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Increasing number of Canadians hold negative view on immigration, poll finds

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With Canadians continuing to face a housing crisis and high living costs, a new survey has found a growing number of residents view immigration as having a negative affect on the country.

The Research Co. poll, which was released Wednesday, found 44 per cent of respondents believe immigration is having a mostly negative affect on Canada, up six per cent from last year.

“This is not something we saw a year ago or two years ago," said Mario Canseco, Research Co. president. "It's been slowly bubbling." 

By comparison, just 42 per cent of those polled said they view immigration positively.

What’s more, nearly half of respondents across the country – 46 per cent – want to see legal immigration decrease. That figure is even higher in B.C., at 48 per cent.

Canseco said the housing crisis factors heavily in those opinions.

"(Some question) if we can't really have homes for everybody here, how are we going to deal with another influx of immigrants?" he said.

The impact of newcomers has also sparked a war of words between B.C.'s premier and Ottawa.

On Monday, David Eby lashed out at the federal government for not providing the province with more financial support, after Quebec was given $750 million to help with the cost of asylum-seekers.

The premier called it "the straw that broke this camel's back" to see "money being showered down on Quebec and Ontario" as B.C. is left scrounging for "what's left over."

Federal Immigration Minister Marc Miller responded, suggesting that Eby was confused on the issue – noting Quebec receives two-thirds of all asylum-seekers, while B.C. takes in less than two per cent.

“Well, he's entitled to his opinion," Miller said. "I think the facts about asylum seekers in B.C. as a proportion of what Ontario and Quebec are taking in speak for themselves."

Eby doubled down on Wednesday, reiterating a claim that B.C. gets 10,000 net new residents every 37 days, counting legal immigrants and others.

“No matter how you look at it, in exact dollars, per capita, or as a ratio of our GDP, western provinces get less from the federal government.

all I ask is that British Columbians get their fair share from Ottawa to support our rapidly growing population so that everyone can build a good life here," the premier added.

The Research Co. survey was conducted online from June 1 to 3, among 1,001 adults in Canada. The results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. 

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