Opposition Motion – Temporary Foreign Worker Program

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, to my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville, it certainly is the case that in the British Columbia example of Chinese foreign workers who were brought in for the mine, they did not speak English or French.

My question relates to agriculture. I asked a farmer in my riding if he was using the temporary foreign worker program and he said, “No, I hire all local kids.” I said that I keep hearing that local kids will not work on farms. He said, “They will if you pay them a decent wage.”

I think the issue is how we price the work that is being done and I would like to ask my friend from Mississauga—Streetsville if we should not be willing to pay Canadian workers enough to live in Canada.

Brad Butt: Mr. Speaker, I congratulate the farmer from the member’s riding of Saanich—Gulf Islands. I think that is spectacular. I have also met with employers in my riding who are having difficulty under the temporary foreign worker program getting labour market opinions approved because they are not offering the appropriate wages and are actually being denied because they are not offering the right wage levels that are commensurate with Canadian wages. My answer to those employers is they have to follow the rules. If the rules are to pay a Canadian decent wage to a temporary foreign worker just like they pay a Canadian worker, that is what the rule should be.