Ottawa

Jason Kenney vs. Basket weavers

The noble basket weaver refuses to be your easy punchline.

The immigration system for the past 40 to 50 years has been ignoring highly trained workers, said Kenney. “It was easier to get your permanent residency in Canada if you had a master’s degree in basket-weaving than if you had 20 years experience as a welder,” he said on CBC. “We need the welders. We need these guys who work with their hands.”

Ann McRae McIsaac, of the Basket Weavers of P.E.I. Cooperative, said downplaying the importance of craftspeople shows narrow-mindedness. McIsaac trained with a fourth-generation Acadian whose family had been basket-weaving since the late 1800s. “Basket-weaving is the oldest known arts around. There’s a lot of history with it and a lot of Canadian history associated with basket-weaving,” she said.

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