Tony Clement recently let go of a trial balloon at an editorial board meeting with the Kitchener Record. Clement was commenting on the disastrous Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and attempted to pass blame for the massive growth and absence of integrity within the program on to the Liberals.
Clement said, "This program was created prior to [us taking] office, and has grown [since 2002] by 1,818 per cent. That to me sounds a little bit excessive."
In the same manner that Clement overlooked excesses that took place under his watch to finance the overzealous insecurity of the G20 meetings, he also overlooks the following:
It was the Conservatives who were responsible for:
- Nearly tripling the size of temporary work permits granted to employers in the last decade.
- Enabling lower wage rates for both migrant workers and members of the national workforce.
- Expediting temporary work permit applications with the establishment of special offices and multi million dollar budget allocations and next to no oversight.
- Opening every legally recognized Canadian occupation for employers to recruit temporary workers, in the 2007 budget. By 2014, his government had issued half a million temporary work permits.
- Granting employers a $35.5M annual subsidy to process applications up until 2013.
- Reducing national advertising standards for employers to recruit nationally before turning to the TFWP.
- Making insignificant efforts to ensure compliance and enforcement of labour standards.
Don't forget, it was on their watch that human trafficking charges of domestic workers, innumerable labour rights violations and corporate abuses of the TFWP by RBC, HD Mines and McDonald's came to the public's attention.
With less than 400 days before the next federal election, troublesome issues for the Conservatives like the TFWP, procurement of expensive F-35's, climate change obfuscation, robocalls and corrupt Senate appointments (to name a few) need to be reframed for the electorate.
Clements's disingenuous statements to the Editorial Board of the Kitchener Record amount to letting go of a trial balloon to see if the Conservatives can dodge their own record before the electorate judges them in 2015.
His mistruths went further: According to Clement, no other country operates temporary labour migration schemes for unskilled workers. For such a worldly fellow, Clement should know better.
India, the Philippines, Mexico, Guatemala, Jamaica, Nepal and numerous OECD countries to name just a few have all embraced temporary migration schemes for unskilled workers. The push for this type of labour mobility was advocated in 2006 at the first United Nations High Level Dialogue meeting -- where Canada was present.
The thing with letting go of balloons based on lies is they tend to burst when they run into the sharp point of facts.
Karl Flecker has written extensively on the struggles facing migrant workers nationally and internationally.
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