QP Live: How do you define a labour shortage?

Your daily dose of political theatre

Adrian Wyld/CP

Adrian Wyld/CP

Temporary foreign workers have held the attention of parliamentarians’ collective attention for weeks—in particular, those workers who allegedly steal Canadian jobs or are abused by their Canadian employers or, depending on the day, both. The House of Commons spent a week as a big, empty room. As its inhabitants return to Ottawa after a week in their constituencies, they confront some numbers produced by the Alberta Federation of Labour.

The Globe and Mail reports that AFL’s digging has produced troubling statistics—namely, that the feds have approved applications to hire thousands of temporary foreign workers at minimum wage. The Globe reminds its readers that TFWs “must be paid the median prevailing hourly wage for that occupation in that geographic area.” If employers can pay minimum wage, the AFL says, that’s proof that no labour shortage afflicts the Canadian economy.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s traditional response to labour-shortage skeptics has been that no broad labour shortage plagues the country, but that TFWs assist targeted, regional gaps. Expect more duelling definitions of labour market shortages in today’s 45-minute session.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair may largely throw the foreign-worker file to his go-to lieutenant on the file, MP Jinny Sims. He’ll no doubt expend some energy asking the government about another Globe scoop from the weekend paper: the Tories’ apparent fixation last summer on filling a Supreme Court vacancy with a Quebec judge from the Federal Court. Mulcair’s taken glee in dissecting the government’s tricky defence of its conduct on the file.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.

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QP Live: How do you define a labour shortage?

  1. Its just like listening to tennis in QP. Please, cool the jets on the clapping.

  2. I see it this way. Consumption jobs of over paid government employees, layers, arts, BA and other jobs based on consumption are scarce.

    But productive jobs and jobs like private heath/dentist that add value in society are in big time shortages. Even productive jobs on the low end, huge shortage of productive as many rather whine, complain and collect welfare.

    Person that does my grass and snow, makes abotu 4100k/year with $20k expenses, never got G12. But my freelance cabinet maker of 30 years experience takes the big cake, does $10-12k of business a week, backlogged for 8 months, extremely talent and efficient, can’t read but has about 1/2 of it going to expenses, and why his home is an estate on 20 acres…with a private cabinet making show. He was in Monday and done 10 days later making our kitchen looking fit for Ramsey himself.

    But neither sat and whine. I bet they both mentored for minimum wage for years to get the landscaping and cabinetry skills then they make serious money. Productive jobs need people and often the artisans like this make huge money by doing and not whining.

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