Sunday, April 7, 2013

Royal Bank foreign worker "scandal" just business as usual

For years foreign workers have been the backbone of the labour market in the orchards of Southern Ontario and the vegtable farms of the lower BC mainland.

The government routinely rubber-stamps virtually every employer application to import foreign workers regardless of how many Canadians are unemployed. Tim Hortons operators in Alberta bring counter help in from Mexico. Chinese-owned coal mining operations bring workers in from China.

Today Canada has over three hundred thousand foreign workers and at the same time 1.3 million Canadians are unemployed.

The government connives with the employers at bringing in foreign workers for two reasons: in the case of skilled workers it's cheaper than training Canadians, and in all cases it drives down the cost of Canadian wages. This is a government firmly committed to serving the interests of employers, not workers.

The fact that the culpable are acting shocked and dismayed now that the Royal Bank story has hit the headlines says more about their acting skills than about their shock and dismay. Jason Kenney has been petitioned for years by labour groups and individual supplicants to invest in Canadians first, yet today he pretends he had no idea what was going on.

The Royal Bank of Canada had net earnings of $7.5 billion last year. It can easily afford to pay Canadians and to keep these jobs in Canada. What does "enhancing efficiencies" mean when you're already making 7.5 billion a year?

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