Statement made by HD Mining and the federal Conservative government has turned out to be untrue

Mark Olsen Letter in Today’s Sun: Union proud of its record, court case involving HD Mining

Re: Union attacks on HD Mining politically motivated, Opinion, Feb. 22

We read with disappointment and dismay, the op-ed piece by Mr. Penggui Yan of HD Mining.

We are very proud of our Union record in representing worker rights, including temporary foreign workers.

In the last five years, we won the largest human rights award in the history of Canada on behalf of the Central and South American workers on the Canada Line; we successfully represented workers from the Philippines exploited on a North Vancouver project by being housed six to a room and each charged $1,700; and we successfully represented 70 workers from Croatia on the Golden Ears Bridge Project, when the employer left Canada, leaving the workers high and dry. Our record is clear.

In the HD matter, the unions (CSWU Local 1611 (a.k.a. Labourers) and Operating Engineers Local 115), from the outset, have sought to confirm that the Temporary Foreign Worker process has been followed properly by HD Mining and the federal Conservative government.

During this federal court case, almost every statement made by HD Mining and the federal Conservative government has turned out to be untrue;

• Mandarin was a requirement of the job in an advertising.

• 300 Canadians applied for work on the Project, and there were qualified Canadian workers available.

• Room and pillar mining rather then long wall mining may be used.

• HD Mining is not planning to have a Canadian on the job for another 4.5 years, and an all Canadian crew until 14.5 years from now.

• The federal government does have the authority and obligation to ensure compliance.

The federal Conservative government has also acknowledged there were problems with HD’s application and that they are to review the process across Canada.

The unions will let the Canadian public decide who is telling the truth and who is on the right and proper side of this issue.

The federal Conservative government needs to review and change the current process; the HD Mining approvals need to be withdrawn; and dialogue between all the parties needs to happen, so this matter is settled in a mutually satisfactory way.

Mark Olsen, Business Manager/Secretary-Treasurer, CSWU LOCAL 1611