Saturday, April 28, 2012

Walkom: Ottawa’s low-wage immigration policy threatens turmoil

The Toronto Star's Thomas Walkom is one of Canada's best columnists. He is well informed, provides some good arguments and above all else tackles issues the rest of the media ignores. In yesterday's column he tackled something that has long irked me, viz., the huge numbers of temporary foreign workers that the Conservatives have allowed in. This is an issue the Liberals and NDP should be all over.

There is an implicit bargain in Canada regarding immigration. Canadians agree to welcome newcomers. In return, the government agrees not to use immigrants to drive down the wages of those already living here..

While never formally acknowledged, it’s a bargain that’s been in place since at least World War II, one that has prevented the kind of anti-immigrant agitation now roiling Europe..

And it is a bargain that Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are deliberately setting out to break..

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley made the break specific this week when she announced that Ottawa will now let employers pay temporary foreign workers less than Canadians..

The Conservatives talk a good game on immigration. Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks of rationalizing the complex system used to decide who comes to Canada and of bringing it in line with what he calls the needs of the economy..

In last month’s federal budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said employers would have to make every effort to hire unemployed Canadians before they’d be allowed to bring in temporary foreign workers..

But in reality, the federal Conservative government’s entire immigration policy is geared to just one goal: lowering wages. ...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Now that immigration minister Jason Kenny has cut funding for health care for refugees we have even marginalized newcomers even further. This is pure discrimination and a direct violation of the right to life liberty and security of the person. We are a very very very rich nation and we should spread our wealth and help those that need it around the world. We have lots of space in Canada and the ability to be a world leader in human rights. So what if a refugee gets a pair of glasses paid for by the government! These people deserve to be treated equal as per the Charter of Rights. That's what being Canadian is realy about.