NATIONAL PULSE – Number of those who want fewer immigrants is rising

Historical analysis finds preference for fewer, not more immigrants, regardless of actual levels


Aug. 21, 2018 – Against the backdrop of more frequent, and increasingly fraught conversations about policy regarding immigration and migration to Canada, analysis of current and historical public opinion data by the Angus Reid Institute finds that half of Canadians would prefer to see the federal government’s current immigration targets of 310,000 new permanent residents for 2018 decreased.

For those currently opposed, the qualifications of immigrants do not appear to matter. While Canadians are generally positive about the economic benefits of immigration for the country, across each of the three major classes of permanent residents – economic, family and refugee/humanitarian – a majority of those who say immigration is too high also say that each of these individual group totals should be reduced.

This analysis finds that over the course of four decades, the number of Canadians saying immigration is either at the right level or should be increased has remained above 50 per cent, even as immigration levels have consistently risen, beginning under the Mulroney government in the 1980’s. Over the same period of time, the number saying immigration levels should be decreased has fluctuated within the 40 to 50 per cent range, suggesting the issue has been a source of division for more than 40 years.

The most recent data reveals a notable change, however. As immigration targets have risen from 260,000 to 310,000 between 2014 and 2018, so too have the number of people saying there should be fewer immigrants to Canada: one-third (36%) said this in 2014, half (49%) say it now.

More Key Findings:

  • Half of Canadians (49%) say that the 2018 target of 310,000 is too high. Three-in-ten see that number as about right, while the rest say it is either too low (6%) or they are unsure (14%)
  • Past Liberal and NDP voters are far more inclined to say that levels are “about right” (41% and 35% respectively) than 2015 Conservative voters – two-thirds of whom (67%) say immigration should be reduced.
  • Overall, however, a significant segment – at least four-in-ten who voted for each of the three main parties in 2015 say immigration levels should be reduced
  • Educational attainment appears to be a factor in views about immigration levels. Those with a high school education or less are nearly twice as likely as university educated Canadians to say that levels should be reduced (59% to 32%).

Link to the poll here:

About Mel Rothenburger (6629 Articles) is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on NATIONAL PULSE – Number of those who want fewer immigrants is rising

  1. Jennie Stadnichuk // August 21, 2018 at 8:54 PM // Reply

    I agree with previous comment (Ian MacK….) and especially when I read the Angus Reid Report and its several links. Especially interesting was that new immigrants are giving more funds charitably and wish they could give more. They express their gratitude at being in Canada by sharing more.

  2. Ian MacKenzie // August 21, 2018 at 10:13 AM // Reply

    It just makes sense to me that until THE WORLD gets a handle on population increase (and please don’t tell me it’s going to level off by itself) we must accept increased immigration and migrants, whether they benefit the country or not. Densification is our destiny.

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