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Archive for October 14th, 2012

“Yellow Slavery”: 19th century capitalists fight over coolie labor- it remains so today

In total, anywhere from 1,600 to just under 2,000 Chinese nationals could find full-time work in four coal mining projects being proposed in coming years for northern B.C.

The hot media attention, and in some cases anger, confirmed my January prediction that Canadians, facing tough economic times, will increasingly see menace in the rapid rise in temporary foreign workers in this country.

The hot media attention, and in some cases anger, confirmed my January prediction that Canadians, facing tough economic times, will increasingly see menace in the rapid rise in temporary foreign workers in this country.

Canada now has roughly 300,000 temporary foreign workers, about double the number before the Conservatives came to power in 2005. The burst of interest in the arrival of Chinese national coal miners has provoked discussion about whether this trend is something to fear.

Specialists agree there will always be a need for a small number of temporary foreign workers, to fill skilled or semi-skilled positions for a short time. Employers often claim they need temporary foreign workers because there is a “shortage” of Canadians prepared to fill the jobs.

But critics say what the employers really mean, in many cases, is there aren’t enough Canadians to do such work for poor wages and conditions.

Even conservative critics, such as as Martin Collacott, of the Fraser Institute, worry that the flood of temporary foreign workers is driving down wages and taking the pressure off governments to properly train Canadians.

How are things from the other end? The typical temporary foreign worker is in a vulnerable position, unable to speak up for him or herself while in Canada, officially allowed to stay only four years. But many end up applying for citizenship.

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