This article originally appeared in the Financial Post. Below is an excerpt from the article.
By Jack Mintz, August 25, 2023
Alfred Lord Tennyson’s famous poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade, memorialized the bravery of British soldiers as they attacked Russian forces in the 1854 battle of Balaclava during the Crimean War. “Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred” tolls throughout the poem. Tragically, the soldiers’ courage was betrayed by a careless mistake: they were sent the wrong way. Either the command was poorly communicated, or it was misunderstood by the brigade’s leader. Whichever was the case, the six hundred needn’t have died, if only the right plan had been executed.
Tennyson’s poem comes to mind as the Trudeau cabinet meets this week to plan its own version of what may turn into a political charge of the light brigade, especially in light of its immigration policies and new clean electricity regulations (CER). Immigration is being used to offset population aging. The CER are intended to combat climate change. Both are worthy goals, but the government’s current plans are fraught with danger because they ignore their obvious downsides.
Take immigration first. In the past year, the Liberals brought in more than a million permanent and temporary workers — a 2.7-per cent increase in Canada’s population. The surge in the working population — 238,000 in the second quarter of this year alone — is almost triple the average of the past 40 years. Canadians overwhelmingly support immigration, but for most of us this is likely to be a stretch too far. As an August National Bank of Canada study shows, housing starts are currently only a quarter of population growth, compared to the historical average of 61 per cent.