The News Rundown
- Canada's population has been booming, with a huge influx of immigrants and especially non-permanent residents like students and temporary workers. Before the last couple of years, it had been said that California's population is similar to Canada, but Canada's is actually up to 40.5 million as of October, with California's actually dropping to just under 39 million.
- Statistics Canada reported Tuesday the population increase, which reflected a 1.1 per cent growth rate in the third quarter of 2023. That was the highest population growth rate since the second quarter of 1957, when Canada’s population grew by 198,000 people, or 1.2 per cent.
- Today, the vast majority of the population growth is due to international migration – an issue that is being tied into Canada’s ongoing housing crisis that the country is experiencing differently than many countries around the world.
- Bank of Canada deputy governor Toni Gravelle said earlier this month: “This jump in demographic demand coupled with the existing structural supply issues could explain why rent inflation continues to climb in Canada. It also helps explain, in part, why housing prices have not fallen as much as we had expected.”
- Statistics Canada said Tuesday’s data is the latest in a trend of population growth reports. Canada’s total population growth for the first nine months of 2023 has already exceeded the total growth for any other full-year period since Confederation in 1867, including 2022, when there was record growth, it said.
- International migration was responsible for 96 per cent of the population growth in that time frame, the agency said. The remaining four per cent was the result of natural increase, or the difference between the number of births and deaths.
- The level of immigration in Canada, and Ottawa’s ambitions, have been tied into the ongoing housing crisis. The minority Liberals have aggressively increased their immigration targets over the past several years, and surpassed records for the number of permanent residents admitted in a year in both 2021 and 2022.
- Housing Minister Sean Fraser told Global News earlier this month that immigration “reforms” should be considered amid the housing crunch. Multiple housing experts, including a senior official at Fraser’s own federal housing agency, have said that the Liberals’ immigration policy has driven up both house prices and rent.
- Of course, Fraser was the one who oversaw a lot of this huge amount of immigration, as he was immigration minister directly before becoming in charge of housing!
- At current building levels, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation predicts Canada will be short 3.5 million homes, in addition to what’s currently being built, to restore housing affordability by 2030. Housing affordability, meanwhile, hit its worst level in more than four decades last quarter, the Bank of Canada said last week.
- Ottawa has touted several plans to speed up supply, including recently announcing a modernization of a Second World War-era housing plan that saw hundreds of thousands of homes built from thousands of pre-approved plans between the 1940s and the late 1970s.
- While Canada's GDP remains propped up by the insane housing crisis, because of so many immigrants, the GDP per capita is falling quite drastically.
- Cost of living and lack of housing is also causing a lot of British Columbians to move out of the province. B.C. has recorded its largest period of interprovincial migration losses in 20 years, with a net of more than 12,800 people moving elsewhere in Canada since July 2022, according to Statistics Canada.
- It's the first time in a decade B.C. has seen 15 months in a row of more people moving out-of-province than it gains — and most are moving to Alberta in the exodus.
- However, B.C. also saw a record number of people arriving from outside Canada, far outweighing its losses to other provinces and the territories.
- It added a net 66,100 international migrants last quarter and 151,437 so far in 2023, an increase largely driven by non-permanent residents, according to Statistics Canada.
- In all, B.C.'s 5.6 million population has risen approximately 4.2 per cent in the last year.
- Alberta has now recorded gains of more than 10,000 people from elsewhere in Canada for five quarters in a row.
- "Most of Alberta's population gains through inter-provincial migration were due to its exchanges with Ontario and British Columbia," Statistics Canada said in a release.
- Alberta's government said Tuesday it had ended the "Alberta is Calling" advertisements it began in 2022, boasting "bigger paycheques" and "smaller rent cheques" to convince Canadians to make the move. However rents in Alberta, particularly in Calgary, have also risen with its growing population.
- B.C. Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon says despite the losses to Alberta, Statistics Canada's Tuesday report is a positive one for the province.
- "Yes, we've seen some people leave the province in their inter-provincial migration but overall, the growth in population that we've seen in the last quarter but [also] over the last two years is history-making given that the growth is driven by people coming from outside Canada. People are coming, they see opportunity here [and] they're coming."
- But Kahlon said he is still concerned when British Columbians cite the rising costs of living and record rents — the highest on average in Canada — as their reasons for looking elsewhere.
