Tag Archives: Herb Grubel

Opinion: Canadians are right to worry about immigration levels by Professor Herb Grubel

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Opinion: Canadians are right to worry about immigration levels by Professor Herb Grubel

Almost half of Canadians think Ottawa’s target of 500,000 immigrants a year is too high, poll finds Author of the article: Herbert Grubel,  Special to Financial Post Published Jan 04, 2023  •

Canadians are increasingly worried about immigration. A recent Leger Poll found that 49 per cent of us think the federal government’s new target of 500,000 immigrants a year is too many, while fully 75 per cent are concerned the plan will result in excessive demand for housing and social services. For his part, the immigration minister, Sean Fraser, tells us we need not worry: immigrants themselves will provide the labour needed to build the housing stock they’ll need.

The majority of Canadians have always welcomed immigrants and believe they benefit the economy and themselves. What worries them today is the prospect of mass immigration that they believe the housing market cannot absorb without much higher prices. They know the minister’s soothing reassurance is not supported by experience. Past immigration did increase the labour force but did not prevent high housing costs. Excessive regulations and rent control are the main reasons housing is so expensive, not a shortage of labour.

Immigrants not only add to the demand for housing, they also increase congestion for a wide range of public services: doctors, hospitals, schools, universities, parks, retirement homes, and roads and bridges, as well as the utilities that supply water, electricity and sewers. In theory, the supply of all these things could be expanded reasonably rapidly. In practice, expansion is slow. But the main reasons for that are, not a shortage of labour, but inadequate planning, insufficient financial resources and, as a result, construction that lags demand.

The case for keeping annual immigration at traditional or even somewhat lower levels rests on more than the effect on house prices and public services, however. Immigration also depresses the wages of low-income workers, which results in greater income-equalizing transfers and the higher taxes required to pay for them. It also reduces employers’ incentives to adopt labour-saving technology, an important source of growth in labour productivity and wages, and it allows employers to avoid the cost of operating apprenticeship programs to train skilled workers.

Japan’s widespread success in using robots to deal with labour shortages caused by its aging population illustrates what could be done in Canada. In Germany employers operate apprenticeship programs to train skilled workers in the numbers industry needs. In this country, such programs could relieve the shortage of skilled labour while benefiting people already here, rather than new immigrants brought in specially to take highly paid skilled jobs currently going asking.

Despite the Leger numbers suggesting many Canadians have concerns about big increases in the rate of immigration, the debate about it tends to be one-sided. We hear from the many groups that benefit from mass immigration: employers, immigration lawyers and consultants, real estate developers, political parties that traditionally do well in immigrant communities, idealists who want us to “imagine there’s no countries” and so on.

On the other side, the Leger numbers suggest, is a majority that is not at all opposed to immigration in principle but begins to inform itself on the subject and maybe even become politically active only when the costs become so large they can’t be ignored any longer.

In Switzerland during the 1970s an economic boom led to labour shortages and immigration was liberalized. It turned out that the need to produce housing infrastructure and public services for these immigrants actually worsened the labour shortage. The silent majority of Swiss citizens organized and took advantage of the opportunity to get government policy changed by demanding a public referendum that ultimately ended the liberal immigration policy.

In Canada, changes in policies come through Parliament and the election of politicians. Numbers like those in the Leger poll may begin to suggest to politicians that they can increase their election chances by catering to the majority who would prefer somewhat reduced immigration but also a fundamental reform of the system currently used to determine the number and characteristics of immigrants.

Such a reform would put greater emphasis on market forces rather than politicians and bureaucrats in setting immigration levels. Immigrants would be admitted only if they possessed a formal offer of employment in Canada that paid at least the average earned by workers in the region where they would be employed.

Under this system, employers’ self-interest would ensure that workers would have the skills and personal characteristics required for success on the job. The requirement for minimum pay would prevent floods of immigrants competing with Canada’s low-wage workers and ensure that those who did come had the income needed for a life free from the need for public subsidies.

Worrying about immigration is not enough. Only the election of politicians committed to this kind of reform will restore mental peace.

Herbert Grubel, himself an immigrant to Canada, is an emeritus professor of economics at Simon Fraser University and a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute.

Government’s Proposal to Ramp Up Immigration Levels is Misguided

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Government’s Proposal to Ramp Up Immigration                                    Levels is Misguided

