The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Canadian Housing And Immigration Policy

So, Canada has done two interesting things in the last couple years to deal with the effects of Covid. The first is let in a lot more immigrants:

Canada added more than 431,000 new permanent residents last year, the largest annual increase in its history, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau seeks to ease the country’s labor shortages.

The new admissions met the 2022 target set by Trudeau’s government and exceeded the prior year’s record of about 401,000 newcomers, according to a release from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada on Tuesday.

The Canadian government has consistently raised its annual immigration goals in recent years, with the latest plan targeting 465,000 new permanent residents this year and half a million in 2025. The policies have also propelled population growth to a fresh record and may be contributing to a decline in the country’s median age.

Immigration accounts for nearly all of Canada’s labor-force growth and about 75% of the nation’s population growth.

When you realize that the Canadian population is only about 39 million you’ll understand how radically large this number of immigrants is.

This is an attempt to keep wages and inflation down. Without immigrants, wages would rise quickly, and that can’t be allowed, since Canada, like most developed countries, considers wage inflation almost the only type of inflation which matters.

Almost. To my surprise, Trudeau has decided to do something about housing inflation (something I’ve been calling for for many years):

A two-year ban on some foreigners buying homes in Canada has come into effect.

The ban aims to help ease one of the most unaffordable housing markets in the world.

As of this summer, the average home price in Canada is C$777,200 ($568,000; £473,700) – more than 11 times the median household income after taxes….

…As of 1 January, the ban prohibits people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents from buying residential properties, and imposes a C$10,000 fine on those who breach it.

This won’t be enough to cool the housing market much, though the last year has seen a slight decrease in prices. Still, Canada remains one of the most expensive markets in the world: more than New Zealand or the USA.

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(Correction: In addition to a fine, the government can order the house sold, but it’s not automatic and should be)/ In addition a ban of all AirBnB rentals not of the own person’s home (or perhaps one vacation property) and the seizure of all non vacation/summer housing left empty of residents for more than 3 months for any reason other than ongoing renovations would actually cut prices and rents significantly.

The Canadian government needs a lot more people to keep wages down, but if immigrants can’t find housing in cities with jobs (and they can’t, the markets are insanely pricey and few rental units are available at prices immigrants can afford), then the immigration push might well stall out.

Thus the attempt to cool the housing market. This is more intelligent policy than I’m used to from Western governments, but it’s still in service of expanding inequality, virtually the only priority of most developed world nations.

Nonetheless, a golf clap for Prime Minister Trudeau. He’s stupid and venal, but not a complete idiot.


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  1. NR

    Ian, I believe that in addition to the fine, the government can also force the buyer to sell the property they purchased. According to an article I read about it, anyway.

  2. Kevin

    The obvious, effective and easy to implement penalty is exactly what you recommend. I think that the actual penalty marks this as a way for the liberals to say they’ve done something without actually impinging on the market.

  3. Ian Welsh

    OK, looked into it some more.

    “Non-Canadians found in contravention of the ban will be fined up to $10,000 and may be ordered to sell the property, according to the legislation.”

    Updated the article, thanks for the catch.

  4. different clue

    Middle-class non-resident wannabe house-buyers may well be deterred by the prospect of a $10,000 fine and the possibility of being forced to sell the house. And since middle-class people have very little power, the CanadaGov would suffer very little vengeance for fining and/or force-saling these people.

    How much of the non-resident house-buying is done by millionaires and billionaires? Those are people who would treat a $10,000 fine as a cost of buying a house or houses. And would the CanadaGov dare to try forcing a millionaire, much less a billionaire, to sell an illegitimately bought house? If it would, then that could have an effect.

  5. Trinity

    I was going to say that this: “imposes a C$10,000 fine on those who breach it.” wouldn’t stop the richest at all, as up to 10K is just a big night out on the town for them.

    If they did this in the US, fewer people would be homeless, but they won’t do it.

    It does show the futility (over the long term) of their greed/insanity. It will be interesting (sort of) to watch them keep pivoting in their continuing effort to maintain control and keep the money flowing. At some point they will fail, as everything is on the verge of failing. Maybe we will be able to laugh a little when they start to get “desperate”. Maybe. None of it is even remotely funny in truth.

  6. NR

    If they did this in the US, fewer people would be homeless, but they won’t do it.

    That’s not exactly right. In the U.S., the problem isn’t foreigners buying up housing, it’s real estate investment groups buying up housing. These groups buy up tons of homes and then either rent them out at exorbitantly high rates, or hold them off market to inflate prices and then sell for way more than they bought for. It’s example #58974397253 of predatory capitalism.

