Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom comments on the Cons' preference for low-wage, no-rights immigrant labour as a means of avoiding good jobs for Canadians:
Theoretically, temporary work visas are supposed to be reserved for those with unique skills.

But increasingly, the notion of skill has been stretched to the extreme. In Alberta, some temporary skilled workers serve coffee in doughnut shops. Others heave around beef carcasses in slaughterhouses like the Brooks XL Foods meat-packing plant — now the epicentre of an E. coli food scare.

In the fruit and vegetable fields of Ontario, the unique skill that temporary migrant workers from the Caribbean or South America bring is their willingness to do back-breaking work for low wages.

Employers say they need foreign temporary labour because they can’t find Canadians willing to work. What they mean is that they can’t find Canadians willing to work at the wages being offered.
A wise government wouldn’t create two classes of immigrants but would treat equally all who enter this country legally to work.

This government just authorizes more temporary migrant workers, knowing full well that — regardless of their formal rights — they are in no position to complain.

It’s one thing for the Harper Conservatives to return us to the status of a resource economy. It is another for them to insist that we become a low-wage resource economy.
- Meanwhile, Public Values catches the McGuinty Libs laying off labour investigators to match the number of enforcement officers they hired to much fanfare earlier this summer.

- Susan Delacourt has some suggestions to replace the current trend of top-down political advertising with more balanced forms of communication:
(I)f we are interested in curing our politicians of their advertising addiction, it seems there are two things we might want to demand.

One would be for some kind of limits on political advertising in between elections. We set spending limits during the formal campaign period so that the playing field is reasonably level; to ensure that no one has an unfair advantage in the bid to pummel citizens with propaganda.

It may be time for us to recognize that the election campaign never really stops in Canada these days — that the ad wars are a permanent fixture on the political landscape.

As for the government’s advertising addiction, that’s harder to cure, or even regulate. But as a start, we could maybe ask that the people in charge of the country spend as much money listening to the citizens as they do in talking at them.
- Tom Blackwell reports on Nipa Banerjee's conclusion that $1.5 billion in Afghanistan aid spending under the Cons bought Canada little beyond a few photo ops.

- And finally, CBC reports on the Sask Party's musings about selling off the Information Services Corporation. Needless to say, answers as to why in the world public corporate and land titles registries would be handed over to private operators (particularly given that the province will plainly need to ensure their continued adherence to legislated standards) do not figure to be forthcoming.

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