Tuesday September 02, 2014

EDITORIAL - Businesses need temporary workers


The federal government once again is out-of-touch with the reality of a country as large as Canada.

Last Thursday Employment Minister Jason Kenney announced a decision to impose an immediate moratorium on allowing restaurants to hire temporary foreign workers.

The federal program has faced controversy over the past year as some employees across the country have complained publicly about being replaced by temporary foreign workers.

Kenney said in a statement Thursday evening that his earlier effort to sanction specific outlets wasn’t working and that wider action was needed.

This is a jackhammer solution to deal with a mechanism which might need a little fine-tuning but not a moratorium no matter how short-lived.

Kenney and his Conservative cohorts need to recognize that in a country as large as Canada a situation in one region can be decidedly different than in another.

Yorkton and Saskatchewan need immigrant workers.

It is a message local MP Garry Breitkreuz might want to be raising with his party.

While the vibrant economy of Saskatchewan the last couple of years may have cooled somewhat, there are still plenty of employee-wanted signs in our city, many of those within the hospitality industry and specifically the fast food restaurant sector.

There may be some locally who will lament that an immigrant worker has a job that could have been filled by a local person, but in truth, the help wanted signs suggest such jobs still exist to be filled. If people truly want a fast food job, they need only to look around for options.

As it is, there are many immigrants filling positions in our city, and it’s a sure bet some are temporary foreign workers.

That is good for the city.

We have people employed in positions otherwise not likely to have anyone doing the work.

In the process our city has become more vibrant in terms of a diverse cultural mix. One only needs to look at the fact there is growing interest in cricket as an indication of how the newest wave of immigration is changing our city.

Of all countries Canada should be a leader is not just accepting immigrants, but is embracing all they mean to an economy and our culture.

With the exception of First Nations people, who themselves may have arrived from what is now Russia centuries ago we all have our roots in different countries.

Yet somehow Ukrainians, Germans, Irish, Brits, Chinese and a hundred other nationalities worked together to forge our nation.

The new wave of immigration may be arriving from different countries than a century ago, but they share the same dream, that Canada can offer them and their families a better future.

Maybe the greatest flaw in the temporary foreign workers program is that it is looked upon as being temporary. These workers can offer Canada much, and the feds recent decision is simply ill-tied and wrong-minded, especially from the perspective of Saskatchewan and our city.



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