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Temporary foreign workers and Canadian Mines

NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

Union's Decry Influx of Foreign Mining Workers

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/unions-decry-influx...

"We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal-mining in China..."


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kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Here is a good article about the situation from the Tyee yesterday.  Unlike the "national" paper the Tyee had been reporting on this story since February.

Quote:

"Premier Christy Clark today announced financing worth $1.36 billion for two major investments which will eventually create over 6,700 jobs. 'This investment clearly shows how confident China is in British Columbia's world-class mining resources and strong investment climate,' said Premier Christy Clark. 'These two projects support our BC Jobs Plan and according to the companies will create over 6,700 jobs and other economic benefits for British Columbians.'"

What the provincial leader didn't mention was that most of the direct mining jobs would go to temporary foreign workers brought to mining camps in the northeast of the province from China. Now, as British Columbians get a closer look at the deal's implications, the government is facing criticism from a local union that says the use of temporary foreign workers will deny jobs to Canadians and expose the temporary workers to exploitation. Environmentalists are piling on, saying that the climate destabilizing coal should remain in the ground because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming. And a local First Nation isn't budging in its firm rejection of the mine.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/15/China-Temp-Miners/


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

As well this morning this Oped appeared in the Tyee.  The first settler, coastal communities in BC were the coal mining towns like Cumberland and Nanaimo. That history is one of racist exploitation and disregard for the lives of Asians employed at less wages than their white counterparts.

Quote:

BC's history of exploiting foreign workers

Racism? Yes. Up to 2,000 Chinese temporary foreign workers at as many as four mines with heavy Chinese investment will be paid less than Caucasian or other workers of different ethnic origins in the mining industry.

That's one big reason why they're coming here -- because underground machinery mechanics will be paid $25 to $32 an hour according to one coal company's job ads -- rather than Canadian mining industry rates of up to more than double that.

The Chinese workers will live in isolated camps at the underground mines in northeast B.C., just as in previous centuries.

Like their predecessors in the 1870s who came to work in B.C. coal mines, they will not have a vote in this country.

And like 6,500 Chinese workers brought to Canada to construct the CPR railroad through the mountains from 1880 to 1885 where at least 600 of them died on the job, they will also be doing some of the most dangerous work in the world.

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/10/16/Chinese-Temp-Miners/


Boom Boom
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Joined: Dec 29 2004

Can this be blocked? Overturned?


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Thanks for that update, kropotkin. Truly galling stuff.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

It gets worse.  The Chinese miners are being forced to pay for their jobs. $12,500 if the reports are correct.

Quote:

One of the recruiters, who claimed to be working for a British Columbia-based company called the Canada CIBS Investment and Trade Group said 30,000 yuan ($4,700 CAD) is paid upon a contract being signed in China, and an additional 50,000 yuan ($7,800 CAD) is paid over 20 months after arrival in Canada.

"We are an employment agency and we need to charge you an agent fee," wrote the recruiter in a conversation in Chinese via QQ, a Chinese version of MSN Messenger.

"Before you leave China, you must pay us 30,000 yuan, when you live in Canada, you must pay the rest -- 50,000 yuan."

According to China's state-run media outlet Xinhua, a coal miner in China earns about 1,000 yuan a month, making the upfront agency fee two-and-a-half-year’s salary for workers who accept the offer.

The recruiter said the employer will deduct the remaining recruiter's fee from workers' paycheques, about $400 CAD a month.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/18/Chinese-Temp-Miners/


Left Turn
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Joined: Mar 28 2005

Not only do we need to fight against the exploitation of foreign temporary Chinese coal mine workers, we also need to fight to stop coal exports from this province. We have to get humanity off of our adiction to coal and other fossil fuels, which is literally cooking our planet.

Coal Free BC|Wilderness Committee

Quote:
Currently there are over 12 new coal mines proposed in BC. On Vancouver Island, there are plans for three new mines in the Comox Valley, and a coal port in Port Alberni. Local opposition has highlighted the impact this proposal would have on drinking water, and on the thriving Fanny Bay oyster industry. In the Peace River region of northeastern BC, new coal mines threaten critical habitat for the endangered caribou herds that were once plentiful in the region. The mighty salmon rivers of the Sacred Headwaters are also at risk from a giant open-pit mine proposal. And additional proposals in the Kootenays will intensify the existing mining activity in the Elk Valley, and move further into intact wilderness.

