Source: Facebook

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre says that immigration numbers will be “much lower” if he becomes prime minister.

“It’s impossible to invite 1.2 million new people to Canada every year. When you’re building 200,000 housing units, it’s impossible. There’s no room. Quebec is at its breaking point,” said Poilievre in an interview in French.

The comments came during an interview with TVA Nouvelles after a reporter asked Poilievre whether he would commit to a 50% reduction in the number of asylum seekers and temporary immigrants arriving in Quebec, which Premier François Legault requested in his most recent meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“It’s going to be much lower, especially for temporary immigration,” said Poilievre.

Poilievre has previously been hesitant to give specifics about what he’d do to Canada’s immigration targets, speaking more generally about his plan to tie immigration to housing and job availability.

The Conservative leader’s brief interview took place as he campaigns through Quebec in an RV with his wife and two children. He has continued to talk about the cost of living crisis, government spending, and rising crime rates.

The Quebec government has been very outspoken against immigration, with Legault previously threatening to hold a referendum on the issue if the federal government didn’t help reduce the number of temporary immigrants flooding to the province.

Poilievre says his formula will be mathematically driven – linked to home-building and job numbers – and not influenced by arbitrary targets.

Housing affordability reached an all-time low in Canada at the beginning of April.

Near the end of 2023, 75% of Canadians believed that high immigration levels were fuelling the housing crisis, according to a Leger poll.

While Poilievre has previously avoided specifics, Conservative immigration critic Tom Kmiec acknowledged the formula could result in fewer immigrants coming into Canada.

While Canada welcomes 500,000 permanent residents per year, True North previously reported that the number of immigrants entering Canada annually is 2.2 million after adding temporary foreign workers, international students, and illegal immigrants.

Housing starts in Canada have failed to meet demand, resulting in soaring costs.

To combat the housing crisis, Trudeau promised to build 3.87 million homes by 2031. To fulfill his promise, Canada would have to build 576,786 homes per year. However, Canada built just over 240,000 homes in 2023, a decrease from 2022, which decreased from 2021.

Poilievre’s housing plan, titled the Building Homes Not Bureaucracy Act, encourages big cities to speed up the process of building homes. Cities are to build 15% more homes annually, compounding yearly. If they fail to do so, federal funding will be withheld by an equal percentage of how much the target was missed by.

Conversely, municipalities that surpass their targets will receive a bonus.  

The Conservatives lead the federal voting intention polls in every province in the country except Quebec, where they trail both the Bloc Québécois and Liberals.