Liberals Talk the Talk. Bloc Walks the Walk.

with 101 comments

Ruby Dhalla

It’s so hard to find good help these days.  They have no respect, run their mouths to the neighbours and think they have all the rights of, you know, real Canadians.

Liberal MP Ruby Dhalla won’t find much sympathy out there.  You can’t be young, scandalously sexy, successful, represent a battleground ridding and not expect the other side to try to portray you as an evil Veronica Lake.

We all know Ms Dhalla was accused a couple of weeks ago of mistreating three live-in domestic workers hired to take care of her mother.  One of them even accused the MP of withholding her passport.  The accused claims it’s some kind of vast right wing conspiracy and that its her brother who was abusing the Filipina workers anyway.

When my uncle was transferred to Singapore by his company, he told me about how the apartments literally came with a live in maid who had her one little room without Air Conditioning only two two rights: to work or to leave.  This is a common way of treating workers in many parts of the world.  There are many countries who recruit their labourers with temporary schemes and single-employer visas.  The Middle East is notorious for these emirates where 70% of the population is made up of temporary workers with partial rights who can be asked to leave the country on at any moment.

Canada has usually recruited its workers the other way: by granting those who agree to come, after some basic bureaucratic formalities, full rights of citizenship.  It’s a little more expensive to do it this way, but it tends to attract better quality personnel.

But there are a few exceptions to this rule.  Temporary agricultural workers, for example.  Or Live-in domestic help.

Live-in nannies and maids, contrary to other landed immigrants, are only allowed to work for one employer.  They are also obligated to live with this employer and do not benefit form all social services, things like CSST (work-accident protection) in Québec, for example.

This is, of course necessary because, well, do you have any idea how expensive it would be to hire three live in workers at a real salary?  You have to be serious, now.

Ms. Dhalla’s Liberal Party has always won the hearts and purses of Canada’s immigrant communities by portraying the Conservatives and, above all, the indépendantistes as evil and anti-immigrant.   Of course, live-in maids and nannies don’t vote, so the Liberal were quick to dismiss them and stand behind Ms. Dhalla.

Besides, anyone who’s ever walked through Westmount, Town of Mount-Royal, Hampstead and other Liberal strongholds in Québec between 9am and 5pm understands that any salary increase given to immigrant care-takers would seriously diminish the amount of disposable income these constituants would have for things like campaign donations.

People in Rosemont and Blainville, on the other hand,  can’t afford that kind of help, even the imported discounted kind.  That’s probably why the Bloc Québécois (with the NDP elsewhere in Canada) has been the only party actively working for the rights of these workers way back before this latest scandal made the issue sexy and politically lucrative and why they’ve  had the abolition of these discriminatory rules in their political platform since 2000.

This of course is surely only a cynical ploy to win over the nanny vote to their treasonneaous seccession projects.

You know, that horrible Republic of Québec that will treat immigrants and minorities like second class citizens that the Liberal Party is trying to protect you from…

Written by angryfrenchguy

May 18, 2009 at 7:08 pm

101 Responses

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  1. “I don’t find it to be particularly graceful either, but if there is a lesson to be learned it is that if you’re gonna live be the sword, you’re gonna die by the sword.”

    I can abide by that rule. But in this precise case, we are talking about an individual deserving of criminal charges, versus some lines of thought that are often perceived as politically acceptable when it comes to preserving our culture.

    An eye for an eye…? If you must, then it would probably still be a good idea not to compare apples to oranges. Then again, I just think there are perception problems on both sides…


    May 20, 2009 at 4:19 pm

  2. Gosh, it would be nice to see migrant farmworkers covered under workers comp, not only in Québec, but elsewhere.

    The problem is that agriculture is a competitive business like any other. If, say, Québec potato farmers had to contribute to a workers’ comp fund, the resulting increase in the cost of their produce would almost certainly render it uncompetitive—even in the local market—with Maine potatoes, which are harvested mostly by indocumentados who don’t even have access to police protection, let alone workers’ comp. This whole business is bigger than the PQ, PLQ, or any other Q.

    johnnyonline—I would agree with you that Canada’s record in dealing with migrant workers is generally better than ours here in the US, although that is faint praise indeed. I have an acquaintance who is an “indocumentado” former migrant farmworker, and the picture he paints of life on a truck farm isn’t pretty.


    May 20, 2009 at 4:55 pm

  3. For the record I certainly meant to turn this issue into a Liberal v. indépendantiste issue, but I fail to see how I made it a language issue.

    I sincerely believe those the biggest political losers in Canada are the anglos and minorities who lose all political power by being blackmailed/scared/suckered into the Big Red Clientelism Machine so a handful of rich white guys, be they French or English, can keep their privileges.