Madeline Weld, President
Population Institute of Canada
The Canadian government announced in October that it would significantly increase the intake of immigrants to Canada for each of the next three years, with minimum levels of 300,000 each year. Since 1990, Canada has been accepting approximately 250,000 – and sometimes more – newcomers each year. In 2017, 75% of Canada’s population growth resulted from immigration.
Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen argues that the government’s proposal for even higher levels of immigration would promote economic growth, overcome skills shortages and meet the demographic challenge of an aging population.
Population Institute Canada believes that economic and demographic arguments for growing Canada’s population are on shaky ground, while the negative environmental consequences of its rapid growth are very much in evidence, and growing. We contend that there are no good reasons to grow Canada’s population and many compelling environmental reasons to stabilize and reduce it.
It is true that Canada’s growing population over the past few decades has resulted in a bigger economy. There has, however, been no growth in per capita wealth. The real earnings of the average Canadian worker have not changed, while those of the poorest Canadian workers have fallen.
Economists Herb Grubel and Patrick Grady have calculated that immigrants cost the government $30 billion more in services each year than they pay in taxes. And Immigration Minister Hussen admits that his proposed increase in immigrant intake will cost at least an additional one billion dollars in resettlement expenses each year.
Already, large numbers of young people, many with significant debt loads, face a very challenging job market, one which Finance Minister Bill Morneau has called a “job churn.” Many job seekers, especially young and new Canadians, have few prospects of secure employment and must work multiple contract or part-time positions. They can only dream of better wages, a steady schedule and paid sick days. How, PIC asks, will adding hundreds of thousands of additional job seekers improve the prospects of these Canadians, when increasing automation, the loss of factory jobs to developing economies, and outsourcing are already putting significant pressures on Canada’s workforce?
It has also long been recognized that the problems associated with an aging population cannot be solved through immigration. Among studies showing that immigration, even at high levels, has little effect on Canada’s age structure is a 2006 analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute (No Elixir of Youth: Immigration Cannot Keep Canada Young). It found that to keep a constant dependency ratio, Canada would have to have an unrealistically high intake of immigrants and by 2050 would be taking in 7 million immigrants per year and have reached a population of 165 million. Due to the rapid and unsustainable growth of the human population during the 20th century, all countries will have to deal with an aging population during the coming decades.
In addition, the dependency ratio as currently calculated (number of workers for every person 65 years and older) merits re-examination. No doubt many retired grandparents over 65 years old are helping to subsidize their grandchildren. The fees paid by elderly people in retirement residences support many workers and economists anticipate a large intergenerational transfer of wealth as aging baby boomers die. All these factors complicate the issue of the dependency ratio and suggest that it is simplistic to use number of people over 65 versus the number working as a sole determinant.
Furthermore, many people 65 years of age and older still work, some because they must, others by choice. Thus, designating every person a dependent at 65 is not realistic. It is also relevant to note that significant numbers of newcomers – and of the proposed increase in intake – are in the family reunification category. Many of these are the parents or grandparents of earlier immigrants and are therefore older than the average Canadian and more likely to require the healthcare services paid for by working Canadians.
Clearly, the economic arguments for relentlessly driving population growth through high levels of immigration do not hold up to scrutiny. There is also an increasing awareness that the size of a country’s economy or its GDP is an inadequate measure of its people’s well-being. As Canada’s population grows, more Canadians are having to contend with ever more crowded cities, increased traffic congestion, densification that has eliminated greenspace but not urban sprawl, increasingly stressed infrastructure, rising housing costs, and longer waiting times for healthcare and other government services. The resources of the cities in the southern belt of Canada where most Canadians live, and almost all immigrants settle, are as overstressed as those in cities anywhere in the developed world. What’s more, a growing population is putting enormous pressure on our irreplaceable farmland and very limited fruit-growing areas.
It is wrong to consider Canada as an “empty” country when so much of it is unsuitable for human habitation or incapable of supporting a dense population. The very high per capita “ecological footprint” of Canadians has already badly eroded our biocapacity per individual. For example, the latest (2017) Living Planet Report by the World Wildlife Fund shows a serious and significant decline in wildlife populations as our growing population and demands for space and resources convert wildlife habitat to human uses.
Our finite planet cannot support a continuously growing human population and expanding economies. Canada, too, is finite. And yet as a direct result of government policy, our population is growing as rapidly as the global average of 1.12% annually. The policy to keep expanding our economy by growing our population through immigration is no more sustainable than any other Ponzi scheme. Nor is the government’s planned immigration policy supported by a majority of Canadians – an Angus Reid poll conducted in 2017 found that 57% of Canadians thought that Canada should accept fewer immigrants and refugees (see page 15 of document).
Before increasing immigration levels, PIC believes it incumbent on government to assess the impact of current levels of immigration and the impact that higher levels would have, not only on the economy and the revenue and costs for the government, but also on the environment, climate

