You wouldn't know it from the tone of discourse today, but immigrants and foreign workers have been part of the Canadian labour force since Confederation. Then, much as now, they were necessary to ensure Canada's economic survival. Nevertheless, 19th century immigrant workers were viewed with suspicion and contempt and assigned the most dangerous tasks.
The creation of Common Causes gave me hope. I have long felt that we desperately need a hard-nosed civil society movement that will challenge the Conservatives with massive campaigns drawing on the resources of hundreds of groups. Common Causes may be able to build an effective forum and voice for Canada's liberal-minded, progressive community but, as we have been in Quebec, this can take years.
All Canadians owe a debt of gratitude to Chief Theresa Spence's and Elder Raymond Robinson's hunger strikes. These individuals are calling attention to an intolerable situation among First Nations communities. They are also highlighting concerns common to many Canadians about dangers posed by unilateral government.
Given 25 years of stagnant wages for middle-income earners and real wage decreases for lower-income earners, it's not surprising how difficult it is for people to save. Canadians have a low, and declining rate of saving, with some people using their Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) as unemployment insurance programs.
The Conservative government has a disturbing habit of introducing significant changes to Canadian public policy by sleight of hand. Bill C-377 would force every labour organization in Canada to file detailed financial information. It is more about helping employers, the Conservative Party and special interest groups with close ties to them. If passed, Bill C-377 will tip the balance of labour relations in Canada.
On Labour Day we celebrate the many contributions of working people who helped to build our country and its economy. Despite negative comments about unions from some business groups, we do make a positive difference in the health of our communities. Our research study highlights 29 separate communities across the country to show the benefits that unionized workers provide. In short, these communities are better places to work and live.
Stripped to its core, Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak's vision is not about "modernizing" the labour market in the interests of prosperity for all. He seeks to usher in an era of permanent uncertainty for all working people to the overwhelming benefit of corporations. To accomplish this task, Hudak must neutralize his opponents in every possible arena, from the workplace to elections.