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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

What was said about government's overhaul of temporary foreign workers program

OTTAWA - Quotes related to the announcement Friday of long-awaited changes to the temporary foreign workers program:

"We are overhauling the program today to ensure that we put Canadians first, that the temporary foreign worker program is only used as a last and limited resort, that Canadians always come first, that employers redouble their efforts to hire Canadians for available jobs and to ensure that this program works in the best interest of the Canadian economy." — Employment Minister Jason Kenney at a news conference announcing the changes.

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"We will improve transparency and accountability and clarity by reorganizing the program along common-sense lines." — Kenney.

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"The good news is that these changes acknowledge that the program is broken; the bad news is they do far too little to actually fix it." — NDP MP Pat Martin reacting to the changes.

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"The minister of employment wears everything that is wrong with the temporary foreign worker program like some big stinking albatross around his neck. Now, at the eleventh hour, he wants to 'put lipstick on a pig' — not to mix metaphors — on the very day that we adjourn for the summer. He knows that not a single temporary foreign worker should be working in this country if there is a single qualified Canadian available for that work." — Martin in question period in the Commons before the changes were made public.

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"Their changes aren't actually making sure employers hire Canadians first or protecting temporary foreign workers from abuse." — NDP immigration critic Jinny Sims.

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"I do not think that they have solved this problem." — Liberal immigration critic John McCallum.

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"If the government is serious about enforcement against worker abuse, they should enlist the help of the provinces." — McCallum.

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"The government ought to have created more robust pathways to permanent residence." — McCallum.

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"Today's announcements are bad news for migrant workers. Migrant workers are still employed under an indentured system where they work without voice, without rights and without protections." — Chris Ramsaroop of the Migrant Workers Alliance for Change.

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