    I say freedom for my brothers…


    May 20, 2009 at 5:48 pm

  4. Those thoughts on the Big Red Bamboozle bring to mind some observations of Warren Kinsella’s on the Iggy ascendancy(

    For more than a decade, the [Etobicoke-Lakeshore] riding had been ably represented by Jean Augustine – an honest, respected woman of colour who would have easily won re-election in 2006. But last week, as Ms. Augustine cried in the national Liberal caucus, disbelieving Members of Parliament learned that she was “stepping aside.” Having endured nearly two years of bullying by Paul Martin’s aides, few believed that Ms. Augustine was doing so willingly.

    This week, Liberals in Etobicoke-Lakeshore witnessed the astonishing spectacle of hard-working local Grits being excluded from the process – literally denied entry to party headquarters, whilst Mr. Martin’s minions inside ignored their pleas to open the doors. And, shortly thereafter, the locked-out Liberals learned in the media that Ms. Augustine’s successor had already been decided – a white man and foreign resident named Michael Ignatieff.

    The Globe and Mail and a few members of Toronto’s brie-and-chardonnay chattering classes have been championing Mr. Ignatieff for many months, now, talking him up as a successor to Mr. Martin. Despite the fact that Mr. Ignatieff has not lived in Canada for more than two decades – despite the fact he supports George W. Bush’s illegal war in Iraq, opposition to which remains one of Jean Chrétien’s most popular legacies – Mr. Martin and his bunkered circle of advisors were undeterred.

    Sans commentaire…


    May 20, 2009 at 7:34 pm

  5. agreed. not pretty. not fun. certainly not lucrative.

    and it’s not praise i’m trying to pass on (faint or otherwise) – just trying for some perspective.

    temporary/migrant workers want something when they leave home. things might be less than ideal if they risk a big adventure with expectations of improving their lives. and it must be a terrible surprise if conditions are not only no better but actually worse than conditions they travelled so far from. that’s out and out bad luck.

    maybe they’re in trouble back home – maybe they heard cousin so-and-so (who left for america 15 years ago) is driving a car… or maybe they’re just adventurous or looking for love (as in a spouse).

    but i am interested in knowing if things in life have improved for your acquaintance, because i’m interested in knowing if a line could be drawn connecting improved circumstances now (if that is so) and poor circumstances then.

    your point on labour / economics is true and harsh – not something that’s going to go away soon. a gordian knot, eh?


    May 20, 2009 at 9:05 pm

  6. love that retro graphic in the right hand column for may 24 agf.

    is there a fee to sign up for the blue panthers?


    May 20, 2009 at 9:11 pm

  7. ah! the ups and downs of politics. splendid theatre no?

    i’m no fan of the count or special k, but rumours suggest that his political fortunes are changing – some have suggested he’s as nervous as a cat in a room full of rocking chairs.


    May 20, 2009 at 9:24 pm

  8. johnny—Luis, I will call him, is still not a legal resident here (and won’t ever be unless an amnesty is proclaimed), and so has to deal with all of the issues that implies (no bank account, minimal or no police protection, the possibility that if he makes an enemy that enemy will turn him in to the INS, etc.).

    Luis comes from a lower middle class background in Mexico City, and I think that part of the reason he came here is that he knocked up a girl. He was educated through high school level; they did teach him English but his command of the language is so poor that I use my not very competent Spanish with him. He works in a warehouse now, doing a little bit of everything; hard work but a step up in every way from farm work. Still and all, he has a hard row to hoe here, to use a farm-related cliché.


    May 20, 2009 at 9:59 pm

  9. Has it ever occurred to any of you that the lives of the temporary workers are improved by coming here and working in seasonal vocations. I have an associate who is in the tree nursery business who employs a number of people from Mexico. They come in the spring, he pays the transport, as well as medical expenses when needed, provides very suitable accomodation and pays what would be considered a very good wage (minimum wage plus a couple of bucks to ensure they return the next year) by their standards.

    Its not all bad considering what they take home at the end of the season in comparison with what they would receive in their own country.

    Perhaps my associate is more generous than others from what I read on this blog.

    On Ruby, well, she is a politician after all…what could one expect. Of course, there will be an inquiry and it will come down to the usual spin.

    Do you not think that the politicians on all sides look out for each other in matters such as this.

    Don’t be naive!


    May 20, 2009 at 10:05 pm

  10. abp,

    how could you “turn this issue into a Liberal v. indépendantiste” thing with such an ordinary canadian – “no bad guys” story.

    besides your associate is probably a conservative. =:-)


    May 20, 2009 at 10:30 pm

  11. I have always known that the Bloc (and the PQ) fight the good fight on certain issues, but it’s exactly that they do on *some* issues that make their myopia about other issues so distressing.


