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COLUMN: Trudeau shouldn’t be surprised we have a housing crisis

Was this million-plus swath of humanity that’s just arrived on our soil supposed to sleep under some nearby bridge? 
Housing supply hasn't kept pace with demand, creating a crisis across the country.

According to our prime minister, the current housing crisis we’re struggling through has nothing whatsoever to do with him. 

Really? Did we simply imagine he was first elected PM nine long years ago? (It no doubt seems longer to many.) 

Yet, to hear him blame everyone and everything for today’s high cost and low availability of adequate shelter, it would appear he’s just taken on the job. 

But, of course, a large measure of blame should settle squarely upon Trudeau’s shoulders. Let us count the ways. 

First, there are those endless, massive budgetary deficits the Liberals insist on running, resulting in a doubling of the national debt during their time in office. This continual over-spending poured fuel on the smoldering fire of inflation, which eventually led to jacked-up mortgage rates, quickly making a home of one’s own a dream too far for many Canadians. 

Oh, and he had help. For a decade, the Bank of Canada kept rates close to zero, tempting people, who’d otherwise think twice about the affordability of their desired dream home, to take that financial plunge. Now many are barely hanging on, while others dread that looming mortgage renewal date. 

Yet, when asked during the last federal election campaign about this contentious central bank policy, our prime minister shrugged it off as though shooing away some bothersome fly, his insipid response being: “You’ll forgive me if I don’t think about monetary policy.” 

Actually, we don’t forgive you. That’s an important part of your darn job for heaven’s sake, even if it doesn’t involve donning some other country’s national dress to pose, peacock-like, for assembled cameras. 

And then there was the piece de resistance — immigration.  

Though, to be fair, it wasn’t really immigration at all, not in any traditional sense. It was opening the doors to every cohort that wanted to arrive in Canada, whether to build a life, go to school or work temporarily. Oh, and then we added to those big numbers by proudly welcoming a swath of refugees. 

This isn’t to blame those good people. No doubt they all had different, relevant reasons to come here.  

But shouldn’t someone, somewhere in government have pulled out a handy pocket calculator and simply added these numbers up? 

Your favourite restaurant doesn’t book six wedding parties for the same Saturday night and then turn around and blame people for getting married when all hell subsequently breaks out. 

So, how many newcomers did arrive in 2023? Well, it was a number so large demographic experts say they’ve never seen such an influx in any developed country, as a share of population, since way back in the 1950s. 

To be precise, Canada’s population grew by 3.2 per cent in 2023, reaching 40,769,890 as of Jan. 1. That was overwhelmingly due to 1,271,872 more people arriving from elsewhere. (We don’t make babies the way we did back in the 1950s, so births over deaths was almost a rounding item.) 

And our prime minister is surprised we have a housing crisis? Was this million-plus swath of humanity that’s just arrived on our soil supposed to sleep under some nearby bridge? 

Panic has set in. The feds are restricting temporary workers, banning foreigners owning property, reducing overseas student arrivals and – most contentious of all – essentially bribing big cities to relax planning rules in return for a fat cheque from Ottawa. 

Residents in Alberta’s two major cities, who thought themselves secure in their nice, quiet, single-family-home neighbourhood, are now the deer in the headlights because of this Get-Justin-Out-Of-Jail maneuver.  

But rest assured, none of this is his fault. 

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