Thursday, January 18, 2007

Labour wants respect from new Tory regime

The Edmonton Journal
'The labour shortage is clearly a big priority. But as of now, we don't see many signs that the Alberta government is following the right path. It looks like they will continue to stand on the sidelines and just cheer for business. They aren't acknowledging the role that the provincial government had in creating the problem. First, they are keeping the royalty rates so low that it's just Halloween candy for the industry. Secondly, they have chronically underfunded trades education. They have reaped what they sowed.'

And their solution?

'Well, it's been to bring in temporary foreign workers as fast as possible. Industry sees first- or second-year (Canadian) apprentices as a problem, an impediment. They want to (go abroad) and hire experienced journeymen -- as carpenters, electricians, boilermakers and so on. This is not to (denigrate) immigrants -- most of us come from the heritage of other countries. But if these people are good enough to serve us in a pinch, they are good enough to stay as citizens. This has become the Wild West, with few rules and no enforcement of the ones we have.'

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