Anxieties and Exclusion in the British Garden of Eden: Examining Narratives of Belonging, Work, and Temporary Foreign Labour in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia
Edwin Hodge | BIG Research Reports | #52
The Okanagan valley is an arid region in the British Columbia interior, famous for its climate, agriculture, and tourist destinations. It is a region with a ling history of employing racialized labour throughout its economy. Historically that labour has come from Indigenous, Chinese or Japanese populations, but in recent years the region has made heavy use of workers drawn from states throughout the Global South to augment the region’s domestic labour pool. This most recent round of foreign labour migration into the Okanagan has renewed regional anxieties about the presence if racialized bodies in a region of British Columbia known for its disproportionately white population, and illustrated a historical tension between the national borders that enclose the Okanagan, and the cultural borders maintained by its residents. Through archival analysis and key informant interviews, this study illustrates the ways that contemporary anxieties about the presence of foreign labour exists as part of a larger historical pattern of exclusion and xenophobia, and the ways in which the Temporary Foreign Worker program highlights tensions between state and cultural borders.