Sunday, February 26, 2006

Immigration; an open door or labor control?

Immigration has not taken the fore front of news as it should have. Immigration or the lack of it has been the fulcrum for many political debates and social catastrophes over the years. The importing of strike breakers to quell dock strikes comes to mind. Pavlov in his studies tells us that capitalism cannot survive if it has less than 10% unemployment. Take that or leave it. Seems to me industry is very happy when unemployment is at about 6%.

Some very interesting things have come about in Canada on immigration. For instance Quebec has it written into Canadian law it would be guaranteed 40% of Canada’s immigration. They have problems with falling population growth; this was a cure in part. It leaves Quebec in a position of first choice on immigrants. This leaves Quebec receiving 40% of the immigration dollars whether or not they use it! They demand control over their own immigration. Incoming people often land in Quebec and catch the first bus out west. Quebec keeps the Federal cash.

Alberta has announced multi billions of dollars of projects and not ten cents worth of plans. This is just the way this Government works. Are we in trouble on water privatization? Easy Fix! Let’s field a plan for the tired Edmonton – Calgary railroad. That will serve to keep eyes off the ball (or water).

Alberta fully realizes it has neither the educated staff, trades people nor the laborers to bring on most of their projects. Alberta targeted trucking as being one of the trades Alberta needs.

Consider that truck drivers can usually operate a range of equipment or can be taught to do so it seems a good idea at the onset. Their stated purpose of covering the long haul truck driver shortage is out to lunch. In fact, it is more resembles the strike breaking scenarios familiar to us all.

There are not enough trucks crossing the borders because Canadian Drivers refuse to cross the border because of border hassle, extended wait times and plainly inhospitable Americans at the borders. Why? Hours spent at the border count against driving times and hence, income.

When Alberta hires it’s foreign drivers Alberta's stated purpose is to cross American borders which will simply not be allowed by Homeland Security. Why then, bring in so many drivers?

A Saskatchewan based trucking company hired 80 or so English/Scottish truck drivers a year ago. They brought their families over by offering sponsor ship and asked for 3 years service from the immigrants at the going rates after which time, they were free agents. Things seem to be going very well for this marriage even though the newly immigrated cannot go into the US. Canadian born drivers are now bullied into doing that crossing.

On another front in Alberta a tanker company hired a hundred or so people out of Romania to drive truck for them. Single people I think. Anyway; after 6 months most had returned to Romania. Money was great but, look at the expenses! Things were apparently better in Romania.

Our Prime Minister to tackle immigrant job issues: McGuinty reads the headline. I’m interested to see what he plans on giving away and/or clawing back. I can only hope the regular media gives this subject the attention it deserves.

Yet another subject to follow the Gazettes for!
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