New Brunswickers versus aliens: Redux

Got a couple of emails about my interview on News 91.9 this am.  Not particularly positive ones.  Let me just reiterate as it seems some folks here what they want to hear not what was actually said.

I understand this is a complex issue.  I understand that it is hard to raise a family on a minimum wage job.  Based on the data I have seen, I don’t think there are too many families in New Brunswick in that situation.  There are some – admittedly – but there was a study out a few years ago that found most people at the minimum wage are students or are part of two-income families.

But that is a deviation from the main point.  What I am trying to say is that making it harder to recruit temporary foreign workers doesn’t just miraculously lead to local people filling the jobs.  Surprise. Surprise.  We need to have a broader discussion about the labour market and about attaching more NBers to the workforce but my research leads me to conclude that clamping down on the TFW program might hurt economic growth – particularly in the larger urban centres.  That is not an outcome that makes sense to me.

That’s it.

All of the broader conversation around EI, living wage, poverty reduction, etc. is very important but only loosely part of the very specific discussion around TFWs.

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One Response to New Brunswickers versus aliens: Redux

  1. mikel says:

    I don’t agree. I think they are very much attached. As an economic developer, the ‘other costs’ are not things you can ‘study’. For example, more TFWers are brought in, the fed government cuts EI, then the province cuts welfare. Suddenly a LOT more people are hitting food banks, and people are going hungrier. That is not something that shows up in economic statistics. Economic statistics can make a place look a LOT better than it actually is. That said, I didn’t hear the interview, however, you play pretty fast and loose with the terms “my research shows”. What research is that? Do you have footnotes?

    There are SOME cases where obviously thats true. Cheaper labour costs are ALWAYS good for business. You can make that same argument about China, where suicides are so high that many tall buildings now have nets around them. So OF COURSE its true that businesses that benefit from cheap TFW. In fact, you could probably argue that ALL companies in Canada should benefit from TFW’s. Bring in dirt cheap labour, then more production will follow because businesses can compete with places with dirt poor labour. The BUSINESS community benefits, and ‘economically’ it looks great. Except of course for all the canadians who can’t find work. And I think that DIRECTLY fits into arguments about EI and poverty.

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