Earlier this month Justin Trudeau unveiled his plan to accept more than 1.2 million legal immigrants over the next four years, steadily increasing Canada’s already astronomically high number of over 300,000 annual immigrants a year. When Erin O’Toole was asked about this policy while being interviewed on CBC, he stated that immigration helps our GDP and economy. This is despite the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has displaced thousands of native Canadian workers. The last thing needed is over-saturating the labour market.
Erin O’Toole has labelled himself as a “True Blue” Conservative and has repeatedly stated that he wants to put “Canadians and Canada First.” His policies however seem to contradict his rhetoric as increasing levels of immigration would only further stagnant wages and make it more difficult for younger Canadians to establish themselves in the job market. In fact, in recent polls, the majority of the population has expressed their desire to limit annual immigration. Bloomberg News reported,
“Only 17% 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. 36% want less immigration, 6.7% are unsure and 40% want to keep the current levels of immigration.”
If Erin O’Toole were to listen to the considerable majority of Canadians, he would advocate for lower annual levels of immigration. Mass migration hurts the social cohesion and fabric of a nation and it is irresponsible, careless and destructive to advocate for a policy that hurts the average Canadian worker and the country itself. The economy, particularly native, blue-collar workers are negatively impacted by mass immigration, especially when it comes to wages. According to George Borjas, a Harvard educated economist,
“When the supply of workers goes up, the price that firms have to pay to hire workers goes down. Wage trends over the past half-century suggest that a 10 percent increase in the number of workers with a particular set of skills probably lowers the wage of that group by at least 3 percent. Even after the economy has fully adjusted, those skill groups that received the most immigrants will still offer lower pay relative to those that received fewer immigrants.”
Mass immigration decreases wages if it is over a relatively short period of time and although the GDP or overall wealth of a nation may rise because of mass immigration, according to Boras:
“Immigration redistributes wealth from those who compete with immigrants to those who use immigrants—from the employee to the employer. The total wealth redistribution from the native losers to the native winners is enormous, roughly a half-trillion dollars a year.”
Although this case study was conducted by an American economist, the same situation is currently happening in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, Canadian wages are at the lowest levels in over two decades. Most Canadians are also unhappy with their current wages, in a poll conducted last year, only 13% of respondents were content with their current wages, the vast majority of those who answered would like to see a significant increase.This will not happen with mass annual immigration. Along with the rise of technology, taking away many manufacturing and retail jobs, if Canada continues to accept and/or increase its already record-breaking number of immigrants per year, this could spell disaster for the average Canadian worker.
Another aspect that mass immigration hurts is the nation’s cultural identity. In order to maintain one’s culture, assimilation is a key factor in integrating new Canadians into wider society. If such a high volume of immigrants can enter our country every year, it may prove to be more difficult for them to assimilate into Canadian culture.
If a substantial number of individuals from one specific region or nation enter at the same time, a community will likely form around their common traits, and the need to assimilate now becomes an option rather than a necessity. Many will primarily spend their time within the local community that shares their ethnicity and/or language. This creates divisions within a country and groups forming their own bubble of fellow ethnic groups. A nation’s culture is shaped through history and shared experiences. If we continuously accept massive waves of immigration, we risk seeing that culture diluted and transformed forever.
This point regarding immigration leads into a greater issue, the Conservative party and its leaders have advocated for policies that are remarkably similar to the Liberals. They agree on crucial issues that the left and right-wing typically disagree with. These include immigration, abortion, foreign aid and healthcare. This leaves the Canadian electorate starved for choice, as they must choose between two parties with very similar beliefs and policies.
Andrew Scheer ran on a campaign where he wouldn’t touch any social issues, and his principal campaign promise was a tax benefit for middle-class households. This strategy proved unsuccessful and did not translate to electoral success. Erin O’Toole must differentiate himself further from the Liberals and grow the backbone necessary to stand up for traditional Conservative principles if he wishes to reside in 24 Sussex Drive after the next election.
*All arguments made and viewpoints expressed within Youth In Politics and its nominal entities do not necessarily reflect the views of the writers or the organization as a whole.