OTTAWA - The Canadian Press is always on the lookout for noteworthy or zesty exchanges on the floor of the House of Commons. On Monday, Liberal immigration critic John McCallum renewed his complaints about the government's troubled temporary foreign worker program; Employment Minister Jason Kenney fielded the question.
McCallum: Mr. Speaker, under the Liberals, you might remember there was no crisis.
Last week in western Canada I heard evidence of rampant abuse of temporary foreign workers. I heard that some resource companies were saving millions by demanding horrendous working hours with unacceptable lodging. I heard that unscrupulous immigration consultants in the trucking industry were selling labour market opinions and allowing gross exploitation of workers, luring them with false promises of permanent residence.
All of this is illegal. Why does the minister not lift a finger to address the incidents?
Kenney: Mr. Speaker, it would take a Liberal to understand abuse. After all, it was the Liberal government that created the stripper program.
This is not just some kind of a talking point; this is a reality. It actually systematically issued, every year, hundreds of work permits for typically easily-exploited women from developing countries to come to Canada in an industry with close linkages very frequently to organized crime.
When there was a public outcry about it, the Liberals defended the program. That is the Liberal track record. It is indefensible.