    What’s needed to deal with this is legislation that does a couple of things: first, limits what percentage of housing any given company or group can own within a certain geographic area (with a very low limit, like 5% at most). And second, some kind of tax or penalty on homes that sit empty for more than a certain amount of time (with an exception for primary residences, of course). That would do a lot to rein in housing prices in the U.S.

  7. capelin

    Ian, your clear analysis of immigration dynamics and machinations are a strong suite, and going back to your writing on how trump was tapping into worker’s legit concerns, was one of the things that accelerated my understanding of the “right wing” political universe.

    There’s also a new annual 1% Federal tax on the value of foreign-owned “unused” properties. Depending on how “unused” is defined, it could mess up the little guy while being a cost of business for the elites.

    For example, this year Nova Scotia tried a double whammy on foreign ownership, I think it was a 2% annual and a 2.5% at sale. They eventually shit-canned the whole idea, but not before generating a whole lot of bad tourism press and bad faith amonst people with a connection to and an inherited house that would’ve fallen in by now if they hadn’t supported the local economy by keeping it alive for decades.

    Property ownership and stewardship isn’t necessarily a straight-forward thing, especially in the country.

    If those community-level owners are forced, er, incentivized (at 1% we’re talking 3-6k/year) to sell to, say, a Canadian numbered company owned by some hedge fund; then no problem has actually been addressed, but more assets are miraculously in elite control.

  8. Failed Scholar

    Trudeau and our elites are lucky in that their brainwashing of the Canadian population as to the benefits of limitless immigration has been so effective, with of course the help of our compliant media who work very diligently indeed to suppress any dissent on the topic. Even the so-called ‘Green’ party is all aboard the ‘Groaf’ train on this one. Groaf at all costs, damn the environment, living standards, the health care system, etc. They would jam in 10 million a year if there were some way the logistics worked out.

    Immigration is, as far as I can tell, mostly a scam perpetrated on the Canadian population, as well as on the country’s we steal educated workforces from globally (and not to mention the immigrants themselves our system preys upon). We have what amounts to a colonial-esque economy in this country, even after 156 years of statehood. which requires ever larger numbers to keep the ponzi scheme going for the exploiters who run things.

    And I have to disagree with you Ian on the Trudeau gov’s attempt at cooling the housing market. The most likely interpretation is that this new law is merely an exercise in saying “Look, we did something!” while in reality doing nothing at all. The Liberals need something they can finger to pretend that they tried doing something to fix our historic housing affordability crisis. I don’t believe they have any intention of fixing it as that would require a collapse in housing prices to more sane levels, and that would break too many ricebowls to be allowed to happen. This law will be utterly meaningless without enforcement, and even mildly enforced it will amount to a small tax on a $1million+ purchase.

    Pumping up immigration numbers to the blisteringly insane levels they are aiming for will, however, have the effect of pumping up housing values which have been flagging recently, as the increased numbers will increase demand and therefore prices. That is likely the real aim, in addition to trying to tamp out wage inflation as you suggested. The issue of whether those immigrants can even afford to live here won’t be a problem for a few more years yet, as the immigration push can continue for quite a while by cashing in on Canada’s reputation as an immigrant friendly country, as well as just cramming them in more densely – something already visible around the GTA. Think a two bedroom apartment with six or more people living in it, that sort of thing. This is easiest to do with the foreign students that our system scams, there is a Fifth Estate investigation into this recently that was quite an eye opener on this (see “Sold a Lie”).

    So in conclusion, I don’t think Trudeau has earned your golf clap even. Any relationship to intelligent policy from these people is circumstantial at best.

  9. Purple Library Guy

    It’s strange, you know. Classically, one thinks of the right as being against immigration, since they tend to whip up hatred against actual immigrants and right wing politicians often say they oppose immigration, increase penalties against illegal immigrants and so on. But the purpose of all this, at the mover-and-shaker level, is not to arrange FEWER immigrants, but to ensure that the immigrants there are have less ability to push for decent wages, working conditions and so on. Keep them afraid, reduce their rights, and they make an underclass that can be kept poor and in turn will help reduce everyone else’s wages.
    The Liberals are functionally centre-right; they free ride on Conservative anti-immigrant measures, plus they do subtler things like introduce and expand “Temporary Foreign Workers” who have all the wage-suppression benefits of actual immigrants but who are easier to dispose of.