Quote:
Deltaport is currently undergoing an expansion, increasing capacity by 50 per cent by adding a third berth and making the port the largest container terminal on Canada’s west coast. The
Vancouver Port Authority is now also pushing ahead with plans to add a second terminal, which
combined will result in more than a three-fold increase in capacity. The so-called Terminal 2 project could industrialize over 1000 hectares of agricultural land and destroy a key bird habitat that's part of the Pacific Flyway for migratory birds. Additional port capacity would also be created at Neptune Terminals in West Vancouver, Pacific Coast Terminals in Port Moody and Ridley Terminals in Prince Rupert.

This indicates an opening for a united front campaign in BC involving opponents of coal mining; immigrant rights activists opposed to the Temporary Foreign Worker program; and opponents of the Deltaport expansion, including oppoents of the Speical economic zone the federal and provincial governments want to bring in at the port, where Canadian labour standards are to be shredded.


NorthReport
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Unions slam 'mass importation' of Chinese workers for B.C. coal mine

 

http://www.calgaryherald.com/Unions+slam+mass+importation+Chinese+worker...

 

A major B.C. labour organization denounced on Monday the “mass importation” of Chinese workers to mine coal in the northeast part of the province, saying it is “preposterous” to suggest British Columbians don’t have the skills to fill close to 2,000 full-time jobs destined for foreign workers.

“We want to register our grave concerns about the uses and abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program as it relates to projects in British Columbia,” the organization told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark in an open letter.

It was issued by the Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions, made up of 15 unions representing 35,000 craft construction workers, including underground miners.

“We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China,” wrote BCBCBTU President Mark Olsen.

“The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and well-being of the workers in that country.”

The organization was reacting to the disclosure in The Vancouver Sun that a consortium of companies, mostly Chinese, are planning to bring anywhere from 1,600 to just under 2,000 Chinese nationals to B.C. in coming years to work in four proposed underground mine projects.

Permits under the TFW program have already been issued to 201 Chinese nationals to work in the most advanced of the four, the Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, which is at the environmental review stage.

It is slated to begin full production in 2015. The other three projects are at various stages of development and have many more hurdles to overcome before becoming operational.

The TFW program brought in just over 190,000 workers to fill jobs in Canada in 2011, including roughly 46,000 in B.C. Companies usually must show in advance that they can’t find the workers inside Canada before they can seek TFW permits.

The president of Canadian Dehua International Mines Ltd., a Vancouver-based company working with Chinese firms in all four projects, said last week the companies had no option but to hire experienced Chinese workers, since most Canadian coal mines are open-pit operations.




NorthReport
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B.C coal mine’s temporary workers from China will be here for years, maybe decades 

Mines are not prepared to pay enough to attract Canadian workers, say employment experts

http://www.edmontonjournal.com/news/metro/Coal+mine+temporary+workers+wi...

The hundreds of “temporary” foreign workers coming from China starting this autumn to work in northeastern B.C. coal mines will end up staying for years, if not decades, predicts the president of a B.C.-based employment agency.

And some of them may end up getting ripped off and even going home in caskets if the B.C. government doesn’t ensure proper regulation, said Kael Campbell, president of the Red Seal Group, a Victoria firm that helps match companies with skilled tradespeople across Canada.

“There is a true shortage of workers in northern B.C.,” said Campbell, a former employment standards officer in the B.C. Labour Ministry. “These Chinese workers are not going to be replaced by Canadians in this current economy. They will likely be nominated by the company for permanent residency and work in northern B.C. for years, if not decades.”

Campbell said he has no problem with the argument from government and industry officials that the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program is an economic necessity.

“Chinese coal miners built towns like Cumberland, B.C., and were a huge part of the founding of Canada (by working) on the railway.”

But he said there should be a long-term plan to integrate the workers that goes far beyond the employer’s plan to teach each of the 200 workers recently approved by Ottawa a list of 100 English words related to safety and technical matters.

