Saturday, February 18, 2017

We need lots more immigration to keep wages low

What's the difference between "fake" news and just telling an incomplete story?

This question popped into my head as I was perusing the cover story in today's Report on Business, wherein reporter David Parkinson allegedly "makes the case for immigration as an unbeatable strategy for economic growth."

The story gets three pages and focuses on Meridian Manufacturing in Winkler, Manitoba. Meridian is a division of Westman Group, an interesting enough Canadian success story in its own right, but in this article it merely serves as a foil for the thesis that Canada's working class has gone AWOL and desperate measures are required to keep our manufacturing sector afloat.

Desperate as in flooding the country with hundreds of thousands of desperate immigrants.

Oddly enough, nowhere in the story is there any mention of what kind of wages are on offer at Meridian. That would seem to be a critical piece of information in a story that is ostensibly about a labour shortage. I'm always skeptical about this labour shortage theme when we have a million and a half officially unemployed and millions more underemployed.

The best I could do was find this item at Glass Door; Meridian Manufacturing, great product but rock bottom wages. Is it any wonder that two thirds of Meridian's workforce are recent immigrants and temporary foreign workers?

Parkinson even provides a "case study" of Brooks, Alberta, where a quarter of the workforce are immigrants and TFWs, toiling for a whiff over minimum wage at the giant industrial abattoir in that town. Any context in terms of what's happened in the history of the meat processing industry since the time of the Gainer's lock-out would no doubt soil the depiction of Brooks as some utopian global village, so Mr. Parkinson thoughtfully spares us the burden.

So is this story "fake" news? No, it's worse than that, because it tells but one side of a multi-faceted story.

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