Yesterday, over at Northern Reflections, Owen Gray wrote a post entitled A Lost Generation, a reflection on the discouraging prospects our young people face in establishing themselves in gainful employment, and the fact that their plight does not seem to be a factor in the Harper regime's decision-making.
I left the following comment on his blog:
Not only are our overlords ignoring the problem you describe here, Owen, but they are in fact compounding it by recruiting young people from Ireland to come work in Canada.
This inexplicable policy, apparently spearheaded by Jason Kenney, should outrage all of us, after which I provided a link to a story from the Star detailing Jason Kenney's efforts to recruit young people from Ireland to come to Canada for jobs.
Owen replied with the following:
It's all about driving down everyone's wages, Lorne. That was one of the items on the agenda when Mr. Flaherty met with the movers and shakers two summers ago.
Put that together with this government's preemptive moves on unions before a strike starts, and it's clear who this government serves.
It's not we, the people. And it's certainly not the young.
Owen's insight, it seems, is spot on. In his column today, The Star's Thomas Walkom looks at how Canada is using imported labour to do just that, keep everyone's wages down:
... the Vancouver Sun has reported, four brand new coal mines in the province’s northeast are bringing in just under 2,000 temporary Chinese migrants to do most of the work.
The ostensible reason, a spokesman for Canadian Dehua International Mines Group Inc. is reported as saying, is that not enough Canadians are skilled enough to do underground mining.
Let me repeat that. Not enough underground miners. In Canada.
Those who spent their working lives underground in Northern Ontario, or Quebec or Saskatchewan or Cape Breton would be surprised to hear this.
Walkom goes on to point out that the B.C. situation is hardly an exception, that the number of visas granted to temporary foreign workers is exploding; these workers, ranging from coffee shop staff in Alberta to those employed at XL Foods, hardly meet the criteria under which the foreign workers program was established, i.e. to do jobs for which they are uniquely qualified.
Walkom's conclusion? That they are being permitted entry because they are unlikely to complain of low wages or join a union. Their presence thus sends a strong message to the unemployed in Canada: Work for less, or others will take the jobs from you.
It’s one thing for the Harper Conservatives to return us to the status of a resource economy. It is another for them to insist that we become a low-wage resource economy.
And, of course, while such a policy may be a boon to our corporate masters, it is just one more obstacle that our young people have to face in their efforts to establish their careers.