Cullen, Donaldson welcome investigation of mining jobs

MP Nathan Cullen and MLA Doug Donaldson point to lack of training and policy as root of foreign worker issues.

  • Oct. 31, 2012 5:00 p.m.

The recent rash of foreign workers hired under the auspices of the federal Temporary Foreign Workers program illicit harsh reactions from Canadian citizens, especially those living in northern B.C.

Those reactions obviously made their way to Parliament Hill where officials announced an investigation into the validity of the permits granted to Chinese citizens hired to undertake sampling work at a coal mine near Tumbler Ridge, B.C.

Specifically, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada is investigating to determine if the applications for the permits met established requirements.

The announcement, NDP MP Skeena – Bulkley Valley, Nathan Cullen said, is a direct result of concerned citizens increasingly alert to the selloff of Canada to outside interests.

“Without question, the anger of thousands of Canadians reeling in an arrogant government that is drunk on its own power is beginning to show on the Conservatives,” Cullen said.

“It’s a credit to concerned citizens across BC and from other parts of the country who oppose the craziness of massive international hires for Canadian jobs.”

Doug Donaldson, NDP MLA Stikine and opposition Critic for Energy, Mines and Petroleum, pointed to the lack of an effective provincial job plan as the root of this crisis.

“This has all arisen because there’s been a colossal failure in the jobs plan regarding the mining sector,” Donaldson said.

As evidence, Donaldson pointed to 90 Canadians interviewed by HD Mining for the Tumbler Ridge jobs, all of whom  were deemed unqualified.

“I would say that’s a pretty strong indictment of the fact the B.C. Liberals knew five years ago, in 2007, the company’s [HD Mining] intention of bringing skilled workers over,” Donaldson said.

Hiring of the foreign workers has also drawn the attention of B.C. Jobs Minister, Pat Bell, who announced last week the provinces Employment Standards Branch is investigating allegations fees were charged by recruiters in China.

Cullen noted the perfect storm has been brewing on the jobs front and concerns over trade policies with China both of which are converging to cast a shadow on the Conservative government’s end goal.

“Stephen Harper and his gang are governing by blind ideology instead of making solid policy decisions that are good for Canadians,” Cullen said.

“It’s time the Conservatives are called to account for giving away Canadian jobs and making trade deals that benefit other countries more than our own.”