    Much of the left has been in my opinion a bit suckered on the issue of immigration. Leftists should certainly insist, directly contrary to the right, that whatever immigrants we do have should be treated well–that they should have equal rights, access to education and unions and in general the wherewithal NOT to become an underclass impoverishing both themselves and others. Both because they’re people and they should be able to live as well as anyone else and have rights and stuff, and because the phenomenon of immigrants becoming an underclass that drags down wages and worsens inequality only happens if they actually do become an underclass; with good enough policies there is no reason this should be inevitable.

    But the left often seems to insist that there should be effectively unlimited AMOUNTS of immigration, and to feel that there is no moral and coherent position other than that–that nobody is illegal, anyone who wants in can come. But I don’t think that really follows from most leftist principles and ideas. After all, the left tends to back things like the state or the commons as against the “free market”–but both states and real commonses generally involve control over access to territory as one of their foundational purposes. A commons after all (like say the classic community grazing ground) is about granting egalitarian access to a community resource in a place–and about LIMITING access so neither any community member nor any outsider can hog the resource or the place (That’s why Garrett Hardin is an idiot). A key feature of any social group is the ability to decide who gets to join; you don’t have to let managers into your union, you can kick corporate greenwashers out of your environmental group. So, deciding how much immigration you want is a fundamental thing that a state ought to be able to do. And if the amount you want is not infinite, which is surely the case, then there has to be some number that would be more than you want.

    Leftists don’t usually want to deal with the question or admit that it has force, even though many of them know perfectly well that immigrants are being used (against their own will) to create an underclass which will worsen inequality. And even though any policies one might put in place to ensure that immigrants quickly gain economic parity with previous citizens, heading off this problem, will become harder to implement successfully the more immigrants there are. And frankly, people intuitively understand that this is a stupid position, which is bad for the left politically on the question of immigration.

    As to how much immigration is an OK thing . . . my instincts tend to say something like “More than many times in the past when many people complained about immigration levels, but less than bleedin’ 400,000/year, especially when we’ve already got a housing crunch”.

    On a related note, I don’t think there’s any reason Canada’s population or workforce needs to keep on increasing. The world’s population probably shouldn’t keep increasing, it should probably shrink, and of all the bits of population in the world, the first world countries are the ones whose pop needs to shrink the most, ’cause they use by far the most resources per capita.

  10. StewartM

    The immigrant move was a transparent attempt to deal with the fact that the West (due to aging, and Covid) doesn’t have enough workers. That, and the fact we *must* supposedly leave Daddy Warbucks to be in charge of the decision of “how many workers do we need?”.

    I have always maintained the biggest reason for job shortage in the west is not immigrants, but due to our leaving Daddy Warbucks in charge, who goes all cheap when it comes to everything, on hiring. This leaves Western companies (and governments) chronically understaffed to do the things they are tasked with doing. There is and always has been plenty of “work” that needed to be done; the holdup is that we let Daddy Warbucks go all cheap on everything and hire (now) even less than the minimum realistically required to do the job. That’s why your customer service is crappy, your electricity goes off and you have to wait hours for it to come back on, you have to schedule things that you used to just walk in and get done, etc.

    I agree that $10,000 is not enough of a deterrent for the rich to sit on empty houses. I’d just say that individuals can’t own more than one house in addition to what they live in, and that real estate companies must pay a tax equivalent to or higher to the mortgage on the property for every month they hold an unoccupied property. The latter would put massive pressure on these companies to either sell, or rent, what they hold, even if it’s at a loss. That would drive down housing prices (a good thing).

    I’ve also wondered if we should do away with renting, or allow a certain fraction of a rent payment to be considered as buying the property. This would allow many renters to become owners, over time, and decentralize ownership.

  11. Immigration policy and inequality is a funny thing. Bringing in new immigrants probably does expand inequality within the native population by boosting capital income and putting downward pressure on wages. But if you consider the world population it’s less clear – the downward pressure on the wages of the natives of the country receiving immigrants is balanced by the immigrants themselves moving up the income scale, sending some of that money back to their poorer home countries, and putting upward pressure on wages of their home country by taking themselves out of its labor market. Overall it feels like either a wash or an improvement inequality-wise. Meanwhile it’s clear that more immigration results in more total production as workers move from less productive to more productive economies.

    Hence the tragedy of modern politics – allowing more immigration is clearly both a net win for humanity, and a win for wealthy elites, while probably harming the working class of immigrant recipient countries. The left has a very hard time reacting – do you denounce blameless immigrants and make the world a worse place or do you act in the interest of the developed world working class who you want to be your political base?

  12. different clue

    @Quite Likely,

    I remember reading in an interview once where the interviewer asked Bashir al Assad, the President of the Syrian Arab Republic, why he didn’t do some Good Hearted Thing which would be bad for Syria. He replied: ” I run a state, not a charity”.

  13. different clue

    ( that should be BashAR al Assad, not ” BashIR al Assad”, of course).

  14. multitude of poors

    NR, I’m curious what region you live in, re:

    In the U.S., the problem isn’t foreigners buying up housing, it’s real estate investment groups buying up housing.

    While I don’t dispute that real estate investment groups (REITS, etc.) have done the most damage, foreign investments have been a not insignificant part of the problem (right along with vile Airbnb), for over two decades, in Silicon Valley. So much so, it was rightfully given the name Cash Laundering (because many of the purchases were in pure cash (actual suitcases of paper currency), no mortgages) on residences the launderers never lived in—instead renting them to hapless persons—worse, they flipped them as housing prices became even more insane, leaving those renters unable to afford the new rent imposed.

    I would guess it’s been a problem in most of the major metro areas with obscenely increased housing costs (many of them Blue™ (e.g. Los Angeles; Chicago; New York City; Austin TX; Atlanta; Pittsburgh and Philadelphia PA), though certainly, Red™ Florida is likely included.

    In 2016, or 2017, I conducted a summer experiment of visiting condos for sale in my neck of the Silicon Valley woods, close to Mineta International Airport, where faux progressive House Member, Ro Khanna, presided and presides. Those sales were mushrooming all over the map, some condo complexes having no less than three condos for sale a week.—selling in less than seven days. Every single one I visited had steady traffic of foreign investors who clearly noted they intended on renting them out versus living in them. The demographics of those investors: all Asian, with English as their second language. Not a one of the prospective buyers appeared to want to live there, and not a one of them was Hispanic; Black; or Caucasian (though one of the sellers was Russian). I’m not saying those were the likely demographics in other Metro areas across the country, but they certainly were in Silicon Valley/Santa Clara County.

    (I’d have to write well more than a volume re: Silicon Valley legal immigration, predominantly young and male (Silicon Valley has imported the stunning female vs. male imbalance in China and India, e.g. San Jose has been called Man Jose for at least 2 decades now). I would say that was deliberate, destroying living wage jobs in this area; exacerbating homelessness and all sorts of inequalities, so I won’t)

    StewartM, re:

    I’ve also wondered if we should do away with renting, or allow a certain fraction of a rent payment to be considered as buying the property. This would allow many renters to become owners, over time, and decentralize ownership.

    It would certainly have to be ironed out, but this should have been done since the inception of the U.S. It’s mind boggling how few have the nerve to even mention this moral and logical equity.

    gotta run, may not be able to check back, 5g roll-outs™ are doing vast amounts of damage to those with minimal online access (not to even mention the health and other social concerns of it).

  15. StewartM


    He replied: ” I run a state, not a charity”.

    Charities are bad things?

    It seems to me the apex of enlightenment to do things good for other people, no matter where they are, for the good (and evil) you do eventually rebounds back to you. Consider the Marshall Plan after WWII, vs the mess that was reparations and war debt after WWI.

  16. StewartM

    Quite Likely

    Bringing in new immigrants probably does expand inequality within the native population by boosting capital income and putting downward pressure on wages.

    Then why didn’t the baby boom internal growth do that? Or the widespread entry of women into the workplace?

    Such arguments strike me as similar to conservative economic arguments based on simplistic models that “raising the minimum wage increases unemployment” where if anything the evidence is contrary. That’s because giving the poorest members of society more money also increases demand in the maximum, increasing the need for workers. Similarly, immigrants bring their demand with them.

    Now offshoring is another matter. I’ve always felt that hostility towards immigrants is a proxy for hostility towards offshoring, as often those who are hostile towards immigrants buy the myth about how having Daddy Warbucks in charge results in the best possible of economic worlds. They have to blame someone, and they can’t blame the guys at the top, as they are the “job creators”.

  17. different clue


    Private charities which the donor can afford to give to are good things. Bashar al Assad did not say that charity is a bad thing. He said that Syria could not at that time afford to give charity at the expense of its own survival and that as President of the State, he had to run it as a state and not as a charity.

    Syria First. ( Or America First or Canada First, as the case may be).

    Charity begins at home. Once ALL the needs of charity at home have been fulfilled, charity can certainly venture abroad, as long as it is not funded by extortionate anti-charity levied against the people at home.

