Earlier this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told members of Vancouver’s ethnic media that the temporary foreign worker program has not gone as planned. “We have seen very blatant examples of companies using this in ways that were not in the interest of Canadians,” he said. According to Harper, while temporary workers are necessary in parts of Western Canada, “there must be plans for companies to transition to permanent workforces.
“If you really need temporary workers permanently then that means we need permanent workers who become Canadian,” Harper said. “They have a right to stay here and they have a right to bargain with their employer and they have a right to be treated fairly and not just sent back to where they came from the first time they don’t like something.”
Opposition leader Tom Mulcair shot back, telling The Vancouver Sun that if Harper “has truly changed his mind on temporary foreign workers, he should apologize to all those who have been hurt by this program.” Indeed, while Harper’s impassioned argument certainly sounds reasonable, it also hints at a change of heart. Under his government, temporary foreign workers more than doubled while the number of permanent residents entering Canada barely budged. The numbers don’t lie. Take a look: