Immigration Restriction Goes Mainstream

At a news conference on April 2nd, Justin Trudeau reluctantly departed his warm and cozy internal world of ideological certainty, and briefly entered the gritty and unpleasant land of consensus reality.

Our Prime Minister finally stopped denying the drop-dead obvious, and admitted that the number of foreign workers and international students on our soil “has grown at a rate far beyond what Canada has been able to absorb”. In that case, will he issue an apology to all the Canadians he labelled racist for saying that immigration is too high?

As the Liberal’s open-door immigration policy came under increasing criticism over the past year, Trudeau remained remarkably uncompromising.

When columnists in major newspapers started writing pieces on the issue, he ignored them. When the National Bank of Canada released a bombshell report revealing that mass immigration is lowering living standards, he did not address it. When the news emerged that our population grew by 1.2 million in 2023, a revelation which alarmed Canadians of all political stripes, Trudeau was silent.

It was not the stories of overwhelmed emergency departments and overcrowded classrooms, nor the sight of tent cities from his motorcade, that convinced Trudeau to concede that immigration is too high. In all likelihood, it was something much more traumatic: an aide handing him the latest poll numbers!

According to Nanos Research, fewer Canadians are considering voting Liberal than at any point since Trudeau was first elected. 338Canada, a statistical model based on aggregate opinion poll data, projects that the Conservatives would win the majority of ridings in every province outside Quebec if an election were held today. The model predicts a Conservative majority of 210 seats, with the Liberals plummeting to just 63.

A significant factor behind this freefall in support is the housing crisis, which worries the vast majority of Canadians. If you are not affected personally, you almost certainly know someone who is. At every rally, Pierre Poilievre condemns Trudeau for allowing housing costs to double under his watch – to thunderous applause from the crowd.

In a Leger poll, three out of four Canadians said the massive influx of newcomers under the Trudeau government is contributing to rising housing costs. According to an Abacus poll, a majority of Canadians in all demographics want lower immigration: every age group, both sexes, every region, and every political party. A resounding 68% of native-born Canadians want lower immigration, along with 62% of immigrants themselves.

It is rare to find a consensus this broad on any issue. Opposing mass immigration is now as Canadian as maple syrup and plaid shirts. Immigration restriction is so popular that even the immigrants are getting into it!

The federal government’s concession has been to restrict temporary immigration (international students and foreign workers). Trudeau says the permanent residency stream will not be touched.

But the immigration restriction train has already left the station. Trudeau’s unpopular ideology of post-nationalism has awakened a sense of nationalism which has long been lying dormant in the Canadian consciousness. About time!

Editor’s note: My Counter Current column is published once every two weeks in the Islands Marketplace paper on Salt Spring Island ( This piece was published on April 5th, 2024.

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