Poilievre Conservatives non-committal on curbing Trudeau's immigration levels

The Conservative Party pledged to 'clean up Trudeau's mess' and table an immigration policy tied to healthcare, housing, and jobs. However, MP Tom Kmiec, the Conservative Immigration critic, would not yet commit to lowering Trudeau's arbitrary annual immigration targets.

Poilievre Conservatives silent on curbing Trudeau's immigration levels
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The Official Opposition wants immigration levels tied to the labour and housing market but has not yet committed to reducing current levels.

“Whatever it comes out to, that will be the number,” said Conservative immigration critic Tom Kmiec on The Andrew Lawton Show. “If it’s lower, it’s lower. If it’s higher, it’s higher.”

New Leger polling suggests curbing immigration is gaining popularity among newcomers who came to Canada within the past decade.

Among people who immigrated to Canada in the last decade, nearly half (42%) said the Trudeau Liberals are admitting too many immigrants into the country.

According to Immigration Levels Plan, the Trudeau Liberals are expecting to add 485,000 permanent residents this year, followed by half-a-million in each of 2025 and 2026.

Those targets are up from less than 300,000 immigrants yearly when the Liberals came to power in 2015.

Among the more than 2,000 respondents, 41% are permanent residents and 15% are on work permits. Roughly a quarter are Canadian citizens, with the rest identifying as either international students or refugees.

Of those who disagreed with Canada’s record immigration levels, 47% arrived in Canada between six and 10 years ago, compared to the 38% who immigrated within the past five years, according to the Leger poll.

Andrew Enns, Leger vice-president, said the numbers adamantly reflect the current state of Canadian politics.

A Leger poll published last November showed three-quarters of Canadians oppose more immigration, citing a growing strain on the housing market and essential services, like healthcare. Compared to March 2022, the number of people who want more immigration has halved to 9%.

“It sends along a pretty interesting insight in terms of how things might be shifting within ethnic communities, and what people tend to assume and admittedly what we saw over the past couple of elections,” said Enns in a request for comment by The National Post.

Although 22% of respondents said they would support the Liberal Party, 24% would vote Conservative, according to the poll. Whereas 38% remain undecided.

“The Liberals typically do quite well with the newcomer vote,” he noted.

Rebel News asked the Conservative Party to explain why it had not committed to reduced immigration levels despite its ample criticism of current targets. The publication did not receive a direct response to the question.

“After nine years of Justin Trudeau, our immigration system is broken,” said Conservative immigration critic Tom Kmiec. “From doubled housing costs to the highest inflation in four decades, Justin Trudeau created a colossal mess for which he refuses to take any responsibility,” he added.

The Conservative Party pledged to “clean up his mess” and table an immigration policy tied to healthcare, housing, and jobs. Kmiec refrained from replacing arbitrary immigration quotas with more arbitrary numbers.

In addition, Kmiec previously rejected implementing a values test for newcomers in an interview with True North. “I don’t want my government determining which values it supports and which it doesn’t. I don't like it [because] … that’s been the Liberal government of Canada,” he said.

Rebel asked if the party refrained from such statements to avoid losing support from minority groups. They did not directly answer the question.

When asked if this represents a departure of proposed Harper-era policies less than a decade ago, the party did not respond.

“What assurances will voters have that the CPC won’t gradually become another Liberal Party?” the publication asked. No response was given.

That comes on the heels of a non-binding Bloc Québécois motion to curb immigration levels within 100 days. It passed with Conservative support in February.

“Canadians strongly disagree with the immigration policies of what is left of this government,” said Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet at the time. 

The motion urged the Liberal cabinet to meet with the provinces “to consult them on their respective integration capacities.” 

“Everyone is being crushed by health care costs, education costs and other costs,” Blanchet told MPs. “This … is a Canada-wide issue.”

The number of non-permanent residents residing in Canada has increased by nearly 700,000 to 2.2 million since July 2022, with the number of immigrants up by 468,817, according to the most recent immigration data.

The country grew by more than one million people last year, and the 2.7% growth year-over-year compared to 2021 represents a new record.

Notably, Canada’s population hit 40 million residents last June, and could surpass 50 million people by 2050 should current immigration levels persist. 

“We know the immigration system is broken,” said Kmiec. “We know it is not working with what the government is doing.”

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