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Employment Minister Jason Kenney, left, and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander are seen in a reflection at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, June 20, 2014 on reforms to the temporary foreign worker program. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Employment Minister Jason Kenney, left, and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander are seen in a reflection at a news conference in Ottawa on Friday, June 20, 2014 on reforms to the temporary foreign worker program. (Sean Kilpatrick/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

WHAT READERS THINK

June 23: Skeptical on foreign-worker reform – and other letters to the editor Add to ...

TFW skepticism

When employers have a cheaper Plan B (hire temporary foreign workers), they won’t invest in Plan A (make the job appealing to Canadians). Even with tighter rules, businesses will find a way to exploit the program (Ottawa Unveils Sweeping Changes To Foreign-Workers Program – June 20).

The Conservatives brag that one in four employers will be inspected every year to make sure the rules are followed: That means 75 per cent won’t be inspected.

Helen Keith, Edmonton

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Great. So if it’s a “would you like fries with that?” job, the Tories will try to make sure the company tried to find a Canadian. But if the job pays pays well, they won’t ask for proof that the employer tried to hire a Canadian. And we have how many university grads who can’t find work or are underemployed? What genius thought this was a good idea for anyone except business? Oh, right. Of course.

What was I thinking?

George Nguyen, Vancouver

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The solution to the temporary foreign workers problem is two-fold: Raise the minimum wage for these low-paid jobs, thus making them appealing enough to Canadians to meet restaurants’ labour needs; make sure an employer’s demand is genuine, urgent and justified when hiring workers from outside Canada.

There must be a balance between business needs and government regulations.

Elie Mikhael Nasrallah, Ottawa

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Cold to the F-35

The article Russia’s Arctic Flybys A ‘Strategic’ Message (June 20) underscores once again just how bad is the financial stewardship in the Canadian government’s selection of the F-35 jet. As a single-engine aircraft, the F-35 is unsafe for protecting Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. That sovereignty objective gets mentioned in the selection criteria, but those criteria are vaguely worded and not in proper order of priority, failing any test of corporate planning.

Alan J. Cooper, Toronto

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Ignominy in Iraq

Half a century ago, the U.S. sent hundreds of military advisers into Vietnam to halt the spread of communism. Slowly but surely, the U.S. was sucked into a conflict from which it emerged with ignominy many years later.

It now plans to repeat the same trick to halt the spread of the latest manifestation of Islamic terrorism (Obama To Send Hundreds Of Military Advisers To Iraq – June 20). How many years will pass before the United States is forced to depart with its tail between its legs, having failed to achieve any significant success?

David Amies, Lethbridge, Alta.

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Re Obama’s Inaction Is Behind Iraq’s Chaos (June 19): First Konrad Yakabuski blames Barack Obama for Iraq’s chaos, then he has the gall to quote Tony Blair as an expert on what’s going wrong now! Mr. Blair and George W. Bush were the ones who started the whole mess; Mr. Obama was opposed to this idiocy.

As history has told us time and again, the U.S. is useless at resolving foreign conflicts and should mind its own business.

Andy Ostime, Regina

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Radical? feminism

Only for Conservative policy wonks could a concern for the well-being of sex workers, not to mention a questioning of patriarchy, or desiring an end to male domination of child-rearing and household be defined as “radical” feminism (Bill C-36 Has The Makings Of Another Moral Panic – June 20). Considering that Tom Flanagan uses the term three times in a short column, he would do well to read up on 21st-century gender relations or, at the very least, get a thesaurus.

Carla Manfredi, Peter Miller; Toronto

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Diagnosis for doctors

Re The Best, The Brightest – And The Burned Out (June 16): The cause and potential solution to doctor burnout seems to lie in the article itself: “Out of 3,000 wannabes, just 250 make the cut.” Double the number of trainee doctors, halve the standard work hours and number of patients. Promote shared clinics with teams of three to four doctors over single-doctor offices. Then doctors would have colleagues to consult with on difficult cases, and to soften the emotional crises that come with the job.

Caps on medical-school places were motivated more by a desire to cut costs than a calculation of the numbers of doctors needed.

Sylvia Hale, Fredericton

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Math: Explain, please

Re The Public Spurred By The Private (editorial, June 19): Quebec teachers are among the lowest paid in Canada, with salaries 15- to 20-per-cent lower than Ontario teachers. Yet, Quebec is the only province in Canada with students who remain competitive in world rankings for math scores. I believe Premier Kathleen Wynne and the teacher federations have a lot of explaining to do.

Tim Lawrence, Waterloo, Ont.

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Moms and minorities

While Peter MacKay continues to defend his comments about the lack of women and visible minorities on federally appointed court benches, some facts would in-form the debate (MPs Pounce On MacKay As A 50’s Relic – June 20).

The 2011 DiverseCity Counts report showed just 6.8 per cent of leaders in the Greater Toronto Area legal sector were visible minorities, relative to 49.5 per cent of the population studied.

The study included judges, justices of the peace, governing bodies, law school leaders, partners in the Top 20 law firms and Crown attorneys in the area.

While these figures pertain to the GTA, they reflect a nationwide reality.

Diversity at the top of the legal profession is a social imperative as lawyers and judges are in the forefront of advocacy and social change. The federal government should take the lead to ensure fair representation in a sector that is critical to our democratic society.

Ratna Omidvar, president, Maytree

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I’m no fan of Peter MacKay but the furor of condemnation he drew by observing that women bear children, which might be a factor in delaying their careers, is political correctness gone mad.

Is one allowed to state the obvious only if it cannot be misinterpreted by fanatics?

Andrzej Derkowski, Oakville, Ont.

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When a politician says something stupid, sexist, racist, logic-defying or contrary to all scientific evidence, the excuse often cited is that he is only saying this to appease his/her base.

The fact of the matter usually is that the politician truly believes what he or she said, especially if that politician is a Conservative cabinet minister.

Eric Mendelsohn, Toronto

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