“We really have to question how a miner who knows 100 words in English will know what their rights are or how to follow” government-mandated safety procedures.

He cited one incident in 2007 when two Chinese nationals brought to Canada under the TFW program died when the roof of a holding tank collapsed over their heads at an oilsands project north of Fort McMurray.

The Alberta government confirmed in June of 2008 that an investigation determined the workers were being shortchanged.

The widow of one of the accident victims, Ge Genbao, said her husband told her he would make the equivalent of $600 a month. He should have been making $30 an hour, or at least $4,800 a month, plus overtime and benefits, according to the union that represented the workers, the Edmonton Journal reported.

SSEC Canada Ltd., the Canadian subsidiary of Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec, pleaded guilty last month of failing to ensure the safety of the workers killed and injured in the accident during construction of the Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s $10.8-billion Horizon oilsands project.

The Crown is seeking a fine of $500,000, according to the Edmonton Journal. Sentencing is set for Jan. 24.

Campbell estimates that about 15 per cent of temporary foreign workers in B.C. are scammed out of part of their pay, often by middlemen in Canada or in the country of origin.

He said the B.C. Employment Standards Act, which covers temporary foreign workers, has a maximum penalty of $10,000, far short of the $100,000 fine and two-year jail sentence that can be imp


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Jobs minister says province needs foreign workers to meet labour shortage Union writes letter to provincial, federal governments opposing use of Chinese miners in B.C


Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/Jobs+minister+says+province+needs+foreign+workers+meet+labour+shortage/7402394/story.html#ixzz29gisY9jR

A major B.C. labour organization is denouncing the "mass importation" of Chinese workers to mine coal in the northeast part of the province, saying it is "preposterous" to suggest British Columbians don't have the skills to fill close to 2,000 full-time jobs destined for foreign workers.

"We want to register our grave concerns about the uses and abuses of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TFW) program as it relates to projects in British Columbia," the organization told Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Premier Christy Clark in an open letter on Monday.

It was issued by the Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions, made up of 15 unions representing 35,000 craft construction workers, including underground miners.

"We believe this mass importation of labour is completely unnecessary and is simply a strategy to employ lower-paid workers who are compliant with the culture of coal mining in China," wrote BCBCBTU President Mark Olsen. "The coal mining in that country is patently unsafe and the industry there shows little regard for the life, health and wellbeing of the workers in that country."

The organization was reacting to the disclosure in The Vancouver Sun that a consortium of companies, mostly Chinese, are planning to bring anywhere from 1,600 to just under 2,000 Chinese nationals to B.C. in coming years to work in four proposed underground mine projects.

Permits under the TFW program have already been issued to 201 Chinese nationals to work in the most advanced of the four, the Murray River project near Tumbler Ridge, which is at the environmental review stage.

B.C. Jobs Minister Pat Bell said Tuesday he has no concerns that worker safety will be compromised or that workers will not receive fair wages at the Murray River project. He said he suspects the "election cycle" - B.C. voters are heading to the polls next May - is motivating union opposition in this province to the TFW program.

Bell said there is no basis for unions like the United Steelworkers to make claims they have members who can fill those jobs. He singled out one example, an underground coal mine in Grande Cache, Alta., where Steelworkers members are already employed yet temporary workers were brought in to provide additional needed labour. The mine is advertising for more underground coal miners on its website.




NorthReport
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卑诗招聘中国劳工持续发烧∶资方为低薪找华工 加拿大家园 iask.ca 2012-10-17 09:21 来源: 世界新闻网 作者:

 

劳工团体高分贝严词批评卑诗引进中国矿工。(网路照片) 家 园 论 坛

卑诗招聘中国劳工议题持续发烧,代表15个工会的卑诗建筑贸易工会谈判委员会(Bargaining Council of the B.C. Building Trades Unions)向总理哈珀及卑诗省长简蕙芝发出公开信,严厉批评大规模引进中国劳工采矿的做法,认为这是聘用低薪矿工的手法,与加拿大的产业职场文化将格 格不入。

http://www.iask.ca/news/canada/2012/1017/161779.html


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

--


radiorahim
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Joined: Jun 17 2002

It's the new global feudalism.


