The always entertaining and informative, David Climenhaga, asks this week: Does anyone believe the problem in the immigration minister's office was just an overzealous flunky?
Of course we don't and for those who do, call me. Have I got a deal for you. A bridge over the Wishwehadone River in Monoco, that I can sell you dirt cheap.
The story here is not whether Jason Kenney was intentionally using his office for partisan purposes, but that he got caught, and someone had to take the fall.
To put this into simple terms, Jason Kenney was stealing money from taxpayers and funnelling it to the Conservative Party of Canada. I can't make it any clearer than that. And it was not the first time and won't be the last.
As usual the media is giving it a partisan spin and frankly they're driving me nuckin' futts.
Because if they were doing their job they might be able to explain to Canadians, why, with massive unemployment, is Jason Kenney's office allowing so many temporary workers to infiltrate the Canadian labour force.
It's not because there's a shortage of workers.
The Wall Street "heist" being dubbed the "global economic crisis" hit Canada in 2008, when we experienced massive unemployment. And yet look at the escalation of temporary foreign workers, for that three year period. Through the roof.
The leaked CitiGroup memo that justified income disparity in the U.S., the U.K. and Canada, suggested that the practice was necessary to keep the "price of labour contained"
We see plenty of examples of the outsourcing or offshoring of labor being attacked as“unpatriotic” or plain unfair. This tends to lead to calls for protectionism to save the low-skilled domestic jobs being lost. This is a cause championed, generally, by left-wing politicians.When Conservative Gerald Keddy defended the use of migrant workers, he called our unemployed "No good bastards", later apologizing by saying that "In no way did I mean to offend those who have lost their job due to the global recession." Who did he mean to offend?
Ex-Reformer, turned Alliance, turned Conservative, turned the worst columnist in the country, Monte Solberg, however, defended Keddy.
“When I was minister of immigration I was stunned by the fact that even though the unemployment rate was over 10 per cent in Prince Edward Island, fish plants there had to bring in Russian workers because they couldn't find local workers,” he writes. “It seems EI paid enough that, in a very narrow sense, it was completely rational that unemployed Islanders would refuse to do those very tough and dirty jobs.”What he doesn't say is that many Islanders would have gladly done the job, but it would have meant a lengthy daily commute or the necessity to find accommodation near the fish plants. And since the jobs paid so low, with the extra costs, they would have been working for nothing. It was not about their dislike for doing "tough and dirty jobs". This is about keeping the "price of labour contained" for multinational corporations.
Why This Matters
Another important revelation from Kenney's abuse of tax dollars, was the exploitation of immigrants, and yet the rise in the use of temporary foreign workers, has hurt the immigrant population the most.
The leaked memo also calls for the "use of immigrants to invigorate wealth creation", but under Kenney, the wealthy have been able to become even more "invigorated".
In the book Persistent Poverty: Voices from the Margins, there is the story of an immigrant named Kamil who worked in computer repairs. He was asked by his employer to train a new arrival to do the job and once they learned it, he was laid off. "They get low pay ... They don't ask about health and safety matters and employment standards."
In other words, they keep their mouths shut. And what if they don't?
In April of 2009, Jason Kenney and Peter Van Loan launched the largest workplace raid in Canadian history. They immediately deported the workers, not even allowing them to contact their families. One of those targeted and shipped out, had lodged a complaint against her employer for sexual assault.
She didn't keep her mouth shut, so she was gone.
Canada's mistreatment of migrant workers is now getting international attention. (yet little if any here)
Hundreds of Guatemalan migrant workers and their community allies marched through Guatemala City to the steps of the Canadian embassy on Wednesday, to protest the abusive treatment of migrants under Canada's Temporary Foreign Workers program. The workers at the protest had been fired and repatriated for defending their labour and human rights while working in Canada. UFCW Canada, the Agriculture Workers Alliance (AWA), Global Workers Justice and a number of other Guatemalan and international organizations also participated in the demonstration, and joined in the call for a complete review of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program because the federal government program fails to provide migrant workers with legal protection or access to the justice system even when the workers are mistreated.Yes, Jason Kenney is doing a fine job. A fine job if you're a corporation looking to maximize profits, that is.
But then he is keeping us safe by keeping out undesirables. Undesirables like British Parliamentarian George Galloway. Or Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, just in case she reminded us that Canada was once a democracy too.
Or renowned scientist and activist, Vandana Shiva. A scientist! Doesn't she know that this government hates scientists almost as much as they hate democracy?
So please wake up media and the next time you try and convince Canadians that Jason Kenney is just a cute little, pudgy little, harmless Pillsbury Doughboy, you might want to do a bit of research.
Kenney personifies the evil that is neoconservatism.
Just ask the Guatemalans.