- Peter O'Neil and Tara Carman report on the Cons' strategy of importing temporary foreign workers to drive down wages across Canada. And Craig McInnes juxtaposes that plan against the need for viable careers for young British Columbians in particular:
More than a quarter of (Canada's temporary foreign workers) are in B.C., where in October there were 148,000 people listed as unemployed in the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey.- And Lana Payne notes that we all stand to pay for the Cons' insistence on prioritizing corporate profits over all else:
Meanwhile, 54,000 temporary foreign workers were in the province, working on farms, in construction, in trades, financial institutions, taking care of children and serving fast food.
Some of them are people with special skills that for some reason can’t be found here. That’s the argument for bringing in coal miners from China that has most recently shone a spotlight on the issue of temporary foreign workers in Canada.
But most of them are in jobs that employers say Canadians don’t want, either because of the nature of the work or where the work is.
Canadians include immigrants, of course, but the temporary foreign workers are not being invited to move to Canada, to bring their families and live the Canadian dream.
My question is why are the wages so low? Why is it that we encourage industries in this country that are so marginal they can’t produce a living wage for Canadians?
In fact, the higher-than-forecasted deficit can be partly (some might say entirely) blamed on domestic decisions.- Meanwhile, Angella MacEwen discusses the consequences of the Cons' misplaced priorities - with the few jobs being created in Canada disproportionately falling into categories such as temporary work which provide no prospect of long-term career development.
What we won’t hear about from the Conservatives is how their failed economic, labour market and tax policies have contributed to the higher deficit. It’s much easier to blame world economic conditions for all our woes.
But it doesn’t take a brilliant mathematician to deduct that a government that slashes taxes for super-wealthy corporations may end up taking in less revenues as a result. It also doesn’t take a genius to understand the link between policies and programs that suppress the wages and incomes of Canadians and how this just might impact on the amount of taxes they pay.
Billions of dollars in annual tax cuts to some of Canada’s biggest and most profitable corporations, including banks, oil and mining companies have certainly contributed to the deficit. And it doesn’t take a parliamentary budget officer to figure out that we all pay for these tax cuts to wealthy corporations.
- Adam Radwanski writes about Andrea Horwath's effort to offer Ontarians the chance to be heard in developing policy for the province (in stark contrast to her competitors' back-room decision-making):
Is it time to look seriously at raising taxes, perhaps on the corporate side, rather than just addressing program spending? Here she gives a little. “When you talk about taking a balanced approach, you look at both sides of the equation.” But that’s as far as she goes.- Finally, Charlie Smith suggests a simple policy change to end the constant stream of false attack ads by the Cons - proposing an effective regulator to take the place of ad industry self-regulation.
There are politicians who try to paper over their lack of policy specifics; Ms. Horwath wears them as a badge of honour. “I don’t necessarily believe that the way to do things is to sit in isolation, make up a whole bunch of policies based on internal brainstorming, and then sell that to the public,” she says. So she recently launched a “consultation on jobs,” which she identifies as her biggest priority, three-and-a-half years after winning the leadership.
It’s a marked contrast to the approach of Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, who is putting out a series of “white papers” that float stridently right-of-centre positions on everything from tax cuts to labour policy to health care. And for now, Ms. Horwath’s low-risk approach seems to be working fairly well, with her party capitalizing on voter unrest as much or more than Mr. Hudak’s.
It’s not hard to see why. Mr. McGuinty is leaving office amid perceptions that he grew out of touch after too long in power, running a closed shop more concerned with self-preservation than Ontarians’ concerns. Mr. Hudak, after a poor introduction to voters in last year’s campaign, is struggling to shake an image as a typical politician willing to say whatever he thinks voters want to hear. Being open and accessible and not claiming to have all the answers has considerable appeal.
[Edit: fixed formatting.]