    Your reply to Quite Likely appears to at-some-level recognize this. Americanadians had and have zero obligation to make themselves more poor in order to make somebody else less poor. Americans had and have zero obligation to destroy their own country down to the level of the Opiate Addiction hellscapes we see all over America in order to raise the pay in China. And now that a critical tipping point massload of Americans have made it plain to the elites that we see that China got richer by us getting poorer, the elites are trotting out their moral extortionists to guilt-trip Americans into believing they are/were obliged to become poor so that China could become rich.

    We will see how long Americans, especially potentially armed and violent Americans, will continue to stand for that kind of moral guilt-tripping psychological extortionism.

  18. multitude of poors

    different clue, re:

    Americans had and have zero obligation to destroy their own country down to the level of the Opiate Addiction hellscapes we see all over America in order to raise the pay in China. And now that a critical tipping point massload of Americans have made it plain to the elites that we see that China got richer by us getting poorer, the elites are trotting out their moral extortionists to guilt-trip Americans into believing they are/were obliged to become poor so that China could become rich.

    Exactly, and thanks much.


    It’s disturbing to me that it seems whenever the word immigrant comes up, otherwise thoughtful people seem to always equate immigration with poor people. This generalization is simply false, though I would admit, that a majority of “illegal” immigrants are likely impoverished, but then again, certainly not all of them. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time nor any of the energy required to debate this mythology which has caused hotbeds of utter misery (e.g. Silicon Valley, and likely in populations neighboring Academic Hubs such as MIT in Massachusetts and CMU (Obomber loved CMU) in Pittsburgh, PA) for citizens who can apparently no longer afford to live in neighborhoods they were born into, or lived in their entire adult lives.

    I’ve met, and worked amongst, and under, countless legal immigrants who were clearly in the middle to upper class in their countries (with Law Degrees, etcetera). A perfect example would be the fact that the US Medical Industry is absolutely loaded with India’s Brahmin Caste on visas. The US has been cherry picking its legal immigrants for forever, an abundance of them wanna be Despots, from very well connected families, viciously conservative.

    gotta run, may not be able to check back, 5g roll-outs™ are doing vast amounts of damage to those with minimal online access (not to even mention the health and other social concerns of it).

  19. Purple Library Guy

    @StewartM The thing is that immigrants DON’T bring very much demand with them, the system is designed not to let them. Some, yes, but the more the deck is successfully stacked against them, the less demand they are capable of mustering. The point of immigrants, from an establishment perspective, is precisely that they are a population that can be systematically underpaid. Of course in a couple of generations, if social mobility hasn’t completely locked up, their descendants will no longer be contributing to inequality . . . which is why they keep needing to get MORE immigrants.

    The Baby Boom expansion was different in key ways. Way number one was, those people really did create demand because they were not forming an underclass, they were the kids of people throughout the income spectrum. Way number two, the economy wasn’t being run “laissez faire” at the time–it was being run to a fair extent with an eye to public prosperity and employment maximization. So even if there had been a tendency to the boomers’ large supply of labour decreasing incomes, that tendency would have been overwhelmed by the impact of public policy. But those policies were ending by the 80s and we sure don’t have them now.

    We COULD use interventionist policies to make sure immigrants did not become an underclass and did not contribute to inequality. This would remove the point for capital of bringing in immigrants. That’s one reason the right, including the “liberal” economic right no matter how superficially anti-racist they might be, consistently resists such policies.

    As to the impact of women entering the workforce . . . that actually DID probably boost capital income and put downward pressure on wages. Certainly before it happened, one 40-hour work week was sufficient to maintain a homeowning nuclear family, while after the impact had been assimilated it took two 40-hour work weeks to do the same, rather than two 20-hour work weeks. And it’s not like productivity decreased. IMO there could have been a big opportunity at that time to radically shrink people’s working hours, but it was missed because we were going all laissez-faire and so the political implications of (nearly) twice as many people working were taken off the table.

