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Trudeau’s open arms to newcomers become stale in the face of Canada’s housing crisis

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada has historically relied on immigration to boost economic growth and close labor shortages, but he is now pulling back due to a significant shift in public opinion that may make it more difficult for him to win the next election.
As prime minister in the early 1970s, Pierre Trudeau—the father of Justin Trudeau—supported immigration and promoted “multiculturalism” as official government policy. Like the maple leaf and hockey, Canadians have learned to embrace the nation’s diversity as an integral part of who they are.

However, as a result of rising housing costs and the strain on public services like healthcare, the public’s mood worsened as international students drove a wave of immigration in the wake of the pandemic.
“One of the reasons why we got here in the first place was that (provincial and federal) governments just didn’t want to touch this issue out of a fear of looking xenophobic,” stated Mike Moffatt, the founding director of the Place Centre, a think tank that focuses on sustainable housing, as to why they came to this conclusion in the first place.

According to data by Ekos Research, a polling organization, Canadians’ support for immigration fell from historically high levels in 2020 to a three-decade low at the end of 2023.
A 30-year low of 14% in February 2022 was replaced by 44.5% of Canadians in October who told Ekos there were too many immigrants, with the primary cause being a lack of affordable housing. In the last quarter of the previous year, rental inflation reached 7.8%.

The stakes are high for Trudeau since Pierre Poilievre, the leader of the Conservative Party, is his main competitor and has a strong lead in surveys. To win a fourth national election, which is probably going to happen next year, Trudeau needs to win back millions of votes.
“The chickens are coming home to roost,” stated Toronto-based immigration analyst and expert Kareem El-Assal. “There was a bit of hubris, thinking that we can just increase our immigration and temporary resident levels in perpetuity without there being any blowback whatsoever.”

Trudeau’s Liberal government has gradually increased immigration since assuming office in 2015, in a nation where over 25% of the population is foreign-born. The population increased last year at the quickest rate in over 60 years, virtually entirely as a result of immigration.

Poilievre has stated, but he has not yet disclosed how, that he is going to link the number of arrivals with housing supply. However, Poilievre has refrained from seizing the opportunity to capitalize on immigration issues, unlike Republican leaders in the United States, as he needs support from immigrant populations in order to beat Trudeau.
“The Conservatives, in my view, can’t exploit this issue,” senator and former labor leader Hassan Yussuff stated. According to Yussuff, Poilievre will need to prevail in metropolitan areas where second- and third-generation immigrants are concentrated in order to win the election.

Nevertheless, the federal administration was forced to reduce the number of overseas study licenses by 35% to 360,000 beginning in April and to cap the number of people awarded permanent resident status at 500,000 beginning next year due to the shift in public opinion.

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Dulal Ahmed Chowdhury is the Editor of The Daily Dazzling Dawn. Previously, he has been serving in important positions in all the famous national dailies of the Bangladesh since the nineties. He has played a commendable role in journalism by participating in various events at the national and international levels. United Nations Conference, World Climate Conference, SAARC Summit are notable among them.

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