This newspaper made a blunder two weeks ago in not making it abundantly clear that the controversy surrounding the alleged abuse of foreign employees centres around a Tim Hortons restaurant in Fernie, not in Invermere.
The supposedly unscrupulous owner of that location is not at all connected with local Tim Hortons owners Kurt and Bethany Taylor, who have a glowing reputation in this community. The pair, who’ve owned the store for two years, donate to almost any good cause that seeks their support, are backers of local minor hockey, and recently pitched in $500 for typhoon relief in the Philippines.
The Fernie situation is far from the first instance of a foreign worker being mistreated under the federal Temporary Foreign Worker program, which was conceived as a short-term solution to what’s become a long-term issue.
Go back 20 years and imagine the surprised reaction you’d get when informing someone that in 2013, Canada would have 330,000 temporary foreign workers, here in order to fill entry-level jobs that the roughly 1.4 million jobless Canadians don’t seem to want.
This paper’s apparent lack of diligence stems from a problem facing 21st century media: weekly newspapers have no chance of keeping pace with online-only media when it comes to developing stories. We know that, and wrongly assumed our readers would turn to Google to find out more about this story.
A few readers mistakenly assumed we were making a veiled reference to our local restaurant, without saying so directly.
This error of omission caused quite a misunderstanding. As a newspaper that covers provincial court on a regular basis, our approach is to hold off on naming names until charges have been laid.
That said, we hope Santa still finds room in our stockings for a pound or two of coffee, a commodity that’s always in high demand here at the Valley Echo.
As far as we know, Santa is a man of justice, and one who appreciates journalism that shines a light in dark places. And we’ll just skip right over the question of what international labour agreements jolly old Saint Nick might be using to retain his elven North Pole workforce.
What matters, as always, is the content of one’s character. So take the time this holiday season to enjoy the company of your family and friends, forget your grudges, and appreciate the bounty of life in the beautiful Columbia Valley.