Wednesday, 6 November 2013

So, What You're Saying Is We Need Another Head Tax?

Temporary foreign workers (TFWs).

What to do, what to do?

In today's Toronto Star, columnist and social justice advocate Carol Goar opines on the matter.

She has problems with the program as do the majority of Canadians; it's not far fetched to assume they wouldn't be.

So she offers some solutions. She suggest, rightly so, the cancellation of the provision that allows employers to pay TFWs 15% less than the going rate. She also suggests a requirement for employers "to submit a firm plan to replace their temporary foreign workers with Canadian workers over time" as well as "demand proof that companies are not using the program to outsource Canadian jobs."

She also suggests this: charge a $275 per worker fee for using the program.

Or in other words a head tax.

Immigration lawyer Richard Kurland made a similar suggestion to Sun News by offering the opinion that employers should be paying a 15% premium per TFW instead of being allowed to pay them 15% less than the going rate. He calls it a premium but a head tax is a head tax by any other name.

So, if offering the advice to charge someone a fee or premium per imported worker is now allowed in polite conversation then I ask what was so wrong with Canada charging a head tax on imported Chinese workers in the past? What's the difference between then and now?

How is a Chinese controlled mining company in B.C. importing Chinese workers to work for less pay than readily available Canadian workers different from the steady importation of Chinese labourers into B.C. some 100 years ago. The difference is a span of about 100 hundreds years. Aside from that there is none.

The response to the problem is also the same. Labour unions in B.C. tried through the court system to stop the arrival of the Chinese labours. In the left leaning Toronto Star it is suggested we charge a fee for every imported TFW.

What we have now is context and the context is the same. Like then what we have now is the steady importation of foreign workers into Canadian society that consequently is having a negative economic impact on the domestic workforce and incomes. In the past the government issued a head tax to deal with the problem and protect the livelihoods of Canadian workers. Now, near identical proposals are being made today to deal with the same problem by people left of the political spectrum no less!

With that said, was it wrong then for Canada to issue a head tax? No. Should the government have apologized for it? Definitely no! Imported Chinese workers were causing a problem then and the government of the time acted for the benefit of Canadians and dealt with it by issuing a head tax. Today it should do the same with TFWs.