- "My biggest worry is talent leaving outside of North America, outside of British Columbia, outside of Canada, to other jurisdictions because they can't afford it here. It's vitally important that we have the infrastructure, the housing, the health care, the schools to support that type of [population] growth."
- Kahlon noted the NDP's recent legislative changes aimed at increasing the amount of rental housing being built. While he's optimistic, Kahlon said Canadians won't be seeing a "B.C. Beckons" campaign anytime soon.
- One of the reasons we do not need a BC Beckons is that we're already being overwhelmed with people from Trudeau's immigration plan. The BC government won't say it, and even though they're making efforts to boost housing infrastructure, it's just not enough for how many we have coming. Canada is becoming overloaded and we're reaching a point of no return.
- Danielle Smith’s government has had a significant history in dealing with the aftermath of the province’s COVID pandemic restrictions. This isn’t a topic we like talking about since it’s clearly in the rear view mirror now but the discourse around this subject warrants another look this week.
- We come to you because the Alberta ethics commissioner ended an investigation into the revocation of Dr. Deena Hinshaw’s job offer with an Indigenous health team at AHS this summer.
- There has been question about what role if any Dr. Deena Hinshaw should play in Alberta after overseeing the day to day briefings and public health emergency related to the COVID pandemic.
- Physicians earlier this year signed a letter asking for an ethics investigation into why Dr. Hinshaw was hired then fired from the Indigenous Health Team at AHS.
- On December 18th, just 5 days ago as of recording, CBC reported that those doctors got their wish!
- CBC confidently reported that the investigation was happening but timing and status were unclear.
- The framing around the story was that there was a job offer in June that was taken away just days before Hinshaw was due to start. This of course raised the eyebrows of many thinking that it could have been retribution for how Hinshaw carried out pandemic related health orders.
- The order to hire Hinshaw came from Dr. John Cowell, the then administrator of AHS.
- Why this is important is that it turns out that the subject of the investigation was actually Dr. John Cowell.
- In a letter sent to Health Minister Adriana LaGrange on December 18th it was specified that the investigation had ended and the subject was actually Dr. John Cowell.
- What’s more, Ethics Commissioner Marguerite Trussler made it clear that the public needed to understand that this wasn’t an ethics investigation.
- Instead it was about potential conflict of interest.
- Trussler said, "It's just the very narrow confines of the Conflicts of Interest Act to see if there was in any way a private interest of Dr. Cowell involved — and there was always a possibility because they renewed his contract during that period of time. I found he didn't make the decision and there was no private interest being furthered.”
- It was also determined that Dr. Cowell had no input in Dr. Hinshaw’s termination and her employment was terminated through the proper process.
- The public as it has been said by the CBC, other media outlets, and the NDP has been asking for this investigation and also insinuated that Danielle Smith may have had something to do with Hinshaw’s dismissal.
- But Trussler said that given what she saw in the investigation of Dr. Cowell, she did not pursue an investigation of the Premier.
- “[Smith] wouldn’t have a private interest, she would only have a political interest, and people don’t understand the distinction.”
- The interesting part about this story is two-fold:
- First the letter isn’t published by the CBC but enough of its intent and content tell us that the investigation many thought and hoped for, didn’t happen. And when there was some kind of investigation, nothing bad was found to have happened with Premier Smith.
- The second is that we see the same lack of accountability in the mainstream media. What was published was proven to be a fake. In the end though there was no discussion of the CBC realizing they were wrong. The framing simply changed. That’s how fake news operates in 2023.
- In a final note for Alberta health care in 2023: the government has committed an extra $200m to help family doctors keep their practices running. The province also finalized a new $1b healthcare deal with the federal government making them the third to do so.
- Both signify a commitment to the public healthcare model for better or worse and that new money will continue to flow into the healthcare system.
- About a month ago, we discussed a BC story where the federal government was spending tens of billions of dollars funding battery plants for electric vehicles, not just in Maple Ridge BC but also in Ontario and Quebec. At the time, I noted that BC's Zero Emissions Act stipulates that 26 per cent of vehicle sales are to be electric by 2026, 90 per cent by 2030 and 100 per cent by 2035. Since that announcement, we've had further news on the electric vehicle front, with the federal government also introducing regulations similar to the BC government.
