Foreign labour pains
The temporary foreign worker program plays a key role in fostering an adequate pool of labour in Canada’s tourism industry (Harper Vows Work-Permit Reform – April 12). More than any other sector, the seasonal nature of business presents a unique challenge in employee recruitment and retention, as workers in the sector face the prospect of being unemployed or underemployed for much of the year.
While misuses of the program must be addressed, an effective temporary foreign workers program is essential to fill short-term labour shortages when Canadians are not available or willing to relocate, particularly since labour shortages are projected to worsen over the next decade.
For Canada’s tourism sector to compete equitably for its share of global travellers, an adequate supply of skills and labour is imperative so operators can enhance visitor experiences through quality service and hospitality.
David Goldstein, CEO, Tourism Industry Association of Canada
Catherine Connelly persuasively argues that the savings in hiring temporary workers from overseas are short-lived when the hidden costs of constant recruitment are figured into the equation (Temporary Foreign Workers Are A Temporary Fix – April 10). What she doesn’t mention is that these work programs, which expire after a maximum of four years, will also create a pool of undocumented, even cheaper labour that could well undermine more job prospects for Canadians at even cheaper wages.
It’s now legal to pay foreigners as much as 15 per cent less than Canadians; once they’re undocumented, assuming some stay on, that could easily run to a 30-per-cent reduction in wages for foreign workers without status, creating a structural unemployment problem for Canadians and troubling precariousness for those who work under the table sans papiers. This program is a Band-Aid measure that takes jobs from Canadians without work.
Jennifer Hyndman, associate director, research, Centre for Refugee Studies, York University
A look at the history of Korea, particularly of North Korea, might go some way to explaining that country’s paranoia (N. Korean Leader Paints Himself Into A Corner – April 12). But its leader’s actions and rhetoric remind me of the question: “What if they gave a war and nobody came?”
Trevor Jones, Stoney Creek, Ont.
The hilarious photo of four high-hatted North Korean women soldiers isn’t likely to strike fear into the hearts of many South Koreans, Japanese or Americans: Three of the soldiers are teetering on high heels. Perhaps the Dear Leader is planning on taking over the catwalks of his deadly imperialist enemies?
Geoff Rytell, Toronto
Re Quality Of Life In The Urban Core (editorial, April 12): Extending the runways of Toronto’s Billy Bishop island airport will mean putting warning buoys farther out in the harbour, excluding sailboats. Before long, all the condo builders will have to replace their promotional pictures of boats with pretty sails with pictures of jets with varmint logos taking off. A vibrant downtown scene, indeed.
John Fursdon, Toronto
The fear-mongering about noise at Toronto’s downtown airport if Porter is allowed to use jets is nonsense. Jet noise is a controllable issue. In the 1970s, I lived in an apartment at the end of the east/west runway of Dorval (now Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport) for three years. I was so close, you could see passengers through the window as they landed. I can probably count on one hand the times I was disturbed by jet noise.
Ken Duff, Vankleek Hill, Ont.
I choked on my morning coffee when I read your headline Don’t Minimalize Bullying, Harper Says (April 12). Perhaps you should have had a warning to readers on the previous page. I could have hurt myself.
Bill Bousada, Carleton Place, Ont.
Your article addressing the proposed $500 a month cut in hazard pay to soldiers was very disturbing to us (DND Told To Rethink Cutting Soldiers’ Danger Pay – April 11). Our son has completed three tours: one in Bosnia, two in Afghanistan. He’s in Afghanistan now in the final stages of his fourth tour. He has served almost three years in a hostile environment.
Consider the young families across Canada where one or both spouses serve in the military. Soldiers are prepared to work long hours, be separated from their family and friends for months at a time, not to mention poor diets, poor air quality and high stress levels while overseas. The term “danger pay” may be better described as “hardship pay,” given the various circumstances.
For the Defence Minister’s staff to suggest that “bureaucrats” are responsible for this decision is a real cop-out. The minister is ultimately responsible for the well-being of soldiers and the remuneration paid to them while overseas. Peter MacKay needs to step up and correct this before there’s a very real morale problem within the rank and file.
D.G. Auld, Oakville, Ont.
I don’t recall reading articles about Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney’s work where reference is made to his being married to Diana Carney (PM Blamed For Capping Climate Debate – April 12). Why, then, is it necessary to qualify researcher Diana Carney’s work with reference to her husband?
Trish Crowe, Kingston, Ont.
First Nations history
In order for Canada to legitimize its presence in the West, Canada had to negotiate treaties with the lands’ rightful owners – First Nations (Canada’s Rendezvous With The Métis – April 12).
According to First Nations history, treaty First Nations did not relinquish the rights in the land to individuals now known as Métis. Before entertaining any idea of negotiating any Métis “modern land claim,” as Thomas Berger suggests, which will clearly impact Treaty One lands and rights, the duty to consult and accommodate will surely have to be honoured. This was obviously not done when the Manitoba Act was imposed on the Anishinabe, Cree and Dakota nations of southern Manitoba.
Craig Fontaine, Sagkeeng First Nation, Pine Falls, Man.
No social classes
Re The Endless Struggle To Define Class (April, 6): Long ago in old T.O., it was said that “Toronto has no social classes – only the Masseys and the masses.” Probably true in those days.
William Bedford, Toronto