    Incidentally, I don’t think there’s such a thing as a country “not having enough workers”. Normally when pundits claim this, it’s code for “not enough LOW INCOME workers”, which in turn translates to “not enough inequality”. Otherwise, how is it supposed to work? If the new workers are on average making the same and having the same kind of work status as the old workers, they would be, like the immigrants you hypothesize as opposed to real underclass-forming immigrants, adding their own demand as well as their work. Every new (equal) worker is also a new consumer requiring work to be done to fill their needs. If things that need doing aren’t being done with 10 million people, the same shortages of stuff being done will be replicated with 20 million people. The only difference is, to the extent that your economy relies on natural resources, there will be fewer to go around. No, the real issue pointed to when someone says “not enough workers” is that capitalist elites have structured our economies to rely on a certain amount of inequality–and indeed, the amount required seems to be increasing rather than static, as the top end insist on pocketing more and more of the dough. So there is work that won’t get done if there aren’t enough POOR workers, who exert relatively little demand of their own and so don’t lead to as much other work on their behalf. Particularly because employers very vigorously resist anything that smacks of supply and demand being applied to workers’ pay, to the point of making it official economic doctrine that a country’s central bank must trigger a recession if wages for work they have defined as “lower-wage” start to increase. So it can look like there are “not enough workers” if the low-end wages, being too low to live on, aren’t being taken up–and the natural solution for employers is to bring in people so poor and lacking in political clout that they can be forced to take those jobs as is, rather than allow pay to reach livable levels. But that isn’t “not enough workers”, it’s just “not enough inequality for the upper crust’s taste”.

    @Quite Likely
    I think the appearance of third world workers not being “productive” is largely an artifact of unfair terms of trade, as well as our unquestioning use of GDP as equating to utility. We define the stuff they do as not being worth much money, so we can give them less money for it, and so they stay poor, and we say they’re “unproductive”. We can do this to those countries because we have the political, economic and military power; it’s called imperialism–it has little to do with how much they benefit the planet. Just like the way fruit pickers here are paid less than minimum wage, so they must be “unproductive” compared to software engineers writing the latest cell phone app. But, like, the world would probably lose a lot less from some cell phone apps disappearing than from crops not being harvested. And then there’s the damage side–our immigrant is producing way more negative externalities in the first world than they were in the third. So the idea that third world workers become more “productive”, much less contribute more to the world’s well-being, by coming to the first world and getting first world wages (and first world consumption patterns) strikes me as quite suspect.

  20. Failed Scholar

    To add to what @Purple Library Guy mentioned above, the argument that immigrants put downward pressure on wages for the local population is certainly one that our elites seem to believe in whole-heartedly (which is why they are so dogged in pursing it), eg:
    ” The increased flow of newcomers and their suitability for the needs of the job market “will work to provide the Bank of Canada with some flexibility in the pace of monetary tightening due to the taming impact of new immigrants on wage inflation,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC, said Thursday in a report to investors.”

    “Wage growth in Canada has lagged behind the U.S as their economies have recovered from the Covid-19 crisis, a factor some attribute to the stark differences in immigration policies between the two countries. ”

    @Quite Likely

    Your argument is well reasoned, but you are thinking too much through the lens of an economist, especially when you make statements like ‘immigration is clearly a net win for humanity’. That is FAR from clear. There are more issues than just the $$$ income of the various population strata. But, even if we stick to the $$$ and cents, even if we assume that everyone is overall better off because of immigration, what we are seeing currently is that the Richie Richs of our society benefit disproportionately more from that immigration than the rest of us, which means that over time they will increase their power at the expense of the rest of us and use that power to do what they always do, which is put their boots at our necks.

    This reminds me of the common free-trade trope, that the ‘winners’ can reimburse the ‘losers’ and on the whole everyone will still be better off. Sounds nice in theory; the only problem is this never happens in practice. The elite, by pushing for these policies, benefit relatively more than the rest of us, and over the long term that means they will become more powerful than the rest of us and screw us down the line. ANY policy that leads to that outcome has to be vigorously opposed, full stop, otherwise the elite eventually claw back any gains everyone else made and the rest of us will be at square one yet again.

    And that’s not even getting into the other issues like the effects on our environment, CO2 emissions, ability to feed ourselves, effect on our health-care system, etc etc? Rapidly increasing numbers is going to strain all of those things, because the people in charge want to raise the population but don’t want to spend any money doing it. It was wild to me when I heard that Cortellucci Vaughan Hospital, opened in 2021, was Ontario’s first newly built hospital built in 30 fucking years! Unbelievable given the level of population growth in that time. Health care crisis? No shit. This is the kind of elite incompetence and afterthought that goes into the planning behind increasing our numbers like this, which all but guarantees it will be a disaster for the plebes.

    As another example, the area I grew up in was apple farms and light woodland 30 years ago; today it has been completely paved over and turned into the concrete jungle of suburbia. Am I, or the people who originally lived there better off now than when it was apple farms and woodland? Is our society, our planet? This is one of the glaring problems of using the econo-lens to judge everything like we tend to do nowadays.

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