By Craig Funston
A recent trip to the North made me feel like I was in some sort of United Nations time zone. Let me see: Koreans ran the motels, Filipinos served me at restaurants, and Pakistanis pumped my gas.
Where was the Quebecois when I needed him?
Now before you have a fit about this raving right-wing racist, and every other casual yet common outburst soaked in ignorance, let me clarify one eensy-weensy issue:
I loved it.
I say this in the face of certain fast food restaurants being hauled on the carpet for their (apparent) abuse of immigrants. I say make sure the charges are true, then nail their corporate butts. Taking advantage of desperate workers has no place in a freedom-loving, people-loving country such as ours.
There is no place for abuse of those who have come over to Canada to better their economic circumstances, I agree. But that statement can be taken one of two ways, and I want to pursue the other way, the non-mainstream media one.
The people that gave me my motel room, for example, could hardly speak English. That irritates me a little. Mind you, I could say that about a lot of high school students, who are white, Canadian-bred and born, and living in the lap of Alberta luxury.
These same immigrants—be they Korean, Filipino, or Pakistani—have some things the people they are allegedly displacing don’t have: courage, moxie, and ambition. It takes a delicate blend of all three to leave a land where they know the language, food, culture, religion, and habits, for a land where everything is unknown. Many of these people support families back home, so working here in Canada is a financial lifeline for them.
These people should be commended, not condemned.
I have a question for all those wise guys who are up in arms about these legal immigrants: Who else will run the motels, serve the food, and pump the gas? Please note that I am simply targeting the service industries; the trades and professions are another discussion.
In other words, where are the white, Canadian-born and bred, and well-off nationals?
Many of them are on the rigs, making (and wasting) more money than their dads ever did; others just can’t be bothered to stoop to such menial tasks as the ones we’re discussing. So you see, the immigrants aren’t the problem here, folks; it’s the non-immigrants.
I have been consistent in my stance on welcoming with open arms, direct flights, and affordable housing for these people. These are the same people that should be encouraged to re-locate to small Alberta hamlets and villages—also dealt with recently in this column.
My grandparents were immigrants. And so were yours, quite likely. I was an immigrant myself for year, while I taught school in El Salvador. Thus, immigration and all that it entails, is a hot button issue for me.
On a bigger scale, this form of economic support for foreign economies is far more effective than the travesty of financial aid that gets doled out to too many countries–often with zero accountability.
I cannot tell you how many employers that I’ve talked to are wringing their respective hands as they tell me about how poorly trained local Canadians are. Every Canadian kid? Obviously not. But far too many of them come to a job with that arrogant sense of entitlement, yet without any character or any sense of loyalty or dependability. These immigrants, on the other hand, come to our land eager and ambitious to work.
I can’t point fingers at the source of why many Canadian kids won’t work, but home would be a good place to start. Kids aren’t being trained at home as they once did, and so they don’t have that serving mentality it takes to succeed.
It’s one of those strange ironies I come across everywhere I travel: I am so proud to be a Canadian when I am served by a Korean, Filipino, or Pakistani.
I agree that we have an immigrant worker problem in Canada: We don’t have enough of them.
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