas highly populated by immigrants from India and China, the gender ratios are often as out of proportion as they are in Gujarat. Boys and girls aren't supposed to be born with equal frequency, of course. Mother Nature accounts for the higher male mortality rate by producing, under normal circumstances, 105 boys for every 100 girls. But in Surrey, where Heather Stilwell noticed she was handing out more dinosaur books and fewer pink bookbags, and where the total population of nearly 350,000 includes 114,725 immigrants--35,380, or nearly a third, of whom are from India--the number is dramatically different. In 2003, instead of 105 boys to every girl, there were 109. In 2000, it was nearly 111, in 1999, 107, and in 1998, 110.
In Coquitlam, B.C., where Chinese immigrants currently make up 12 per cent of the population, for every 100 girls born in 2003, there were 112 boys. In 2001, it was 109, and in 2000, there was a startling 16 per cent gap--116 boys to 100 girls. In 1998, it was 115 boys. It's the same story in Richmond, B.C. In the city of 164,345, roughly 64,270 people arrived via China or Hong Kong. There, it was 112 baby boys to every 100 girls in 2003. In 2000, the ratio was 111 to 100. In 1997, 114 to 100.
In areas around Toronto boasting large clusters of arrivals from India and China, the numbers are every bit as aberrant. In north Etobicoke, where the population is made up of large numbers of Indian immigrants, the 2001 boy-to-girl ratio for kids under age 4 was 110 to 100. In heavily Sikh areas of Brampton, parents had 109 boys to every 100 girls. In the neighbourhood encompassing Toronto's eastern Chinatown, 108 boys to 100 girls. In southern Scarborough, where large numbers of Indian immigrants have settled, it was 107 boys to 100 girls.
Compared to other areas of Canada, the deviation is as obvious as it is sobering. To put all of it into perspective, since the communities mentioned above have seen hundreds of thousands of live births in the last decade, the number of missing daughters may be somewhere in the thousands.