Crisis? What crisis?

Following the cabinet shuffle in July, Canada’s freshly minted immigration minister, Marc Miller, has repeatedly reiterated that his government is not considering reducing immigration levels despite Canada’s housing crisis.

The competition for housing is so intense that house prices have doubled since Miller’s boss, Justin Trudeau, came to power in 2015. The impacts of this crisis are being felt by those whose hopes of ever being able to afford a home are being dashed, those who are losing their current living space because they can no longer afford rising mortgage rates or rental payments, and those who are actually becoming homeless.

The housing crisis, and the subsequent push to build, build, build and fill in every nook and cranny with more housing and more people, is behind the drive to plop multiplex infills into greenspace-rich neighbourhoods zoned for single detached houses, to further densify neighbourhoods that many would consider plenty dense already, and to build high-rises in every conceivable location. Liveable neighbourhoods with lots of space and trees? What a bourgeois concept!

Ontario Premier Doug Ford is Exhibit A for how the federal government’s push to drive up Canada’s population for bogus economic reasons is making a mockery of what were once zoning laws, municipal council decision-making processes, and environmental protection laws. As we have previously discussed, Ford’s government has recently engaged in an orgy of passing bills to build more homes and more highways, bypass or repeal legislation to protect farmland and natural areas, and to limit the power of municipalities to resist the juggernaut of growth. It’s not my fault, says Ford, who seems to have a pretty cozy relationship with Trudeau. He welcomes all those newcomers Trudeau is bringing in, Ford says, but a whole lot of them come to Ontario, and we have to put them somewhere. And what better place to put them than on the Greenbelt around the Greater Toronto Area (GTA)? Especially if big chunks of it are owned by his buddies, who stand to make billions from the rezoning of those chunks. Oh, yeah, some corruption may be involved as well.

Photo by Avel Chuklanov on Unsplash

The federal government could put a stop to, or very significantly alleviate, the housing crisis simply by reducing demand for that limited supply. This would easily be done by cutting back on immigration – and Justin Trudeau’s own father set the example. In the last year that Pierre Trudeau was prime minister (1984), Canada accepted only 88,300 newcomers – for economic, not ideological, reasons. With a country already groaning under the weight of mass immigration, Justin Trudeau’s government is aiming for 500,000 by 2025, but in reality has been accepting far higher numbers. The total number of new arrivals in Canada in 2022 was over one million. Is anyone surprised that there is a housing crisis?

Not my circus, not my monkeys?

Yet the man responsible for creating this catastrophic situation, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, washes his hands of responsibility. “I’ll be blunt as well,” he says, “housing isn’t primarily a federal responsibility. It’s not something we have direct charge of,” as if his ramping up demand through immigration had nothing to do with the supply problem the provinces and municipalities have to contend with. “But,” he adds with a hint of noblesse oblige, “this is something we can and must help with.” Kind of like an arsonist helpfully pouring buckets of water on the fire he has set. (It’s worth noting that while Trudeau is the obvious culprit for creating this crisis, it is becoming harder and harder to ignore the role of the Century Initiative and possibly even higher-level globalist organizations in steering Canada’s immigration policies. But this is the subject of other articles, past and future.)

Immigration minister Marc Miller shares his boss’s aversion to taking responsibility for the housing crisis. On August 11 he told reporters, “If I were to move countries, I don’t think I would expect the host government to provide me with a house.”

Yet while he abdicates responsibility for helping the newcomers his government invited with the impossible housing situation his government created, he does for some reason seem to hold the host government accountable for any mental health problems the newcomer may have as a result of being separated from his or her extended family.

“If people are asking us to slash, what does that mean? Does that mean slashing the skilled workers that we need to actually build those houses? Slash family reunification, which can be devastating for the mental health and the well being of families that are already here?”

