Today's discussion:

I am a former immigration minister. Unsustainable population increases won’t solve Canada’s underlying issues

The bottom line is that immigrants, students, and workers chose Canada over centuries because we sustained high levels of growth and high standards of living. Canada’s declining affluence over the past decade undermines this pull factor—and is thus a major threat to our future ability to welcome newcomers.

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Kim Morton

Massive immigration is not a sustainable industry. Indeed, the rapid rise in immigration is costing all of us in the form of huge double digit tax increases to build more infrastructure just to house and move so many more people. In BC, most of our construction industry is not involved in building factories and mines, but building apartments and infrastructure just to take care of the influx of people. And, of course, a 30% rise in the number of government employees at various levels to “administer” all this growth.

15th May 2024 at 9:03 am

A shame that our immigration policy, once the envy of Western nations for its targeted approach and ts point system that addressed the actual needs of provinces and employers, has been set aside or watered down. Alarming too that it will drive down the standard of living of both Canadians and the very people Ottawa has decided to take in en masse. Providing an abundant, cheap pool of labour may be a desired outcome of businesses, but produces consequences that runs counter to the narrative of the Liberal/NDP coalition and their desire to “growing the middle class.” If anything, that too could become an elusive club, far out of reach of many young Canadians, limiting their career options, forcing them to work hard and earn less.

Equally disturbing is the unintended consequences to those coming here and potentially facing an unnecessary backlash from some whose energy is better spent expressing their concerns to the federal government and the deans of universities. The former looks to leverage immigration as part of a misguided legacy project; the latter is intent on filling their campuses and coffers on the backs of a disproportionate number of foreign students, forced to pay overinflated tuition fees and left with something that in the end won’t serve them well in our declining economy. Provided, that is, they bother to stick around afterward by pursuing an easy path to citizenship. Caveat emptor.

15th May 2024 at 11:48 am
Peter Byrne

It doesn’t matter if it’s more people or more electric cars. If you don’t have the infrastructure you can’t support it. And unless you want a bigger welfare state (Justin), you’ll have to make it easier for business to build infrastructure.

15th May 2024 at 10:41 am

The appeal of Canada is not just its institutions or its infrastructure but its physical space and natural resources. Unlike infrastructure keeping up or the ability to create jobs, those advantages are as much about absolute size as the rate of growth. How big is big enough? Housing policy is already increasingly organized around the idea that allowing young and new Canadians to live in formerly-normal houses would require too much farmland, which is an implicit admission that a bigger population already requires a reduced quality of life. (This ignores that the bigger effect of population growth on per-capita farmland, by far, is in the number of people rather than the amount of farmland.)

Canada certainly isn’t full (or on the cusp of not being able to feed itself) but the number of people who can live well in a country is not unlimited either, even with technological change. We might view things differently if we realized rapid growth now both reduces the flexibility that future generations will have to set policy, and even reduces one of the main appeals Canada has over more-crowded European countries. This isn’t solely a question of what level of growth we can accommodate today, or what the effect of GDP is in the present.

15th May 2024 at 9:13 am
Robert Yaro

The author does not discuss the decline in birth rates. These are below replacement levels, that is more Canadians are dying, than being born. There is also a problem in that native born Canadians do not seem to be enthusiastic about taking the jobs that immigrants do. Picking vegetables and fruit, working at Timmies, becoming truck drivers, or working in construction to build all those houses Canada needs. It is not immigration that is causing a drop in affluence for the “average” Canadian, it is the concentration of wealth in fewer and fewer hands.

15th May 2024 at 11:50 am

I agree that adding some context about how immigration interacts with natural increase would be informative, but there is no sense in which 500k immigrants a year are needed to ‘correct’ below-replacement birthrates. That is more people than were born at the peak of the baby boom, so it is certainly not needed to simply prevent decline.

And, the elephant in the room about needing immigrants for construction is that virtually all of the increased need for housing is driven by immigration in the first place. Most increases in construction will go towards treading on accommodating growth, not fixing the pre-existing shortages.

15th May 2024 at 12:59 pm
Ian Gray

Reams are written about our immigration and its positives and negatives. Almost no one, including Mr Alexander, looks to the main elephant in the room and that is the ongoing and long term weakening of the culture of one of the two founding peoples and, of the impact on our native cultures. French Canada is aware and making some effort to defend it but for the rest of the country no one seems to give a second thought to the impact on Canada of bringing in cultures that are antithetical to Judeo-Christian values and practises. I find it bewildering that Mr Alexander calls for greater numbers from Syria and Afghanistan – I am sure Gaza not far behind – people of cultures near antithetical to ours. My response is, NO.

15th May 2024 at 7:18 pm
Angie Dawson

CTV North posted a May 10th interview featuring Don Drummond, former Chief Economist at TD Bank and currently Economist at Queens U.

Within that interview Mr. Drummond said, “If we measured it properly, we actually would say that we are in a recession…” He added, but for the, “phenomenal increase to the population”.

Is it possible that the Liberal government’s agenda (or part of it) to bring a flood of immigrants is to change the metrics to avoid the word, ‘recession’?

15th May 2024 at 3:38 pm
Rupak Datta

I agree 100% that screening of Immigration must be done according to Labour Market Demand and NOT just to fill the quota. I am an Immigrant myself came here in 1968. I am a Mechanical Engineer and 85 now.

15th May 2024 at 3:32 pm

Chris touches on the unsettled world we now live in without giving us numbers of people being moved from their homelands due to conflict, climate change vs any other time in the history of our country. looking backwards will do nothing for anyone… what plans are needed to deal with the instability of this world.

15th May 2024 at 1:43 pm
Michael B

According to the GofC site “asylum claimants-monthly” there have been 500,290 asylum claims reported between Jan. 1 2017 and Apr. 1 2024, with 282,260 reported from Jan. 1 2022 to Apr. 1 2024.
Extrapolating from the earlier months of 2024 this year is shaping up to receive another 187,060, compared to 143,770 in 2023.
The GofC is not providing the percentage of rejected claims. Last I read it was about 30%. From other sources, this country deported some 15,000 individuals from all immigration categories in 2023, so there are innumerable people in this country under deportation orders that will never be enforced.
Canada has an open border and the global population knows it. You can’t blame them if they take full advantage.

15th May 2024 at 12:26 pm
Nancy DeVuyst

Immigrantion.has to stop.
We can not substain thwvnumbers coming in. Its syraining our healyh system, the monies going to new immigrants us costing us taxpayer toomuch money….and housing…..there are not enough units available, the prices charged for renting has increased…and we are housing immigrants in hotels….the $ figures just keeps adding up….the food banks are overrun by immigrants and Canafians that can not make ends meet
Ontatio Works a single mother with one chils who lost her job due to a death in the family only gets a little over 1000$ per month , thankfully she found a job at 17.25 per hour…How much ate we giving to new immigants? Our ststem just can not handle 23% immigrantion….and the Liberals are too imcompetant to realize it, or they just are bobble heads so they can their great pensions…….

15th May 2024 at 12:11 pm