The longer this continues, the more Canada’s economy resembles a ponzi-scheme, which can only be kept afloat by bringing in more and more people to prop up an unsustainable system.
There are many reasons Canada’s housing market is so out of control.
We have some absurd restrictions on building new homes, with development regulations that incentivize the construction of downtown condo’s, while blocking off large sections of cities – and the outskirts of cities – where new housing stock could be generated.
We have the Bank of Canada printing massive amounts of money, driving up inflation and juicing the housing market even further.
We have an economy that is itself held back by taxes and regulations, making it tougher and tougher to actually build anything in this country, forcing a growing reliance on an overheated housing market to generate ‘growth,’ something which is obviously unsustainable.
But there’s something else going on here as well:
Canada’s high immigration levels.
During the Harper years, the government settled on bringing in roughly 260,000 people per year.
That would be equivalent to the US bringing in about 2.4 million people yearly, about double the general average in that country.
Consider that the US is considered a high immigration nation, so Canada could easily have cut immigration in half from the Harper levels and still been considered one of the most welcoming countries to immigrants.
However, we didn’t cut those numbers.
Instead, under the Trudeau government, they have gone up dramatically.
On October 30, 2020, the Trudeau government announced their new targets from 2021-2023:
“Following the tabling of the 2020 Annual Report to Parliament on Immigration, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) is pleased to release details on the Government of Canada’s Immigration Levels Plan for 2021-2023. Canada aims to welcome 401,000 new permanent residents in 2021, 411,000 in 2022, and 421,000 in 2023.”
This is a huge increase from where we were just a few years ago.
Public opinion ignored
What do Canadians think about this?
Well, just days before the Liberals announced this surge in immigration levels, a Leger survey showed a majority of people opposing the increase:
“New data suggests that Canadians are feeling skittish about any future increases in immigration levels for the next 12 months.
Fifty-two per cent of those polled by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies want to see the currently low levels of immigration maintained for at least a year.
The data comes as the federal government prepares to unveil later this week its immigration targets for the coming year.”
A further survey, conducted by Nanos shortly after the Liberals announced their immigration numbers, showed strong opposition as well:
“Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may struggle to sell his ambitious new immigration plan to Canadians, a new survey shows.
Only 17 per cent of respondents say the country should accept more immigrants in 2021 than it did last year, according to a Nanos Research Group poll conducted for Bloomberg News. That suggests most Canadians are less than enthusiastic about aggressive new targets announced last week.”
Overall, 17% wanted more immigrants, while 40% wanted ‘the same number,’ and 36.3% wanted ‘fewer’.
6.7% were unsure.
While some have claimed this is simply a reaction the Wuhan Virus pandemic, the reality is that opposition to higher immigration has been in place for some time in Canada.
A Leger poll from June of 2019 showed 63% of respondents saying “the government should prioritize limiting immigration levels because the country might be reaching a limit in its ability to integrate them.”
Meanwhile, “Just 37 per cent said the priority should be on growing immigration to meet the demands of Canada’s expanding economy.”
This has been repeatedly ignored by the Liberal government, and also by the Conservatives.
While a clear majority of Canadians – and an even larger majority of Conservatives – want lower immigration than what the Liberals are proposing, the Conservative have been unwilling to take that position, instead siding with the political and corporate class.
Canada’s politicians and large corporations have nothing to lose, and everything to gain from higher immigration, since it reduces the bargaining power of Canadian workers, and makes it easy to acquire cheap, low-paid, desperate workers who will unfortunately put up with being treated worse and paid worse.
It’s supply and demand.
And that brings us to the impact of massive immigration levels on the housing market
It stands to reason that if you are bringing in large numbers of people every year, putting restrictions on housing supply expansion, printing a bunch of money, and restricting the growth of the real economy, you are going to end up with a housing market that is completely untethered from true market forces.
Further, if you add in a good dose of foreign speculation – allowing foreign millionaires and billionaires to price Canadian Citizens out of our own cities – you will make things even worse.
And that’s the situation we have today.
The impact of this is devastating in multiple ways, with an entire ‘lost generation’ delaying the formation of families, delaying (or never achieving), the purchase of their first home, losing an opportunity to build generational wealth and lowering the number of Canadian Citizens who build strong families that enrich our nation for the long-term.
Now, some will say “well, Canada’s immigration went down and the housing market still went up, so how can immigration be the problem?” Of course, that would ignore the massive amount of money the Bank of Canada injected into the system this year, which boosted the housing market when every other factor should have had it drop.
The fact is, given how those outside Canada are often given priority over Canadians, Canada is increasingly like an international hotel that works for foreign elites, while the actual Canadian People are abandoned.
A restricted debate on restricting immigration
This is a consequence of how the immigration debate – outside Quebec – has been so restricted in this country.
Any mention of cutting immigration is blasted as ‘racist,’ and political consultants often claim that talk of cutting immigration will render someone ‘unelectable.’
Of course, with many surveys showing large majorities of Canadians opposing higher immigration, and given that many Canadians descend from immigrants or are themselves immigrants, it’s obvious that many new Canadians and first-generation Canadians also oppose higher immigration levels.
I am the son of an immigrant myself, and it would be absurd to think that being descended from immigrants somehow denies someone the right to their own opinion on the future of Canada’s immigration levels.
The fact is, Canada’s out of control housing market is a serious crisis, and a serious long-term risk for this country, as it is both damaging millions of our fellow Citizens, and distorting our already-vulnerable and ponzi-style economy.
To address this issue, we must be able and willing to address all aspects of it, and Canada’s high immigration levels simply cannot be ignored if we want our country to have housing that is affordable for our own Citizens.
Photo – YouTube