But wait, isn’t “immigration” by definition about choosing to leave your country of origin and moving to another? Why should the host country be held accountable for any anxiety you feel about being separated from family that you yourself chose to leave? To be clear, the family reunification referred to here is not about allowing spouses and dependent children to accompany an applicant, but about bringing in parents, siblings, cousins and other members of the extended family. If the migrant’s mental health is so fragile that he can’t cope with the stress of moving to a new country without bringing in much of his kith and kin, wouldn’t he be better off staying at home?

Photo by Nik Shuliahin on Unsplash

How can the same government that is so concerned about the mental health of migrants separated from their extended family wash its hands of responsibility for essentially setting so many of them up for failure when it comes to finding accommodation? Newsflash: not having a place to live can be very hard on one’s mental health.

Guilting Canadians for raising concerns about government-created problems

And on the subject of mental health, it would behoove Mr. Miller to consider the well-being of resident Canadian workers and their families – the ones who are paying his salary. What is the toll on their mental health of being priced out of the housing market by the hundreds of thousands, even up to a million, of immigrants arriving each year? What if the government spent the $35 billion (2014 estimate) that it spends on recent immigrants each year on helping resident Canadians get timely access to mental health services, including veterans, who Trudeau thinks are asking for more than his government can give?

Marc Miller says that “We have to get away from this notion that immigrants are the major cause of housing pressures and the increase in home prices.” He is absolutely right if he means that his own government, not immigrants, is to blame. But of course that’s not what he means. His government refuses to take responsibility for the crisis it is creating, and simply advocates more immigration to solve the problem that immigration itself has created.

Says Miller, “Certainly, the doubling or tripling of home equity values or the cost for someone … to buy [a home] has increased … has very little to do with immigration.” It seems that only a fool would think a rapidly and relentlessly rising demand for a commodity whose supply can only be increased much more slowly would have any impact on the cost of that commodity. And apparently some of those fools are top mainstream economists who are raising concerns about immigration levels. One wonders where Marc Miller took Economics 101.

Photo by Unsplash with Getty Images

Mr. Miller continues, “If people want dental care, health care and affordable housing that they expect, the best way to do that is to get that skilled labour in this country.” But isn’t bringing skilled labour into the country allegedly what we have been doing for the past 33 years, after the government of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney increased immigration targets to 250,000 in 1990? How is it that 33 years of mass immigration has not alleviated those labour shortages that keep threatening Canada’s economy? Apparently we need mass immigration to bring in skilled labour to build houses to resolve the housing crisis that mass immigration has created. Get it?

Miller implicitly chides Canadians for their flagging support for high immigration levels. “In every wave of migration that Canada has had, there has been a segment of folks that have blamed immigrants for taking houses, taking jobs, you name it. Those are people that don’t necessarily have the best interest of immigrants at heart and we have to call that out when we see it and we won’t hesitate to do that.”

Denying reality doesn’t make it go away

Call them out for having to contend with reality, Mr. Miller? According to a very recent statement by Statistics Canada, the record 39,000 jobs that Canada added to the economy in August were only half as many as would have been needed to keep up with a population that surged by 103,000 newcomers during that month. In fact, despite all these new jobs, the percentage of working-age adults actually declined by 0.1%.

So here’s where we call you out, Mr. Miller. Whatever your government’s ideological motive for implementing policies of mass immigration that hurt Canadian workers, devour farmland and decimate both the natural environment and urban greenspace, your primary duty, as a minister in the government of Canada, is not to people who would like to come to Canada. It is to people who are already here. They’re called Canadians. And the fact that your mass immigration policies are having a negative impact on their ability to find affordable housing, to find jobs that pay a liveable income, and on their quality of life in general, is something that rightly concerns them and should concern you a lot more than it apparently does. Much as you may try to insist that there is no connection among an increasingly large number of dots, Canadians are starting to make those connections. That may bode ill for your government.

Photo by Nathaniel Bowman on Unsplash
Madeline Weld, Ph.D.
President, Population Institute Canada
Tel: (613) 833-3668
Email: [email protected]
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