May 1st, May Day, is International Workers’ Day around the world. Celebrated in Quebec since 1906, Canada has a long tradition of solidarity for working people. However, under the Harper Conservatives, Canada’s established equalities in the labour force are under attack.
“The Harper Conservatives’ new Temporary Foreign Worker Program undermines Canadian labour rights. Along with the CAW and other organizations such as Justicia for Migrant Workers and Migrante, the Green Party of Canada is opposed to this program,” said Leader Elizabeth May (Saanich-Gulf Islands).
New changes to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program would allow employers to pay foreign workers a lesser wage than their Canadian counterparts, including highly skilled workers.
“We don’t want a tiered labour force in Canada. Foreign workers should earn the same wage as a Canadian worker and should be eligible for citizenship,” said May.
Critics point out that the regulatory changes will encourage corporations to import cheap labour, with less incentive to hire local workers. The program will also drive down wages for all workers.
“On May Day, people around the world come together to challenge the economic systems that do not work for the people. The 1.5 million Canadians who are jobless need a government who will create conditions of security, not one that will sell them out for corporate profit,” said May.
“We can do better. On May Day, remembering all the past struggles for workers’ rights shows us that change is possible and we must safeguard the progress that we have made, and keep pushing for progress.”