- New regulations being published this week by Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault will effectively end sales of new passenger vehicles powered only by gasoline or diesel in 2035. Guilbeault said the Electric Vehicle Availability Standard will encourage automakers to make more battery-powered cars and trucks available in Canada.
- Guilbeault notes the sizable growth in EV sales in Canada and demand that has previously outstripped the available supply. Automakers will have the next 12 years to phase out combustion engine cars, trucks and SUVs with a requirement to gradually increase the proportion of electric models they offer for sale each year.
- It will start with 20 per cent in 2026 and rise slightly to 23 per cent in 2027. After that, the share of EVs will begin to increase much faster, so that by 2028, 34 per cent of all vehicles sold will need to be electric — 43 per cent by 2029 and 60 per cent by 2030. That number keeps rising until it hits 100 per cent in 2035.
- One of the issues halting adoption of EVs is the lack of available charging infrastructure. Guilbeault said the government is working to revise the national building code to encourage the spread of charging stations. The updated code would ensure that residential buildings constructed after 2025 have the electrical capacity to accommodate the charging stations. Still, that only gives 10 years before 100% hybrid or EV sales, which is not much time to fully make the switch.
- Another issue is the extreme cost of EVs compared to conventional vehicles. Building an EV isn’t cheap. Although EVs don’t have conventional engines, they need an electric battery to work. The battery relies on pricey minerals such as cobalt, manganese and nickel (to name a few), which drive up manufacturing costs. Higher manufacturing costs mean higher sales prices for consumers. This is why EVs can cost tens of thousands of dollars more than comparable gas-powered autos.
- Industry leaders from Canada’s automotive sector are warning Canadians that a national transition towards electrical vehicles is premature. They warned in a press conference that Canada is not ready for the Trudeau government’s desired transition away from combustion engine vehicles because consumers are not accepting the transition and the government has not set the preconditions for EVs to succeed in the market.
- The representatives included Tim Reuss of the Canadian Automotive Dealers Association, Brian Kingston of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association, and David Adams of Global Automakers of Canada.
- Reuss said: “With the current high interest rates and high inflation severely impacting consumer affordability, many consumers lack the means to purchase EVs as evidenced by the rising inventory levels on our dealers’ lots today. Instead of attempting to dictate what individuals have to purchase, we suggest government focus on creating the right set of circumstances to stimulate demand.”
- Reuss went on to warn that EV mileage sees a significant reduction when temperatures drop below freezing and that rural Canadians would be disproportionately impacted. The range of electric vehicles can plummet by as much as 41% in cold weather.
- A third problem with EVs is that when the battery needs replacing, it's a monumental cost that also takes a long time to do. Mississauga, Ont., resident Atif Harooni bought a new Leaf in 2017 to save money on gas and to take advantage of a $14,000 government rebate for electric vehicles.
- Harooni was told the vehicle's main high-voltage battery needed to be replaced after the car broke down on the highway twice last year: first in late November, then again one week later. He had to hire a tow truck to haul it to his local dealership in Milton, Ont., both times.
- While the replacement falls under the warranty covering 160,000 km or eight years, whichever comes first, Harooni said he is still waiting for it to arrive — and he has no idea when that might be.
- He said at first he was told by staff at the Milton dealership that a replacement battery was in stock and would be ready in a week. Then, he was told he would have to wait three months.
- One year later, Harooni's still driving a courtesy rental car and paying out of pocket for gas while his Nissan Leaf sits in the parking lot of the dealership. He said he's moved up from 17th to 15th in the nationwide queue for replacement batteries, but still doesn't have an estimated date for when he might get one.
- While the Canadian government is following the BC government in attempting to force consumers to only buy electric vehicles, as we have seen, huge problems exist for owners and would-be enthusiasts that are unheard of for conventional vehicles. Without the infrastructure in place to allow for these switches to make, the legislation is doomed to fail. That is, of course, unless a different government comes in that repeals the legislation.
- A number of weeks ago we discussed the list of parties granted intervenor status in the foreign interference inquiry. Nobody talked about this list in the mainstream media and we raised concern with one of the names in particular.
- This week we have news regarding Senator Yuen Pau Woo and his interactions with the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP’s) United Front.
