The next question, based on immigration, began with Harper being asked: “All parties agree that immigration is central to Canada’s long-term economic strategy. What is the right balance between economic migrants and those seeking family reunification?” Harper began by saying his government was the only one that had not decreased immigration numbers while in a recession. He also said the immigration system should be improved.
When asked Trudeau spoke of immigration being Canada’s strength. He said that family reunification was important because they are workers and community builders. Mulcair said that Canada was a country based on immigrants and defended Trudeau, saying that the Conservatives had reduced family reunification. Mulcair also spoke of the temporary workers’ program, saying it had grown out of control. While Harper spoke about the previous Liberal government reducing immigrants, Trudeau responded that as refugees are allowed to enter “Mr. Harper takes away their health care.” With an indirect reference to Syrian refugees saying that the true fighters were persons trying to bring families back together. He said that Canada had to be a more welcoming country, accepting more refugees, not cutting back on security, but not using it to reduce.
Harper responded by saying that the other two (Mulcair and Trudeau) would open Canada to all without security. Mulcair directly referred to Syria telling Harper to not use security as an excuse to delay.
After refugees leaders were faced with housing. Trudeau was faced with “Canadians have been on a borrowing binge to buy ever more expensive homes. What would you do to guard against a housing bubble?”
Saying that most Canadians’ financial security lies in their homes, it is necessary to ensure that as housing prices rise, incomes rise. To do this economic growth is needed, reassuring Canadians. Saying that most Canadians are searching for housing because they can’t find rental housing he said the Liberals would invest in the rental housing industry. When asked about foreign ownership Trudeau said “we don’t have enough accurate data to understand what actually is happening. And one of the reasons for that is Mr. Harper has chosen to cut the long-form census and it leaves us with less understanding”. He said the Liberals would restore the long-form census and they would commit to working with provinces and municipalities.
In response Mulcair referred to the previous Liberal government’s cut to the national housing strategy. He then turned the topic to the NDP plan of affordable child care. He also spoke you young Canadians today having the largest student debt. Together with a federal minimum wage of $15/hour, Mulcair used this to help give Canadians more money in their pockets.
When asked for his statement Harper said global financial crisis have been based on housing industry crashes. In turn he said with low interest rates and concrete job prospects “we should celebrate” and think about how this could be protected. Referring to more opportunities to save – double in the TFSA – he said tax increases were not necessary
Mulcair responded by promoting the NDP childcare plan while attacking Harper’s defense of the current housing market. Saying childcare and the federal minimum wage would put more money in Canadians’ pockets. Trudeau rebutted, saying the federal minimum wage would give false hope to Canadians in places like coffee shop currently earning minimum wage, effecting 99% of Canadians earning minimum wage.
When asked Harper said the Conservatives were bringing in a home renovation plan and a home buyers plan adding present measures such as the increase in the Universal Childcare Benefit (UCCB). Trudeau said both Mulcair and Harper would continue to send the UCCB to the upper-class.