Stephen Maher, Chronicle Herald (Halifax), November 24, 2009
If anyone ever stops Nova Scotia farmers from hiring migrant labourers to harvest their crops, they would destroy a lot of businesses because unemployed Nova Scotians don’t want those jobs, says Gerald Keddy, the Conservative MP for South Shore-St. Margarets.
“Nova Scotians won’t do it–all those no-good bastards sitting on the sidewalk in Halifax that can’t get work,” Mr. Keddy said Monday.
He said if you want to “shut down the Annapolis Valley, and every market garden operation and all the apple industry, then don’t bring in immigrant labour. We’ve got 20 Christmas tree growers using immigrant labour this year.”
Mr. Keddy was upset that a reporter called to check out a rumour that he had hired migrant labourers to work on his Christmas tree operation.
“Why would the question be asked?” he said. “Why would it matter?”
Mr. Keddy has an eight-hectare Christmas tree operation, which he runs with his kids. They don’t bring in any migrant labourers, but Mr. Keddy said nobody should criticize farmers who do because “they can’t get enough local labour.”
It’s also great for the workers from out of the country, he said. “They pay the guys 10 or 12 bucks an hour. It’s a great job for the Mexicans. They’ve got to pay either their way up or their way back. It’s not slave labour here.”