Why I Won’t Be Voting for Chris Alexander for Conservative Party Leader

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Why I Won’t Be Voting for Chris Alexander for Conservative Party Leader
About a week ago, I received this letter from former Immigration Minister Chris Alexander who is running for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Fortunately, he is in the back of the now 15 person pack..
He supports a massive increase in immigration. In this he perfectly reflects the view I heard at a shareholders’ meeting of Maple Leaf Foods, on April 27. Much of corporate Canada just can’t replace the founding/settler people of this country fast enough. They applaud massive Third World immigration to keep unemployment high and to keep wages down. 
Let’s examine his arguments:
“Our Party has always delivered strong immigration.MacDonald and Cartier pioneered this strategy.” — That was another time, After Confederation, as Canada came to include all the territory West of Ontario. The West was extremely sparsely settled — a small number of scattered Indians and very few Europeans. The Americans were making noises about “Manifest Destiny” and hungered to grab the West. At that time, immigration to help put some bodies, some settlement into this wast territory, made good sense. With high unemployment and impossible traffic gridlock around some our major cities, Canada is full!
For ten years until 2015 we sustained the highest immigration levels in Canadian history.” — . Disgracefully so! The Stephen Harper Conservatives ratcheted up the nation wrecking schemes of the Liberals. On their watch over 2-million newcomers, mostly from the Third World, poured into Canada. Unemployment remained high. Many of these people did poorly. A 2011 study by former MP Herb Grubel showed that these immigrants — far from growing our economy, were actually hurting it, costing taxpayers $25-billion a year. [The annual drain in now $30-billion according to a recent statement by Professor Grubel.] And the plan for the eventual replacement of the European founding/settler people hurtled on. Our share of the population fell from 96 per cent when John Diefenbaker was Prime Minister to 79 per cent. Not very “conservative.” And, Stephen Harper was proud of the fact that, despite the economic downturn of 2008/2009, the worst recession since the Great Depression, his government kept those immigration  numbers up. Put that another way, those Tories just piled more misery on to the shoulders of unemployed Canadian men and women.
“We need this young talent to keep growing as a country. Without skilled immigrants, we risk stagnation and irrelevance.” — Skilled immigrants? You mean we really need more taxi drivers in turbans and women in hijabs pouring coffee at Tim Horton’s. Economists have confirmed there is NO skill shortage in Canada.Our college graduates face uncertain futures with poor prospects for permanent jobs, despite their high-cost qualifications. As for skills, we should be training our own people.
No, Chris Alexander will not be getting my vote.
Paul Fromm


In office, our Party has always delivered strong immigration.

MacDonald and Cartier pioneered this strategy.

For ten years until 2015 we sustained the highest immigration levels in Canadian history.

In this race I’m the only candidate (with Rick Peterson) proposing we raise immigration levels.

We need this young talent to keep growing as a country.

Without skilled immigrants, we risk stagnation and irrelevance.

As the 2016 census shows, rates of natural increase are barely sustaining our population today.

To build a New Canada with a strong new economy, we need to continue attracting and integrating the best economic immigrants.

As only Conservatives know how.
Policies for a New CanadaBest regards,


Chris Alexander
Conservative Leadership Candidate

This is What Passes for a Discussion On Immigration: Lies, Folly & Nonsense

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This is What Passes for a Discussion On Immigration: Lies, Folly & Nonsense

Kirsty Duncan is the Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North (where we collect our mail). In her December householder, she reported on an immigration town hall meeting she’d held in the summer featuring Immigration Minister John McCallum and others. Duncan who is also Minister of Science and should know about provable reality peddles the most preposterous nonsense in her report.

“We heard your views on the issues that matters most to you, especially shortening processing times and focusing on family reunification,” she reports.  Pictures accompanying the article show scarcely a White face in the audience. She continues: “Our government is committed to bringing a greater number of immigrants and refugees to reunite families, diversify the economy and create sustainable growth.” The former medical geography professor could hardly have packed more folly into a single sentence.

The almost entirely Third World audience selfishly, of course, stressed what would benefit them. Duncan’s conclusion shows neither she nor the Liberals have a clue as to what would benefit Canada. The government is committed to bringing in more immigrants and refugees, she says. The promise may be true but it is ludicrous.

With intractable unemployment hovering around 7 per cent, what are these newcomers going to do? Either  they find a job and a Canadian remains unemployed (Canada loses) or they don’t find a job and the taxpayers support them on welfare (Canada loses). Family reunification, after acceptance of poorly screened refugees, is almost the worst way to import immigrants. “Family class” applicants do not have to prove any language or skill qualifications (to say nothing of cultural compatibility).

Duncan suggests more immigration will “diversify the economy”. Unless she means curry houses or roti huts, she’s talking twaddle. Only new resources or new manufacturing techniques will “diversify” the economy.

Prof. Herb Grubel, Fellow at the Fraser Institute and former Reform Member of Parliament

Finally, she dreams, immigration will “create sustainable growth.” Economist Herb Grubel, a former Reform MP and a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute, recently revealed that Canada’s failed immigration policy costs the taxpayer $30-billion a year,. That is calculated by measuring what the mostly Third World immigrants who came here since the early 1980s contribute to the tax pot each year, minus what they take out. There is a $30-billion deficit. They take out more than they contribute. This NOT sustainable!

[This article will appear in the December, 2016 issue of the CANADIAN IMMIGRATION HOTLINE. Published monthly, the CANADIAN IMMIGRATION HOTLINE is available by subscription for $30 per year. You can subscribe by sending a cheque or VISA number and expiry date to CANADIAN IMMIGRATION HOTLINE, P.O. Box 332, Rexdale, ON., M9W 5L3.]