“Foreigners” doing jobs most Canadians won’t

I have to respond to the letter from John Thorgrimson in the June 3 edition with the title "Living and working in Canada"

Dear Editor:

I have to respond to the letter from John Thorgrimson in the June 3 edition with the title “Living and working in Canada”

Looking at your name Mr. Thorgrimson, I assume it originates from Scandinavia. So that means at one point in time, one of your ancestors gathered his courage and moved to a strange and far away continent called North America.

And years and years later you’re fortunate enough to call yourself Canadian.

I expected a letter like yours since the “recession” started. I knew someone would start to share his opinion about “foreign” workers.

I’ve been thinking already for a couple of weeks to share my opinion too. Let me tell you a little anecdote..

Like many locals I like to pick up a cup of coffee at the Tim Hortons. But I can tell you there is just a different attitude between Tim Hortons locations were Filipinos work and were they do not.

Every time when I pick up a coffee in the southside Timmy’s in Wetaskiwin I am greeted in a very polite way by a person who actually smiles at you and is courteous and wishes you a good day when you leave, and this person happens to be Filipino. (The other “local” ladies are really good too.)

Not like the experience I usually have in a Tim Hortons at a different location where people do not greet you and have an attitude that they really do not care about their job or the customer, show not a spark of happiness and are sometimes are plain rude in your face.

I think we all know the reason behind your comment that you only see “foreign” people working in fast food restaurants — it’s because many (not all) locals are too lazy, too proud tow whatever to do this kind of work.

Lots of locals (not all) have lost the work ethic that is needed to get a job and keep a job. When the oil was booming nobody wanted to do the work these people do. And now that the oil patch has slowed down a bit we have time on our hands to complain about “foreign” people.

Well let me tell you this, I’m a foreigner too. And how did I get here? On a hard earned visa. I had to show my diplomas/degrees, criminal record, show that I had sufficient funds to survive for a year, do medical tests. Foreigners have to go through the mill and wait anxiously for a year before you found out if you’re allowed to stay or that you have to go home, say goodbye to all the friends you’ve made in the meantime.

And why was I allowed to emigrate to Canada? Because there was a shortage for dairy farm workers, because there wasn’t anybody around who wanted to work on a dairy farm. I still hear the comments from some co-workers I used to work with (off farm). Dairy farm work, oh man are you crazy get up at four in the morning and be with cows and their smell and poop, work hard all day and start all over again the next day

And many of the dairy farms I worked for or know are “foreigners” too: Swiss, German, Dutch, Austrian even a British one.

And you know what, some of them brought a fair amount of money into this country; money that has been invested in this economy.

Barns were being built pickup trucks and tractors and other farm equipment were purchased. All that foreign money created a lot of jobs. Lots of people made money off the foreign farmers and did well.

I have some questions for you Mr. Thorgrimson.

Are you willing to work in a fast food restaurant? Are you willing to do the night shift at the drive-thru. Are you willing to clean the toilets of the Calgary International Airport. Are you willing to get up at three in the morning and milk cows at 4 a.m.

It’s really easy to complain when economic times are challenging you.

I can go on and on, but in short I want to say, we all need each other. Your forefather was a “foreigner,” I am a foreigner and there will be many more foreigners.

Canada is made up out of foreigners, but if we all have the right attitude we should be able to get along and work honestly for a living.

Ferdinand Harkema