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Here is an article explaining what anyone with a brain knew all along. Miners can be trained in a 6 week course and they are doing it south of the border as we speak. Gee running that equipment looks way beyond the comprehension of Canadian unemployed workers,  grrr!!

Bill Tielman wrote:

And if you doubt that China-owned coal companies had no choice but to import their own workers to B.C. because no trained, experienced miners are available, prepare to get downright furious.

The reason is simple. Neither the coal companies nor the federal or B.C. governments wanted to train Canadian workers -- even though it’s nowhere near as hard as they claim.

"We require temporary foreign workers because we are introducing a highly mechanized form of longwall mining to the province. There's currently no active long-wall mining going on in Canada or B.C.," says Jody Shimkus, vice-president of HD Mining International, one of the companies involved in developing up to four coal mines.

...

But is longwall mining that rare and complicated? No. Is China the only source of longwall miners? No. Just the cheapest.

US training legions of longwall miners

In fact, half of all U.S. coal mines use longwall methods, extracting 166 million tons in 2009 that way.

The largest U.S. underground coal producer -- Consul Energy -- constantly trains miners in longwall techniques at a new $12 million centre in southwest Pennsylvania because that's how it extracts 88 per cent of its coal.

West Virginia and Pennsylvania also have a Mining Technology and Training Center that provides new and inexperienced miner training courses with 240 hours of classroom and hands-on training.

And since just 2005, the Kentucky Coal Academy has trained 55,000 new and incumbent miners.

The reason for training so many miners is obvious. There is a great need and the job pays well.

"We hire 1,000 to 1,500 employees a year," says Jimmy Brock, CONSOL Energy's chief operating officer for coal. "We will find miners because a mining job is a good-paying job with great benefits."

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2012/10/30/BC-Chinese-Miners/

 

 


NorthReport
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--


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Two unions seek federal court muscle to oust foreign workers from B.C. mine

http://www.vancouversun.com/news/unions+seek+federal+court+muscle+oust+f...




NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

So what have the BC Liberals discovered, apart from getting caught in their dirty little secret with the feds about how to undermine Canadian workers? 

B.C. to probe report foreign workers made to pay fees for jobs

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-to-probe-report-...


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

B.C. unions want foreign worker permits cancelled

Jobs Minister Pat Bell says it's hard to recruit Canadian workers for underground mine

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2012/11/05/bc-chine...


NorthReport
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B.C. unions go to court over Chinese miners

http://www.mining.com/b-c-unions-go-to-court-over-chinese-miners-45531/


NorthReport
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I remember, not that long ago, a situation involving Chinese workers in Alberta, when one of the workers died, and it was only because his widow started making inquiries about any benefits, it was then discovered that their employer had forced the Chinese workers to sign over power of attorneys to the employer over their bank accounts, paid them wages that were at least min wage in Canada, for all to see the size of their pay cheques, and then quietly when no one was looking, the employer deducted most of the money back each pay, so they were paid a pittance. Something like the scam about the Costa Rican workers who were paid $3.77 an hour working on the Canada Line in BC for Seli, until Mark Olsen, Business Manager of CSWU Local 1611, yes the same union, and others got involved, and won a 2.4 million dollar human rights case settlement for those poor workers.

This whole thing reeks of scam, scam, scam! 

405


NorthReport
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So we exploit Chinese workers here in Canada, while China exploits workers there. We need to organize every worker on the planet.

http://ajw.asahi.com/article/asia/china/AJ201211050082


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

This is purely and simply a vicious attack on working people, and the unions that represent them. The unions were never ever consulted or asked for manpower, and found out about this sham by reading an article about it in the mainstrteam press.

Up to 2,000 Chinese miners on their way to British Columbia to fill jobs Canadians can't do safely


http://www.mining.com/up-to-2000-chinese-miners-on-their-way-to-british-...


Left Turn
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Joined: Mar 28 2005

The point that being lost in all this is that we shouldn't be extracting the coal in the first place. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, it should be left in the ground. The union, company, and government are merely arguing who gets the economic benefit from cooking our planet. At the end of the day the planet still gets screwed regardless of who extracts the coal and at what pay rate.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

No wonder BCers want rid of this BC Liberal government- jeesh!

