Stephen Harper's "guest worker" programme is off to a predictable start and it has his government already running for cover.
The idea was that energy companies could seek Canadian workers and, if they came up short, they could bring in foreign workers to fill those jobs at significantly lower wage rates.
A Chinese-owned coal mine in northern B.C. knew a pot of gold when it saw one and went for it. They began by duly advertising their jobs in Canada - at rates $10-17 lower than comparable wages at nearby mines. But they also stipulated applicants needed to speak Mandarin Chinese. And then, when all those Manadarin-speaking Canadian miners didn't jump at the chance to get the low-wage jobs on offer, the Chinese moved to bring in 300 Chinese miners.
Well this one was just a little too blatant, even for the Harpers. The Chinese knew how to play Chairman Harper's union-busting, fossil-fuel subsidy game but they were just too damned obvious with that Mandarin-language business.
Still, Harper government lawyers are fighting to ensure that mining unions - those that represent Canadian workers - aren't allowed standing to be heard at the court hearing now underway. The judge doesn't appear to be buying the government's arguments, pointing out that the deal by which the feds gave the Chinese permits to bring in 300-Chinese miners was all done "behind closed doors."