But will the Liberals reassess their policies in light of this admission? Of course not.
As I’ve noted before, the Liberal government often reveals the truth, but only in accidental moments of honesty that quickly disappear.
One such moment took place recently, when Chrystia Freeland admitted that the immigration policies of the Liberal government have contributed to rising housing costs:
ICYMI – Chrystia Freeland blames immigration for Canada’s housing bubble
“it’s just a mathematical thing, Canada has the fastest growing population in the G7”
Freeland is right about the fact that “it’s just a mathematical thing.”
Yet, when others point this out they are usually tagged as ‘anti-immigration’ or ‘racist.’
However, consider the logical flaws exhibited by Freeland in her remarks:
She’s not a disinterested observer of events
Freeland is talking as if she’s simply standing off to the side and witnessing an uncontrollable phenomenon, rather than as the Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister of Canada.
Canada does indeed have the fastest growing population in the G7 (as a percentage of total population), and this is because the Liberal government has made that a deliberate goal of their policy.
If a country rapidly increases immigration, and the housing stock does not keep up with that increase, then housing prices will increase.
This is not the only reason housing prices have increased, but it is one of the reasons.
A mature country can discuss immigration without getting overly emotional
Ironically, Freeland shedding light on the link between immigration and housing prices is something that we should be hearing from across the political spectrum.
An honest and mature country can discuss both the benefits and challenges posed by immigration.
Immigration brings many benefits to Canada, including new perspectives, a synthesis of different views that drives creativity and innovation, a deep appreciation of freedom and liberty among those who fled totalitarian states, and an entrepreneurial mindset among many newcomers. It also benefits Canada’s reputation as a haven for people from around the world, support for our economy amid an aging population, and family reunification that helps build new generations of Canadians.
Immigration can also present challenges, including clashing worldviews when some bring ways of thinking that are opposed to Liberal Democracy and Individual Freedom, strains on social services, tensions between groups who bring old conflicts to a new country, higher housing prices as mentioned by Freeland, the driving down of wages for those already in the country, and – in very rare and specific instances – national security concerns when a foreign country uses selected new arrivals as tools to try and coerce or influence public opinion/infiltrate institutions abroad.
A mature nation can acknowledge the benefits and concerns, without devolving into personal attacks.
Currently, Canada is bringing in about 460,000 people per year, which – as Freeland noted – is the highest in the G7 on a per capita basis.
In any other nation, support for half of that number would be the maximalist pro-immigration position. Yet in Canada, anyone who deviates from the orthodoxy on the issue – which is a demand for supporting whatever the highest number is – gets demonized.
For example, even as the son of an immigrant and as a supporter of the immigration levels we had just 5 or 6 years ago, I have been called ‘anti-immigration’ by those who choose to eschew nuance.
Unfortunately, Canada’s ability to make informed and logical policy decisions about the long-term future of our country is severely hampered by the immature and overly emotional nature of the immigration discussion in Canada. Coupled with politicians who often would rather appeal to narrowly targeted group grievances than bring people together in the shared and unifying values of Western liberal democracy and individual freedom, and many of those in power feel an incentive to ensure that Canada never discusses immigration in a balanced manner.
Yet, as Freeland accidently made clear, it’s just a mathematical thing.
Population growth is not the same as per capita GDP growth
The most concerning thing about Freeland’s remarks was how she equated population growth with GDP growth.
It’s concerning because it is such a simple logical fallacy that someone in the position of Finance Minister should never come close to making.
Personally, I don’t think Freeland is ignorant – after all she certainly sees the link between rapid population increases and housing costs – so the most reasonable explanation is that it’s all about politics.
We’ve discussed before how a growth in population of a country means nothing in terms of actual productivity.
If we doubled Canada’s population tomorrow our overall GDP would increase, but our per capita GDP would massively diminish. Each individual Canadian would be poorer. And that is what really matters when assessing the impact of economic policy.
Is our country keeping pace with similar nations on a per-capita GDP basis, or are we falling behind?
Unfortunately for Canadians, our country is led by those who – like Chrystia Freeland – have no commitment to fostering per-capita GDP growth, and seek to cover-up their damaging policies with population increases.
High immigration to ‘offset’ economic policy failures
Let’s look at this a little deeper.
It would seem the Liberal government requires higher and higher immigration to ‘offset’ the impact of their economic policy failures.
Consider that the carbon tax, hostility to the energy sector, legislation that sacrifices economic growth for unrealistic climate goals, and immense borrowing all have the impact of slowing growth while driving up prices.
Like a ponzi-scheme, the only way to maintain the status quo is to continually add new people. So, by rapidly increasing immigration the Liberal government can make our debts appear more sustainable, can point to an economy that is technically ‘larger,’ and can drive up prices. Since we – falsely – equate higher prices with something being more ‘valuable’ (rather than our money losing value), this combination of a higher population and higher prices fits many people’s surface-level definition of economic growth.
Then, when people look around and feel poorer and poorer despite all the ‘growth’ supposedly taking place, they blame people other than the government.
This is why the usual targets of anger when an economy struggles – ‘big businesses,’ ‘immigrants,’ ‘welfare cheats,’ ‘the greedy rich,’ are all unfairly-targeted scapegoats. The real blame and responsibility rests with governments who hold back our economic progress, devalue our currency, and demonize those who want a mature conversation about the future of our country.
So, while Chrystia Freeland may have accidently admitted part of the truth about Canada’s absurdly high housing prices, the government she is a part of continues with an approach that will only make Canada’s economic challenges far worse.
Photo – @inklessPW Twitter