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Sep
09 2011

"Foreign Workers"

Syndicated from: Steve Paikin

It might have been five minutes into what was a billed as a major speech by Ontario PC Leader Tim Hudak today, in which he used the expression that threatens to take over this election campaign.   Ever since the Liberals introduced a plan to subsidize the hiring of skilled, new immigrants, to help them get more on-the-job experience, the PC's have demonized the idea as "affirmative action for foreign workers."   Five minutes into today's speech, Hudak was criticizing the Liberals again, accusing them of pandering to the ethnic vote by offering the subsidy for "foreign workers."   But the Conservatives clearly believe the Grits have made a mistake. They've turned around some quick radio ads to blast the plan.   For their part, the Liberals are accusing the PC's of being xenophobic, politically targeting new immigrants in order to solidify their rural base and chip away at the Liberals' dominance in suburban ridings.   Could this turn into the 2011 campaign's Number One wedge issue? Obviously, we'll keep tracking this to see. In 2007, then PC leader John Tory's efforts to extend public funding to faith based schools turned into THE election issue, to the Tories' dismay.   Have the Liberals overreached in trying to help immigrants and attract their votes? Has the Conservative response been too xenophobic, or does it merely reflect the view that employment programs ought to be colour-blind?   A great debate, which we'll have on The Agenda in the days ahead.      

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