Letters to the Editor: Work shortages/housing costs and Trudeau and Martin

Letters from readers from Sept. 3 edition of The Free Press

Letter to the Editor re: Worker shortage

A worker shortage in Fernie?  Well, it seems fitting we can blame the changes to the temporary foreign worker program, but to hear McDonalds and Tim Hortons complain about the changes is absolute lunacy.  McDonalds was the first corporation to get exposed for refusing to hire Canadians, so they could pay lower wages to foreign workers.  The Tim Hortons right here in Fernie was caught illegally stealing overtime wages from its workers with threats of deportation, in order to pad it’s profits.

Now I truly do feel bad for the smaller businesses like the Brickhouse who are hurting through this downturn and plan to stop in and have a meal along with a beverage.  So while Tim Hortons, McDonalds and other multi-national businesses rake in hundreds of millions of dollars, they refused to hire Canadians and caused the rule changes that are hurting the local smaller business our economy was built on.

It is therefore no wonder we are in a recession in this country with Stephen Harper at the helm.  The temporary foreign worker program was created by the Conservatives with the intent to be abused by billion dollar corporations while hurting smaller local businesses.  Join me in thanking the Conservative party of Canada on October 19th for this economic collapse, by voting them out of office.

Curtis Mah,Fernie, BC


Letter to the Editor re: Worker shortage

Local businesses complain of worker shortage in Fernie?

I believe the issue to be more related to housing and cost of living than access to the changed Conservative government’s Temporary Foreign Worker program.  If the survey from the B.C. Non-Profit Housing Association that stated that 93% of income earned by minimum wage workers is going to rent and utilities is correct then why would any person with other options choose to live here under those conditions?

Come live and play in Fernie for the lifestyle the ads all read.  From what I understand from the Aug. 27 The Free Press article “Worker shortages affects Fernie businesses” that many of the businesses thriving off Fernie being a resort town like food and beverage, retail, hospitality and national advertising efforts are the majority of businesses currently operating short-staffed.  Isn’t it interesting that most of these jobs are minimum or near minimum wage jobs?  Even if some wages are around $15-$17 at some places, I challenge any person to make it far in the dead of winter on $35,360 a year here without several roommates and the hassles that come along with that.  There simply is not enough affordable housing to meet the demands of required labour to keep all our shopkeepers cashing in on the tourist dollars.

Any business that is dependent on TFW’s rather than solving these long term issues of housing and lack of domestic labour is using a poor business model and is not contributing to overall health of Fernie’s economic stability. Why don’t local businesses invest into joint staff facilities (works in Jasper, another small town with massive seasonal visitors) – long term stability and a benefit of employment in Fernie – rather than depending on the seriously flawed federal government’s TEMPORARY foreign worker solution?  This does not solve Fernie’s problem – just keeps these business owners making the most profit possible instead of investing in the community.

We cleverly hid the fact that there are only 5,000 permanent residents here before you opened shop? Poor planning and poor foresight by local business and government.  Time to put down some roots and see how we can help Fernie grow and thrive – long term- rather than making a quick dollar.

Steve KalliesFernie, BC


Letter to the Editor re: Trudeau and Martin

Into an election campaign already burdened with Conservative lies about transparency and accountability, the Trudeau Liberals have injected desperation and hypocrisy by resurrecting the aged Paul Martin.

He was federal Liberal Minister of Finance 20 years ago. At that time the country had inherited its worst-ever deficit from Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney.

Martin swore to balance the 1995 budget, as he put it, “come hell or high water” and he did so, bragging afterwards that he had reduced spending on social services to a level not experienced since the 1950s. Simultaneously, he transferred the insurance for the ships of his Canadian Steamship Lines to Liberia. And thus did Mr. Martin make certain that, although he had cut $4 billion from Unemployment Insurance to help balance the budget, his family was OK, Jack.

This is the man who now has the unmitigated gall to lecture us on social and economic justice and who, having at one time been the great champion of budgetary surpluses, has suddenly become the great champion of budgetary deficits.

Deficit budgeting has apparently become a positive political attribute, and having scorned and derided Harper for his eight deficits in nine years, Trudeau now proposes to run another three (four, five, six?) deficits of his own.

The worst aspect of this whole scenario, however, is Trudeau’s  inability to articulate Liberal economic policy without depending on a compromised politician such as Martin to do the job for him. By doing so he has as good as admitted it: he’s not ready.

Both Martin and Trudeau have attacked NDP leader Mulcair’s economic vision of a deficit-free, balanced-budget Canada, deliberately ignoring not only the facts of Martin’s record as finance minister, but also the unpalatable economic reality for both Liberals and Conservatives: in Canada, between 1981 and 2011, the provincial governments which fought deficits most successfully, provided budgetary surpluses and at the same time retained social services, were all NDP.

JC Vallance,Fernie, BC

The Free Press