This Monday, Kathleen Weil—The Minister of Immigration, Diversity, and Inclusiveness—met with her Federal counterpart to ask if Quebec can take a rain-check on their temporary foreign workers ban. Quebec argues that its restaurant industry will suffer if this ban is not lifted, particularly with the busy summer months.
Walking down Blvd. Saint Laurent or Prince Arthur or Saint Catherine, one can see restaurants already setting out their terraces for the summer. The coming months are a spectacularly busy time of the year in Montreal, and as someone who has and is currently working in the restaurant industry I can vouch for that. That Ms. Weil seems to be embracing the parts of her title regarding “diversity and inclusiveness” is commendable. Even people who have no intention of staying in Canada for an extended period of time, deserve to have a job here—even if it means that Canadians are passed by for jobs. This makes perfect sense as our economy is booming and our unemployment rate is so low across the board. Oh wait…that last part isn’t quite true.
Unemployment reaches higher and higher every day, students are struggling under mountains of debt and even hard-working professional men and women are fighting to keep their jobs against budget cuts and closures. Please, don’t mistake me of being a xenophobe who wants “dem immigants to go back where day come from!” However I do feel, as a working Canadian who has struggled to find a job recently that we must make it priority to reserve jobs for Canadians—or at the very least for those who actually want to be Canadians and are planning on staying here. It’s one thing for foreign students on a work visa—they need to work their way through school too and pay for expenses, but all other case where someone comes up and works here for 4-6 months before going back to Africa, Asia, Central and South America or elsewhere…well that doesn’t sit well with me. If these “temporary foreign workers” are planning on staying permanently then let them have that status and have a chance at a job. If they are transient, then we need to remember that there are Canadians who should have those jobs and we need to do what we can to ensure that it is Canadians who get them.
In this economy, in the world that we live in we need to first sort out our own house, support our own people first before we start supporting others. There is no reason why a qualified Canadian citizen should be passed up for a job in favour of a foreigner who is only go to stay a few months. Quebec can claim that this ban on the program will hurt their restaurant industry—other provinces might claim the same at some point but I don’t see it. I work in the service industry, I am a busboy and it is not an easy job to get for their is a lot of competition. So how about hiring some of that Canadian competition, before you start pulling in people from beyond our borders? Think of your friends and family who work and who have had their jobs threatened recently. We need to put Canadians (or Quebecois—depending on where you stand) first in this matter.