    May 20, 2009 at 11:04 pm

  12. Esti que y’a des commentaires dégueulasses ici.


    May 21, 2009 at 10:02 am

  13. Here! Here!

    (and not always there! there!)


    May 21, 2009 at 11:13 am

  14. Of course it is not all bad, otherwise nobody would come.
    But when there is abuse, when it gets bad, it is our responsibility as citizens of so-called civilized nations to correct and prevent those wrongs.

    All this equivocation about market forces is rubbish. The high price of meat cannot justify cannibalism.


    May 21, 2009 at 11:21 am

  15. Can you give examples of these issues ?


    May 21, 2009 at 1:04 pm

  16. How did you guess…?


    May 21, 2009 at 1:15 pm

  17. I have a few: manipulation, fear mongering, paranoia, obsession, Gilles Duceppe’s face, childish whining, and in the case of BQ – hypocrisy (a separatist party in Ottawa, money’s power over principles)


    May 21, 2009 at 3:35 pm

  18. I have a few: manipulation, fear mongering, paranoia, obsession,…

    look who’s talking:

    If Quebec were to separate, we allos and anglos would be screwed regardless of who is head of state. We’d all have to pack up and jet.


    April 29, 2009 at 8:35 am


    May 21, 2009 at 7:33 pm

  19. And?

    Can’t I have my own paranoia? I’m not using it to win votes like the Bloc or the Republicans. Or making money off of it like Ignatieff and Brule.


    May 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm

  20. Ce ne sont pas la des exemples de politiques qui pourraient vous deplaire: ce ne sont que des propos meprisants ou vous tentez d’accoler des problemes de comportements a des politiciens: votre intervention n’est pas intelligente et vous avez ete incapable de repondre a la question de Kriss, pas plus que Donder


    May 21, 2009 at 11:31 pm

  21. “Ce ne sont pas la des exemples de politiques qui pourraient vous deplaire: ce ne sont que des propos meprisants ou vous tentez d’accoler des problemes de comportements a des politiciens: votre intervention n’est pas intelligente et vous avez ete incapable de repondre a la question de Kriss, pas plus que Donder”

    Pouvez-vous parler blanc, mon ami, je suis desole, je ne comprends pas la langue etrangere pour moi. ;)

    Apres tout, le blogue est un anglais, n’est pas.

    Pour quoi le francais.. Je sais tu comprendez la anglais.


    May 21, 2009 at 11:57 pm

  22. As i ever said, i am not enough confortable in english to write all my post in your white language. By the way, i was not able to have a beer with you last weekend because i had to work all the nights. Sorry for this..
    I remember this sentence in SHINING:


    May 22, 2009 at 1:12 am

  23. So it’s the Bloc that’s responsible for our shitty roads?!?


    May 22, 2009 at 6:09 am

  24. It was pretty cold and windy for beer on the patios of the plateau…. mais “tu as raison” avec tout travail sans jouer. peut-etre possible la prochaine fois que je visiter a’ Montreal.

    Tu ecrivez tout le french que tu voulez. Je besoin beacoup pratique avec le francais. Comme Je decouverte quand ma denier fois en Montreal.


    May 22, 2009 at 10:26 am

  25. Of course we all understand that Jean Chrétien’s canadian flags and Denis Coderre’s deep philosophical insights on federalism and identity have saved Québec’s minorities from massive extermination, Côte-Nord work-camps and the outlawing of skintones by the devious Parti Québécois which has been using progressive ideas and modern definitions of nationhood for over 30 years, now, to better hide its true neo-nazi nature.

    But what have the Liberal party EVER done FOR minorities. Really. Anything?


    May 22, 2009 at 4:28 pm

  26. mais bon, there is always the old adage:
    if at first you do not secede – then try , try again.

    i’m up for that – or down on that.

    as the guest – name a time and place – forget the rsvp – i’ll be there. as long as bending elbows is an idiom, the particulars of language are not that important. communication would be ideal.


    May 22, 2009 at 9:44 pm

  27. merci


    May 22, 2009 at 11:20 pm

  28. very thoughtful and interesting post: i wish there was more discussion centred on these issues than on the alleged political machinations behind ms. dhalla’s downfall. (also, the photo is pretty funny.)


    May 23, 2009 at 9:35 am

  29. Have you heard the new song Gilles Vigneault wrote? It was inspired by Stephen Harper’s resolution in the House of Commons calling Quebec a nation within Canada:

    “mons pays ce n’est pas un pays, c’est une motion parlementaire”


    May 23, 2009 at 11:19 am

  30. Well put!
    “Fail and you have everyone’s sympathies. Secede and you’re on your own.”


    May 24, 2009 at 4:32 am

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