In his column for The Toronto Star, columnist Rick Salutin asserts that policies like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program are not merely a cause for concern in Canada. Instead, Salutin writes that because of the widespread effects of globalisation and free trade, temporary foreign workers are currently a global phenomenon, as they move from country to country, seeking jobs and better living conditions than those provided by their native countries, in many cases.
Salutin mentions that initially, temporary foreign workers were simply immigrants. They did jobs that Canadians didn’t want to do. They bought and carefully tended homes in Canada. Their jobs did not define their lives. Consequently, they felt that they – and their kids – were en route to becoming Canadians. Hence, they went about their jobs with verve and panache.
The recent incidents of abuse of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have resulted in several people criticising the Program because it amounts to nothing more than “importing poverty”. However, Salutin mentions that critics conveniently forget that Canada allowed these foreign workers entry and gave them the opportunity to mutate.
Therefore, he refutes the argument that Canada’s immigration policy aims at selecting people with skills and education instead of bringing in “ditchdiggers and hotel maids”. He writes that while Canada allowed workers like “ditchdiggers and hotel maids” to enter the country, it also enabled these workers to raise their children in decent schools. As a result, many of the children of these foreign workers found employment as artists, bankers, teachers, hockey players etc.
Thus, by bringing in foreign workers, who have no stake in the country, are insecure and willing to work for lower wages, Canada ends up with a number of foreign workers, none of whom would ever be able to become Canadian citizens, thereby contributing to the success of the country.
The rise of globalisation and free trade resulted in businesses commencing operations in countries across the world, in an attempt to hire workers at lower wages, thereby boosting profitability. Over time, it became easier to transport entire workforces, as these workers had no citizenship and little rights. This made the issue of temporary foreign workers a global phenomenon, with massive pools of foreign workers “floating” across the globe. When these workers leave Canada, they do not return to their native places. Instead, they move to another country.
Therefore, Salutin writes, policies like the Temporary Foreign Worker Program have their roots in extended historical conflicts over power between forces like capital and labour, often among people who remain clueless about their stakes in the struggle. These policies are no longer issues confined to any specific country or moment currently.
Source: The Toronto Star