A recent poll showed that 63% of residents believe that Canada should limit immigration, even though the majority of migrants are coming on temporary permits with few rights.
Many of our neighbours, colleagues and family members are being convinced by anti-immigrant ideas. It is crucial that they hear from people they know and trust that these anti-immigrant messages are not a solution to our problems but a strategy to distract and divide us. It is crucial that they hear from you.
When you take the pledge at www.migrantrights.ca you will get tools and tips to help you have these conversations with people in your life. And once the election campaigning starts, we will send you regular bulletins with talking points you can use to respond to the latest anti-immigrant messages your friends and families may be hearing in the news and from politicians.
We know this is not an easy ask. So, here’s a step-by-step guide:
(1) Listen: Start by listening, and asking questions to identify what feelings are underlying their beliefs. While the specific points may vary, most racist anti-immigrant ideas at their root are motivated by scarcity (there isn’t enough for everyone), law and order (I follow the rules but others do not), or fear (someone is out to get me and my family). Identify the motivating feeling so that you can engage with it.
(2) Acknowledge: Most of us feel anxious about our future and our children’s future. Acknowledge that and highlight how most of us share this anxiety. Then point out how the people responsible for our low wages, high cost of living, and climate change are the rich and corporations, not migrants.
(3) New facts: Changing people’s minds is largely about values and feelings. But facts are useful too. Share facts about the realities of immigration or the economy, while also talking about why these are not the facts we usually hear and whose interests are served by that. We have lots of resources on our website, and we will be sending you useful facts regularly between now and the election once you sign the pledge at www.migrantrights.ca.
(4) Solidarity: It’s important to paint a vision of collective struggle that includes all of us as workers, irrespective of immigration status. Talk about how we can all have decent work, universal services, permanent status and fully rights, and a world free of discrimination and displacement if we work together, and the rich pay their fair share.
The only way to do this is to try. So call up that friend, family member, or co-worker who is falling prey to racist and anti-immigrant ideas and have a conversation. Test out these steps and let us know what worked – email firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember: it will take more than one conversation. But we can stop the rise of xenophobia, one conversation at a time.
Together we can win:
- DECENT WORK: $15 minimum wage, full labour rights for all, and no employer specific or time limited work permits.
- UNIVERSAL SERVICES: Quality public services including healthcare, education, income security, childcare, settlement services, pensions, and pharmacare for all.
- STATUS FOR ALL, STATUS NOW: Permanent resident status for all migrants and refugees here, and landed status on arrival for those who come in the future. No detentions, no deportations!
- JUSTICE FOR ALL: Indigenous self-determination, gender justice, and an end to racism, particularly anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.
- NO DISPLACEMENT: An end to practices that force people to migrate including climate change, wars, corporate impunity, and economic exploitation.