Thursday, August 29, 2013

More Lies From Harper Inc.



By now, most Canadians are probably aware that truth and the Harper regime are total strangers. Whether talking about the cost estimates of F-35 jets, knowledge about the Wright-Duffy-Wallin Senate scandal, reasons for taking rides from military helicopters to return from the cottage, spending $50 million on gazebos, everything the government says is suspect. People become used to such dishonesty, deceit and contempt, but I hope they never become inured to these egregious signs of overweening pride and arrogance from the people who 'serve' us.

Recent claims of revisions to the Temporary Foreign Workers Program that would ensure employers offer jobs to Canadians first appear to be yet just another lie issued by the government to quell widespread discontent. A story in today's Edmonton Journal reports the following:

Hundreds of Alberta employers are being allowed to bring temporary foreign workers into the province at minimum wage despite a federal government requirement they be paid at or near market rates.

Internal documents reveal officials at Human Resources and Skill Development Canada are letting businesses like big restaurant chains and large nurseries pay imported employees as little as $9.75 an hour.

The Alberta Federation of Labour, which gained the truth through a federal access to information request, says of the foreign workers,

“They’re being used as pawns by employers who don’t want to respond to the market signals that are telling them they need to raise wages”.

And the implication of this deceitful practice has implications far beyond the temporary workers directly affected:

Don Drummond, a former chief economist with TD Bank and deputy minister with the federal finance department, worries the documents show the TFW program is being used to artificially suppress wages in the province’s labour market despite a robust economy.

“If this program is creating a substantial number of positions at minimum wage,” said Drummond, “it’s dragging down wages throughout the province’s entire economy.”


Predictably, Dr. Kellie Leitch, the federal labour minister, did not respond to written questions about why this is being allowed.

Slavery was abolished in the United States in 1865 with the 13th Amendment to the Consitution. Apparently it continues under another name in our own country today.

8 comments:

  1. Guest worker programmes are susceptible to sleight of hand business practices and the governments that create them know it all too well. In the resource sector, imported Chinese labour is one of the conjuring tricks that can be used to bolster the bottom line and improve profits and royalties at the direct expense of Canadian workers.

    It's a hallmark of any Petro-State

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    1. There are many things i get outraged about, Mound; being lied to by my government as it serves the corporate agenda is near the top of my list.

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  2. They lie because they have gotten away with it in the past, Lorne. And, until they are exposed as serial liars, they will not change.

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    1. There is something quite pathological about their behaviour, isn't there, Owen?

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  3. Harper has just claimed that Justin Trudeau is promoting pot use among children. Justin arguably has a case for slander since that is clearly not what he is suggesting at all.

    Unfortunately, Harper will get away with it because Justin likely wants to show that he is a "bigger" person. If it were the reverse, it would be a pretty good bet Justin would have a lawsuit on his hands. At the very least, he would have to apologize to Dear Leader.

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    1. The perversion of truth is something the Harper regime thrives on, Anon. We can only hope that the Canadian people are beginning to see through this shameful tactic that does such a grave disservice to our democracy.

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  4. In the late 1970s one of my brothers was one of the eastern “bums and creeps” who relocated to Calgary. Working for the next five years as a landscaper and a material handler he was earning a minimum of ten dollars an hour while, working at an industrial job in the skilled trades in Ontario, I was always making less than he did. Prior to the oil price collapse we heard complaints that restaurant workers were often being paid up to thirteen dollars per hour. That was thirty years ago. Now we want to import the workers, employ them on terms of probationary service similar to indentured servitude, warehouse them in overpriced rental basement dormitories and pay them at rates that are sometimes less than what they were a generation ago.

    I don’t think that it’s just corporate interests that are benefitting from the distorted equilibrium in wage pricing that the programmes are designed to produce. A host of smaller players who have entered the risk-taking world of entrepreneurship are equally pleased to have been afforded the opportunity to make use of a cheaper foreign-sourced pool of appreciative, compliant and disposable unskilled labour, rather than offer the wages and working conditions that would be necessary to attract some young locals or some “bums and creeps” from other parts of the country. Most of these wealth-creating situational rugged individualists would no doubt be Harper and Jason Kenney supporters.

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    1. Well-said, John. I suspect that as long as the robber barons and their followers, both big and small, are supported by the practices of a corrupt and morally bankrupt government, the exploitation of human labour will continue. Until we as a nation demand dignity and equity for all, what we want and expect from our government will likely continue to be of little concern to it.

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