- And as it turns out, Yuen Pau Woo was one of the people granted intervenor status and we questioned about what side he would be intervening for.
- The new information surfaced by The Bureau says that Yuen Pau Woo promised to shield members of the United Front from critical scrutiny in Canada for taking a pro-China stance on the issues such as the Uyghurs.
- Not only did Woo pledge to shield United Front operations, he pledged support to some of these organizations.
- The United Front is a group that does the CCP’s bidding in foreign countries and routinely harasses members of the Chinese diaspora abroad.
- What it effectively comes down to is that Woo is legitimizing the United Front’s ever expanding networks of influence which was one of the groups that facilitated China’s interference in the 2019 federal election.
- The Bureau obtained recordings of Senator Woo’s 2020 meeting from a Chinese Canadian that believes the briefing raised national security concerns. Charles Burton, a fluent Mandarin speaker and former Canadian diplomat, analysed Woo’s statements and called them shocking.
- “Senator Woo's briefing to Canada Committee 100 Society effectively enables the legitimacy of agencies of the Chinese Communist Party in our country,” Burton said. “This does call into question Senator Woo's intervener status in the Inquiry.”
- The Bureau provided the tapes to CSIS which responded with a statement: “Individuals purposefully aligning themselves with United Front Work Department (UFWD) designated organizations should understand its ongoing actions targeting members of Canadian communities with harassment, manipulation or intimidation. The PRC uses its UFWD in Canada and around the world to stifle criticism and manipulate Canadian communities. These activities constitute a threat to Canada’s sovereignty and to the safety of Canadians.”
- In reviewing Canadian intelligence documents that Commissioner Hogue could access, The Bureau found in a January 2022 Privy Council Office “Special Report” that summarises the situation and validates core allegations gleaned from CSIS investigations into China’s United Front election interference in Toronto.
- The Special Report concludes that Beijing’s pervasive interference escalated in 2015 when President Xi promoted the United Front in the CCP operations abroad.
- The document highlights “a large clandestine transfer of funds earmarked for the Federal Election from the PRC Consulate in Toronto was transferred” into the 2019 election influence network which included at least 11 federal candidates and 13 campaign staff.
- The documentation confirms that federal Minister Mary Ng who is Minister of Export Promotion, International Trade, and Economic development was an unwitting accomplice in the 2019 interference.
- Minister Ng is a member of Trudeau’s inner circle who rose swiftly in his government, first serving as a senior aide in Trudeau’s office before stepping up to replace Liberal MP John McCallum in a 2017 by-election in Markham, a coveted riding for federal Liberals with a large demographic of voters from Hong Kong and China.
- National security sources have also said that Ng’s staff was allegedly privately meeting with a Toronto Consulate diplomat to consult on China-related issues.
- And that diplomat, Wei Zhao, has been assessed by CSIS to be a “confirmed intelligence actor.”
- Wei Zhao was expelled from Canada in May 2023.
- This story and the revelations yet thrust into the eyes of many Canadians illustrate why we need this inquiry. Why it needs to be transparent, and why we all need to be clear about who is intervening on what side.
- Once upon a time when the first rumblings of Chinese influence in Canada became aware we thought it was a few isolated cases and we at the time didn’t believe the cabinet could be compromised but it looked as though that may be the case.
- Now we know that the cabinet has likely been compromised at least in an unwitting manner.
- 2024 must get to the bottom of this and Canadians need to be aware of who is truly pulling the strings.
Quote of the Week
"Yes, we've seen some people leave the province in their inter-provincial migration but overall, the growth in population that we've seen in the last quarter but [also] over the last two years is history-making given that the growth is driven by people coming from outside Canada. People are coming, they see opportunity here [and] they're coming." - BC Housing Minister Ravi Kahlon on immigration to BC.
Word of the Week
Intervenor - A third party that is given limited or full rights to participate in a court case
How to Find Us
Episode Title: Immigrants and Intervenors
Teaser: Canada’s population increases like never before, the CBC writes fake news about Deena Hinshaw, and the Trudeau Liberals phase out gas car sales by 2035. Also, an investigation into Yuen Pau Woo reveals our cabinet may be compromised.
Recorded Date: December 23, 2023
Release Date: December 24, 2023
Edit Notes: None
Podcast Summary Notes