Source: Facebook

The Conservative party’s plan to tie immigration numbers to available jobs and homes could result in a lower immigration target, an MP says.

Conservative immigration critic Tom Kmiec said a Conservative government wouldn’t set an arbitrary number, but rather one that takes into account what the country can sustainably accommodate. This could end up lowering immigration, he said.

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

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre previously said in an interview that immigration had to be tied to key economic numbers reflecting the labour and housing markets.

Kmiec said that under a Conservative government, those calculations wouldn’t just involve permanent immigration but also temporary resident immigration.

“The problem isn’t the permanent residency ones, those PR numbers are often quoted by individuals. In Canada, about 45% to 55% of those, depending on the year, are people who are actually physically in Canada already,” said Kmiec.

“They are just changing their status from studying, from working here on a temporary work permit and they’re becoming permanent residents of Canada, hopefully, on the pathway to becoming citizens and joining the Canadian family.”

Kmiec said it’s “ridiculous” that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has only recently concluded that Canada’s immigration levels have far outpaced what the country can absorb.

“I guess he doesn’t read any of the briefing notes or documents that come up his way,” Kmiec said.

The Calgary MP pointed out how it was Trudeau himself who appointed the various immigration ministers responsible for the country’s explosive population growth. 

“When he reshuffled his own cabinet, you had this bizarre situation where the previous immigration minister could not let go of his department. He was saying that ‘things are a mess,’ that’s a direct quote and the new minister said ‘things are out of control.’ They’ve been fighting it out in public between the senior immigration minister and the junior immigration minister,” said Kmiec.

“Now the prime minister has weighed in and accused his government of basically failing on the job and that they’re not competent obviously, except he’s the one who appointed everybody. He’s been in charge for almost nine years now and they broke the immigration system. It’s nice of him to recognize that he broke it,” he added. 

When asked if the immigration calculation should be restricted to just economic indicators, instead of factoring in things like Canadian values as well, Kmiec said he was wary of introducing new things that “are not fixed.”

“I don’t want my government determining which values it supports and which it doesn’t and the reason I don’t like it is that for the last nine years, that’s been the Liberal government of Canada,” said Kmiec. 

“I believe things like healthcare, housing jobs, all Canadians can get behind that and be like, ‘yeah, those are real, reasonable objective metrics.’ There’s no subjectivity to them, you either have those services or you don’t.”

According to Kmiec, the immigration debate should be about whether the inputs are correct or not, instead of the number itself, saying, “if you want more immigration, build more housing.” 

It’s a question of changing policies to get more houses built and for cheaper. The same logic should apply to Canada’s healthcare system. 

Kmiec feels policies that don’t allow skilled workers like doctors and nurses who come to work in Canada are the reason for our strained healthcare system. 

“We have over 20,000 internationally trained doctors who cannot practice their profession,” he said. “Same thing for nurses. The country of origin lost a nurse and we didn’t gain a nurse.”