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Red Deer Advocate - Letters to the Editor
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Temporary foreign workers should be admired, protected

I would like to address a matter near and dear to my heart, it concerns the temporary foreign workers program.

It saddens me to think that the government is looking at a group of people and thinking they are not needed here.

They fill a very big gap in an industry that is desperate for employees.

People think that they are taking jobs away from Canadians but if that were so, why was the need there to begin with?

I can tell you why: Canadians do not want these jobs! They think they are above such menial jobs as working in the fast food industry.

We have become such a spoiled society that many young people think all they need to do is show up for work without actually doing any work. That they are deserving of things they have not yet earned and make no attempt at earning them.

I am not saying all people, of course, but a good majority of them.

I am a 45-year-old woman who for the first time in her life is out in the workforce after raising seven children. My children may not be doctors or lawyers, they have not gone to college, they have not been privileged to silver spoons in their mouths. But they are hard-working, honest, caring individuals who know that what they get in life is what they have worked extremely hard for.

I am proud of each and every one of them and what they add to society.

I have only a Grade 8 education but I know when I go to work every day I am appreciated for the hard work I do. I work for McDonald’s and am proud to say I do.

I work hard in an industry that people sneer at and look down on but we work hard, very hard, and in the nine months I have been there I have watched many young people get hired and come to work for a few weeks and then complain that they are being worked to hard and they should not have to put in the hours and time for the meager pay they receive at the end of every two weeks.

I would even go as far to say that probably close to half of Canadians who have come in have already left to go look for greener pastures. Maybe I am wrong on the numbers but it has to be pretty darn close.

Now let me talk about any of the foreign workers I have worked with: every one of them who was there when I started is still there. They work their tails off each and every shift. They are some of the hardest working people in my restaurant and I am proud to work beside them each and every day! It is always a pleasure to come in for my shifts and work side by side with my friends and coworkers.

I am a full-time employee and can say I have never felt slighted in my hours or feel they are being given to the foreign workers. As a matter of fact, they are the ones who are handed any shift and do not complain about availability.

To me, they come across as very grateful to be given the opportunities that they may not have had otherwise.

They are such hard-working individuals, always doing the jobs they have been given to the best of their abilities. They provide quality service to customers and I never really hear them complain.

I remember the first time I realized that most of them are here without their families and I went home and cried that night. I was heartbroken but so proud of them for doing the hardest thing they must have ever had to face and that is to leave their families and children behind just to provide for them in a manner that is much needed.

I can’t imagine being that selfless to be able to have the courage to do such a thing. How can a decision like that be made lightly?

Last night after speaking with one of my friends and coworker, he expressed his concern about having to leave when two years are up and all I could think was: I can’t imagine going to work in two years and not seeing his always -smiling face and watching him do his job in such a profound way, as do all of the foreign workers I am privileged to work with.

So now they have the unfortunate stress of having to do a job and make friends and family here and yet worry that all will be ripped from them when their work visas expire.

If we had no need for foreign workers, how did this all start anyway?

It started because there is a need.

Please don’t let some underachiever who thinks that promotions should be handed to them based on where they were born destroy other people’s lives. By that I don’t mean just the foreign workers, I mean me, us.

Our industry will fall apart without all the hard work and dedication provided by all my friends and co-workers.

I wish that every one of my friends who have had the same privilege of working with a foreign worker would take the time to write the government and let them know how it has made their lives richer and happier working side by side with a group of people who know how to work and work for very little.

Please help me in my endeavour to stop such a travesty from taking place. Give five minutes even if it is only five sentences!

Joyce Constantineau

Red Deer

 
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