The only concern for Bell here is that he got caught.

Publicity Could Hurt Miner Recruitment Fees Probe: Bell

BC's jobs minister worries media coverage may cause sources to clam up

 

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/10/26/BC-Miner-Recruitment/


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

Left Turn wrote:

The point that being lost in all this is that we shouldn't be extracting the coal in the first place. Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel on the planet, it should be left in the ground. The union, company, and government are merely arguing who gets the economic benefit from cooking our planet. At the end of the day the planet still gets screwed regardless of who extracts the coal and at what pay rate.

Well said.


Sean in Ottawa
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Joined: Jun 3 2003

So has anyone calculated the net pay they would get after the heavy "recruitment fee"?

What is the relationship between the "recruiter" and the employer? If the two are related then the amount being earned is all the more fraudulent.

this takes nothing away from the important observations made above.


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Unions Want to See What's in Chinese Temp Miner Permits

Admitting 'problems' with program, labour minister launches review but unions want more transparency.

By Jeremy J. Nuttall, Today, TheTyee.ca

 

Diane Finley

Labour minister Diane Finley: 'We are not satisfied with what we have learned about the process…'

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unions that filed a request for a judicial review of permits allowing miners from China to work in British Columbian mines haven't been satisfied by news the federal government will review the case.

A spokesman for the unions said that's because despite news the federal government will examine the use of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program by B.C. mines, its attempt to have the permit applications for the workers released has been denied.

Federal Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Diane Finley said in a statement Thursday the ministry is concerned about the process that led to the workers' presence at mines run by HD Mining and Canadian Dehua International Mines Group.

In order to get a TFW permit, companies have to produce a Labour Market Opinion showing there are not any Canadians who can perform the job.

http://thetyee.ca/News/2012/11/09/TFW-Review/


NorthReport
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http://www.cochranetimes.com/2012/11/09/bc-miner-controversy-sparks-prob...

Employers who want to hire temporary foreign workers must apply for a "labour market opinion" from Service Canada that assesses "the impact the foreign worker would have on Canada's labour market."

"Concerns have come to light, subsequent to these labour market opinions being approved for that particular mine, that Mandarin was listed as a work requirement," Immigration Minister Jason Kenney said in an October interview with QMI Agency. "I understand HRSDC is taking a look at that to see if that was a valid work requirement."

The NDP, however, wants to see an "immediate suspension" of these permits and has demanded a full investigation to see if Canadian workers were given an opportunity to apply for the positions at the B.C. mine.

NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims also worries about how Canada's temporary foreign worker system operates overall and says a review is "long overdue."

"Companies used to have to search for six months in Canada before they could go look for overseas workers. And now...it is just six days before being allowed to hire workers from overseas.... The system is being abused," she said.

Sims also criticizes the government for allowing temporary foreign workers to be paid 15% less than other employees.

"They're helping their business friends to bring in cheap labour," Sims said. "That also suppresses the wages for Canadians here."

 


addictedtomyipod
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Joined: Jan 18 2012

We have a CON government in charge now.  A government that supports financiers and investors, not Canadian workers.  Spin is what is what we get from this government and their spokepersons.  Diane Finley is an insider that is given this job, to spin.  She has no intention to stand behind Canadians'  jobs and working class families daily struggles and her eagerness to please 'The Harper' says it all for me.  

She can keep on sucking on her cancer sticks as it pleases me.  Hopefuly she will get the grand visit of the big "C" and we can rid ourselves of another self-interested CON-player.


prowsej
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Joined: Jun 10 2001

This is the unions' application: http://iuoe115.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/JudicialReview-TFW.pdf


NorthReport
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Joined: Jul 6 2008

Don't think for a second Harper is going to protect workers in Canada - we have already seen his efforts

And what's the problem with HD Mining's approach anyways - all you have to do is be able to speak, not one of Canada's two official languages, but a specific foreign language and you're hired. And if Peter Gall has his way these workers will be paid the going rate, no, not in Canada, but at the rate that they would be paid in China. 

The following is an example of the BS

http://www.coalguru.com/north_america/canada_change_entire_temporary_for...


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