Microsoft builds bridges from Redmond to Richmond, and through bogs

CTV News ran a happy-feely story about employees of the recently established Microsoft development centre in Richmond giving back to the community by building a boardwalk through a bog. Wearing shirts stating “MCDC Cares”, the ‘Softies work diligently while the reporter pokes fun at the idea of tech workers performing manual labour. The story makes light of the “very diverse backgrounds” of the employees, but doesn’t address why this is. They list off Columbia, Pakistan, Egypt, France, South Africa, and Guatemala as countries of origin, showing that Microsoft has succeeded in using the Canadian office to import international talent that was previously limited by the United States’ restrictive immigration policies. To be clear, this new facility isn’t just another satellite office of the Redmond behemoth; this is 80,000 square feet, 700 people (when complete), and one of only a handful of development centres outside Microsoft HQ. Some may complain of companies like Microsoft are using Canada’s liberal immigration policies to abuse cheap labour and scam local markets. I can’t take those arguments seriously for two reasons: BC continues to report record low unemployment, and we haven’t all lost our jobs to offshoring as we were told in the earlier part of the decade. Welcome to Metro Vancouver, Microsofties, come on out to some events sometime and say hi.