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How to handle the immigration boom

January 25, 2023

By Vancouver Sun

Canada, by virtually any metric, is the most pro-immigration country on earth.

A 2019 global survey by Pew Research found that Canada was the one country most supportive of the notion that immigration “makes our country stronger.” In 2020, a Gallup survey ranked Canada as the world’s most migrant friendly nation. Last September, a poll by the Environics Institute found that 58 per cent of Canadians backed the notion that their country “needs more immigrants.”

Even as the world grows more suspicious of migration, Canada has remained a place where most people like immigrants in their neighbourhoods, aren’t worried about immigrants integrating into Canadian society, and see immigration as critical to the country’s future. When the Angus Reid Institute recently asked Canadians whether they thought immigrants were taking their jobs, 71 per cent said “no.”

Canadian politics reflect this; the country stands virtually alone among peers in having no anti-immigration sentiment among its political mainstream. Even the country’s Conservative Party — which just elected Pierre Poilievre as its leader — is an open booster of high immigration.

“It doesn’t matter if your name is Poilievre or Patel, Martin or Mohamed … you can achieve your dreams in this country,” Poilievre, whose wife immigrated to Canada from Venezuela, told a mostly immigrant crowd in October.

And yet, in recent months Canadians are starting to entertain the uncomfortable thought that all of this might be too much too quickly.

Starting five years ago, the Trudeau government first made public its plans to pursue “the most ambitious immigration levels in recent history.” Annual immigrant arrivals soon surged more than 40 per cent, rising

Canada is now bringing in more immigrants than at any other time in its history. Last year, a record-breaking 431,645 permanent residents entered Canada — an influx almost exactly equivalent to the entire metro population of Halifax. It’s a level of immigration higher even than the brief period before the First World War when Canada was frantically hustling in steamships full of Eastern European immigrants to settle the prairies.

It’s also well beyond the totals of another historically high immigration country, the United States. On a per capita basis, Canada is now bringing in four times more immigrants than the Americans.

And Ottawa is looking to push it higher still. By 2025, Canada is set to receive up to 500,000 newcomers per year. In just the next three years, Canada is planning to bring in enough new Canadians (1.45 million) to equal the entire population of Manitoba.

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