The B.C. Federation of Labour president has asked for an apology from Premier Christy Clark after the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training Pat Bell made a statement said that HD Mining did not follow its duties to fully hire Canadians.
"The public needs to have confidence that any jobs that are allowed to be taken by, particularly temporary workers I think there is a difference between that and immigrants, need to truly be unfillable by British Columbians and by Canadians and that has clearly not been the case here and we have all learned that,” Bell was quoted by a Vancouver radio station as saying on Wednesday.
However, in a fact sheet issued by his department last October, it was said that it was a myth that "British Columbians are not being provided an opportunity for future underground mining jobs of this kind."
It went on to cite the federal government's process requiring employers to demonstrate efforts made to hire Canadians for the job as a "fact" to back up this claim.
He was also quoted as saying to CKNW that HD Mining had "undergone an exhaustive search" for these employees.
"In light of Minister Bell's acknowledgement that process was not followed here, and that Canadians have lost confidence in the Temporary Foreign Worker program, the federal government must make its review public," said B.C. Federation of Labour President Jim Sinclair in a release issued on Thursday. "And in this specific case, there must be a full and open review of HD Mining's specific application for these temporary workers."
He also said that Christy Clark should apologize to the hundreds of qualified Canadians who the union said applied for and were unfairly rejected for these jobs.
Sinclair went on to say that Bell and Clark's comments showed a deep lack of respect for British Columbians and their skills.
Currently, labour unions are battling with HD Mining over the company's plan to use temporary foreign workers for their proposed Murray River coal mine project.