At the end of last month Trudeau popped up in Vancouver to announce that Amazon was adding 3,000 tech jobs to its BC operations. Manna from Heaven. Bounty for all. Trudeau's people even brought in a gaggle of tech geeks for a Trump-like backdrop.
Now there are some awkward questions about the Amazon deal and no one seems interested in answering them.
Trudeau’s April 30 event, at which he boasted about “Amazon’s commitment to recruiting top talent from our universities,” raises more questions than answers, particularly about the role played by Canada’s migration policies in producing the country’s high-tech labour force.
...But why does Trudeau, a globalist who champions free trade and the free movement of labour, not talk about federal foreign-worker-recruiting methods in the country’s technology sector, especially in contrast to the more protectionist approach in Donald Trump’s U.S.?
Amid the murkiness, for instance, I’m not aware of anyone who has an answer from the federal Liberals on whether the government has offered tax, migration or labour concessions to Amazon to bring the technology giant to Vancouver and other parts of Canada, where it already employs more than 6,000 people.
After all, the federal government and B.C. Liberals granted a labour-market exemption in 2014 to Microsoft so it would expand operations in Vancouver. The exemption means the Seattle-based multinational can hire foreign workers in Canada without first having to prove qualified Canadians are not available.
The extent to which Canadian high-tech companies rely on foreign workers, international students and would-be migrants is explained in the book Trans-Pacific Mobilities: The Chinese and Canada (UBC Press), edited by the University of Calgary’s Lloyd Wong, with a key contribution by SFU’s Karl Froschauer.
Although Wong and Froschauer have never responded to my requests for interviews, they wrote in Trans-Pacific Mobilities that Metro Vancouver’s high-tech companies assertively look abroad for workers, mostly from Asia, and especially in India and China.
...To put it simply, Canada’s open attitude to tech talent is the opposite of Trump’s, where the current national motto is, “Buy America. Hire America.”
Trump talks about further cracking down on the country’s coveted H-1B visas, which are used to place foreign workers in high-skilled U.S. jobs. As the BBC reports, U.S. politicians place a tight cap on H-1B visas because many do not want to see them used to replace skilled American workers with cheaper overseas counterparts.
Trudeau, on the other hand, is fast-tracking offshore high-tech workers and students. He’s brought in efforts like the Global Skills Strategy, which builds upon the 2015 “Express Entry” program; a free, online process that allows skilled workers to apply easily to immigrate.I guess that's what you can expect when someone tells you that your Canada is now a "post-national" country.