The Yukon can be proud of the Yukon nominee program and its refugee settlement practices.
The Yukon has allowed citizens to come from the Philippines and many other countries to be equals and blend in while still sharing with all of us their beautiful cultures, creating the rich Yukon society we have today.
These valuable programs, however, should not be confused with another program being discussed and pushed by multinational companies. This program is the one asking exploited seasonal workers to come from overseas.
This program must be stopped. What is being proposed is the bringing of a large exploited labour force from overseas. These people will have no rights and could eventually number in the thousands and will be kicked out every fall. This same practice has been done in communities in the United States and around the world, destroying wages, creating unsafe working conditions and leaving economic devastation.
By allowing a group of workers to come in to be exploited in the Yukon, we will be setting a new standard for working conditions here. There will be no jobs for Yukon seasonal workers and existing wages and benefits will be slashed. Existing fair immigration programs will be eliminated. The impact on First Nations will be terrible and perhaps more permanent than the gold rush and building of the Alaska Highway.
Agreements established with First Nations on mines and the pipelines will be out the window. Imagine a Yukon where tradespeople work in mines and highway construction for $10, or less, an hour. What future will there be for First Nation young workers, university students, tradespeople, and small-business owners? The answer is, none.
I respectfully ask Yukon First Nations, other aboriginal citizens, labour organizations, university student groups, small business owners, new immigrants, and all Yukoners to say no to the allowing of exploited seasonal workers from overseas into the Yukon.
Keep the valuable nominee program and other immigration programs that treat new immigrants with dignity and respect but do not allow thousands of exploited workers with no benefits and no future into the Yukon.
If this occurs, all the resources of the Yukon will be sucked out by greedy multinational companies, which will leave nothing behind here in the Yukon except hopelessness, crime, poverty and destruction.
Within five years the Yukon will resemble more the battlegrounds of Colombia than the home we love and cherish today.