The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.
Opinion

Chinese Temp Miners, Pawns of Racism

BC kills jobs by importing foreign coal diggers. Will it kill workers too?

By Bill Tieleman 16 Oct 2012 | TheTyee.ca

Bill Tieleman is a regular Tyee contributor who writes a column on B.C. politics every Tuesday in 24 Hours newspaper. E-mail him at weststar@telus.net or visit his blog.

"China has the world's deadliest coal mine industry, with 1,973 miners killed in accidents last year." -- Associated Press, Sept. 25, 2012

Premier Christy Clark has decided to kill British Columbia jobs by importing up to 2,000 coal miners from China -- the world's deadliest coal producer.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper has already started signing their temporary foreign workers visas, but will they also be death warrants for some of those miners?

It's the wrong decision in every imaginable way.

And it feels like yet another outbreak of racism against Chinese workers that has plagued British Columbia since the gold rush in the 1860s brought the first wave of labourers from China.

BC's history of exploiting foreign workers

Racism? Yes. Up to 2,000 Chinese temporary foreign workers at as many as four mines with heavy Chinese investment will be paid less than Caucasian or other workers of different ethnic origins in the mining industry.

That's one big reason why they're coming here -- because underground machinery mechanics will be paid $25 to $32 an hour according to one coal company's job ads -- rather than Canadian mining industry rates of up to more than double that.

The Chinese workers will live in isolated camps at the underground mines in northeast B.C., just as in previous centuries.

Like their predecessors in the 1870s who came to work in B.C. coal mines, they will not have a vote in this country.

And like 6,500 Chinese workers brought to Canada to construct the CPR railroad through the mountains from 1880 to 1885 where at least 600 of them died on the job, they will also be doing some of the most dangerous work in the world.

In one decade, 50,174 Chinese miners killed

The U.S. Mine Rescue Association says 50,174 coal miners have died in China just between 2001 and 2011, based on official numbers.

The association even keeps a ghoulish China Mine Disaster Watch page online that shows 411 dead and 124 missing so far in 2012 and eight dead and seven missing just in October.

Then there's the sad likelihood of a racially-motivated backlash against these Chinese workers for taking away jobs from Canadians, as the use of other temporary foreign workers as cheap labour has already done.

Safe for whom?

Clark actually had the nerve to announce one of these metallurgical coal mine projects last November as part of her vaunted "B.C. Jobs Plan" without saying the jobs were mostly for temporary foreign workers, not British Columbians.

"British Columbia is a safe place for Chinese investment," gushed a Clark government news release.

It's safe for Chinese investment but definitely not safe for Chinese workers.

And it's wrong in every way.  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.

LATEST STORIES

The Barometer

Tyee Poll: What Is One Art or Design Skill You Wish to Learn?

Take this week's poll