My father worked in Bangladesh for 8 years in the 80s, and in East Pakistan (what Bangladesh was called pre-independence) in the 50s. I have relatives who live in India, and I spent my summers and many Christmas vacations in Bangladesh. My mother spoke fluent Hindi (though that isn’t the language spoken in Bangladesh) as [...]
Note: CETA negotiations continue in Brussels today (May 6) through at least Wednesday. By: Council of Canadians | Press Release: Amsterdam/Brussels/Ottawa – The proposed Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between the European Union (EU) and Canada would grant energy companies far-reaching rights to challenge bans and regulations of environmentally damaging shale gas [...]
The post CETA: EU-Canada trade agreement threatens fracking bans appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- We shouldn’t be surprised that the corporate sector is reacting with contrived outrage to the Cons’ tinkering with a severely flawed temporary foreign worker program. But Jim Stanford points out what it would take to actually move labour standards upward rather than including Canadian workers in a race to the bottom: (T)he Harper government is now moving to avert a political disaster in the making. Advance coverage in the Globe and Mail indicates its proposed changes will include a new fee for temporary foreign worker permits, and requirements that employers promise to (Read more…)
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- We shouldn’t be surprised that the corporate sector is reacting with contrived outrage to the Cons’ tinkering with a severely flawed temporary foreign worker program. But Jim Stanford points out what it would take to actually move labour standards upward rather than including Canadian workers in a race to the bottom:
(T)he Harper government is now moving to avert a political disaster in the making. Advance coverage in the Globe and Mail indicates its proposed changes will include a new fee for temporary foreign worker permits, and requirements that employers promise to step up their advertising and training to eventually recruit Canadians for the jobs.
But those promises won’t be worth the paper they are printed on. Federal bureaucrats have no concrete basis on which to judge whether training or recruitment promises are realistic or not, let alone have power to meaningfully enforce them. So long as access to migrant labour remains open, companies can always come back complaining about “shortages.” Even today, the so-called Labour Market Opinions which must be issued before employers can tap the program are no more than a symbolic ritual; approving employers’ “training plans” will be just another rubber stamp.
If we really want employers to find qualified Canadians instead of importing cheap replacements, the whole loophole must be closed down. The low-skill window currently allowed under the program should be cancelled completely (along with the provision allowing employers to pay 15 per cent less-than-going wages). There is absolutely no legitimate reason unemployed Canadians can’t be tapped to fill every one of those jobs: from coal mines to factories to hotels to donut shops. Employers in these industries tap the program only as a handy source of cheap, compliant labour. This whole section of the program gives the lie to the claim that we need migrant workers for their “skills” in the first place.
For genuine, specialized high-skill vacancies, the guest worker program must only be used as a temporary stop-gap, with hard caps on both numbers and length. Specialists should be allowed in for six months only, with a maximum of one renewal. That gives employers ample time to recruit Canadians – so long as they are willing to pay them. Employers who use the program for skilled-trades positions must set up their own apprenticeship programs to meet future needs.
Every migrant should be entitled to normal employment rights (including access to EI and CPP benefits), as well as having access to normal immigration opportunities. After all, if their skill truly cannot be replaced from within Canada, then they should be invited to live and work here like the rest of us, with full legal protections (instead of being fenced off in low-wage, unpoliced job ghettos).
Finally, full transparency should be required – regularly publishing which employers hire temporary foreign workers, in which jobs, and for how long. Apart from providing unemployed Canadians with a valuable source of information on job opportunities, this sunshine would help ensure that companies use the program for true skills shortages only.
- Meanwhile, Shiv Malik discusses the latest gratuitous slaps at the unemployed in the UK – as the Cons’ cousins are forcing anybody out of work to participate in utterly frivolous psychometric testing.
- And Dr. Dawg offers a modest suggestion as to how outsourcing could actually benefit workers in less-developed countries. (Needless to say, I don’t see our corporate overlords taking him up on the proposal.)
- Mike de Souza reports on the Cons’ latest decision to eliminate any environmental assessment of major projects ranging from pipelines to chemical explosive plants. Which fits nicely with Justin Ling’s interpretation of the Cons’ agenda – but doesn’t exactly provide reason for confidence among those of us paying attention to what laissez-faire zealotry is doing elsewhere.
- Finally, Sean Reardon discusses how income inequality – particularly between the middle class and the plutocrats – is translating into inequality of opportunity through educational outcomes.
The European Parliament’s committee on the environment, public health and food safety debated the investment chapter and investor-state dispute settlement process in the Canada-EU free trade deal today at the request of Greek MEP Kriton Arsenis …
The recent NAFTA investor lawsuit against Quebec’s moratorium on shale gas development (fracking) is cited by Australia’s trade minister as a reason to avoid including these excessive investor rights in trade deals. (Funny, we say the same thing…
Council of Canadians celebrates vote for transparency and democracy By: Council of Canadians | Press Release: NANAIMO, B.C. – The Council of Canadians and its Mid Island chapter are celebrating a decision by City Council last night to demand a permanent exemption for the City from the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and [...]
The post City of Nanaimo asks to be excluded from CETA appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
Not that this would change my voting preferences. The Tories lost me at Robert Stanfield. But it bothers me deeply that the latest federal budget lowers tariffs on hockey equipment and curling rocks but raises it on bicycles and a thousand other items.
When it comes to trying to justify perpetually-increasing restrictions on democratic governance in the guise of “free trade” agreements, advocates present two polar opposite views as to what such agreements are intended to accomplish.
The first – and more plausible – view of the actual and intended effect of trade agreements is that they primarily serve the purposes of the parties who push and negotiate them. When corporate interests and their pet Randians meet behind closed doors to draft agreements which will be subject to zero public accountability, it’s a safe bet that it’s the general public which stands to out as a result. And there’s certainly a constituency for the view that democracy should be subordinate to the profit motive – making trade agreements into a rational if cynical strategy to tie the hands of elected officials while ensuring that business ultimately rules everywhere.
But that constituency is rather . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On unbalanced trade
When it comes to trying to justify perpetually-increasing restrictions on democratic governance in the guise of “free trade” agreements, advocates present two polar opposite views as to what such agreements are intended to accomplish.The first – and mo…
By: Canadian Auto Workers Union | Press Release: Billions in new federal supports for Canadian industry is a partial, but important, step forward in assisting the country’s embattled manufacturing sector, said CAW President Ken Lewenza, in response to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s budget released today. In his budget, Minister Flaherty outlined the federal [...]
The post Federal Budget 2013: CAW demands full national manufacturing strategy for Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.
The United States government has revised its Country of Origin Labelling program, or COOL, ostensibly to bring it in line with a World Trade Organization decision in 2011 (upheld at the appeal stage in 2012) that the meat labelling rule
By: Council of Canadians (Press Release) | March 1, 2013: OTTAWA – Two more municipalities have taken action as part of the Council of Canadians’ campaign to mobilize local governments against the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). This week, Prince Albert City Council endorsed community demands for a bigger public role in CETA while Toronto city councillors READ MORE
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
A First Nations filing for judicial review is the latest manifestation of widespread concern about the Canada-China investment …
Thursday, February 14, 2013
This agreement is primarily about limiting the public policy options of government. It is not fundamentally about lowering tarif…
January 25, 2013
A recent report says that a certain group of lawyers are drumming up business for their own firms by encouraging foreign investors to sue c…
Canada 140 years ago was a more intolerant, sexist, and unequal place, but on one important issue it was far more progressive than the Canada of today, and that’s on public education.Nations often like to look back and take pride at the progress …