The Alberta government, through the CIFFC, contracted 300 of the cheapest firefighters they could possibly get.
Everyone made a big deal out of these cheerful South African firefighters, who sang and danced upon their arrival at the airport. Hooray! How cool is that?
No one has said much about the fact that these firefighters were hired as part of a South African government job creation program called “Working on Fire.” They may have only been hired shortly before their departure for Canada (they arrived on May 29).
Are they real firefighters? We can’t be sure.
Once here, the workers go on strike because of their wages, which are pathetic by the standards of a comfortable Albertan (about $4 an hour, or $50 per day). Now they might all be going home.
Premier Rachel Notley says they contracted to pay the firefighters $170 per day + food and lodgings.
So the South African government is exporting its welfare firefighters and taking $120 per day off the top for each one. They must think the Alberta government is a bunch of suckers.
Notley, who apparently thinks everyone should pay $15 minimum wage except when her government wants cheap African thralls to fight fires, says she is going to fix everything. She claims she will somehow ensure the South African firefighters get paid the appropriate Alberta wage (which is small fortune to them — each day will equal almost a month of the average firefighter wage back in their home country).
Since the firefighters are paid by the South African government, this means the Alberta government will have to give money to the South African government. It’s probably fair to think the South African government is still going to skim “a little” off the top.
The South African government tells us not to worry, because that $4 per hour wage is just an “allowance”, and their firefighters still get regular pay at home (average 2,400 rand, or about $205 per month). The welfare firefighters are double dipping!
We’ve heard of people applying the broken window fallacy to natural disasters: “This wildfire is pretty bad, but fixing things will boost our economy!” Even those people wouldn’t be so daft as to suggest it would boost another country’s economy.
Who would have thought that a wildfire in Fort McMurray would lead to foreign aid for South Africa, letting corrupt bureaucrats enrich themselves at the expense of the Alberta taxpayer?
— Read more at CBC.ca —