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Feds unclear on foreign worker stance: Mulcair 0

Jeremy Nuttall, 24 hours

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the government has not been clear on its position regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. (KEVIN HILL/ 24 HOURS)

Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair said the government has not been clear on its position regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. (KEVIN HILL/ 24 HOURS)

Federal New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair pointed out Mandarin is not an official language of Canada Sunday, while taking aim at the government for its handling of the HD Mining controversy.

Clad in traditional Chinese garb for Vancouver’s Chinese New Year parade, Mulcair said the government has not been clear on its position regarding the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

“I don’t think that the government’s got a handle on it,” he said.

“Minister (Diane) Finley flips back and forth on any given day on this subject.”

HD Mining plans to import 201 miners from China to work at its Murray River coal operation, claiming it could not find Canadians with the expertise to fill the positions.

Public attention increased after the United Steelworkers Union found advertisements for the job listing Mandarin as an important asset for the positions, an approach Mulcair admonished.

“Canada has two official languages and Mandarin isn’t one of them,” said Mulcair.

But the NDP leader later focused his answer in a phone interview.

“If you need another language at a desk in a hotel because your clientele speaks that language, that’s one thing,” he said.

“But if you’re having a blanket requirement to bring in temporary foreign workers and you’re requiring a language other than French or English, that’s another thing.”

The federal government has argued on the side of the company in court after two B.C. unions filed for a review of the company’s permits for the miners.

The company recently sent 16 miners back to China, citing it needs more certainty about the project’s viability before continuing.

 

 

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