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After the elections
The Liberal Party of Canada has again won a minority government. Though Parliament looks very similar to what it did before the election was called, there are both opportunities and dangers that we must all respond to.
Already, Canada’s lobby group for rich corporations (Canadian Chamber of Commerce) is calling for more money for the rich, and more temporary immigrants for bosses to exploit. In the next few weeks, Canada’s political parties can choose to focus on cutting back spending and public services, and allow racism to continue to grow, or they can support a more just recovery from COVID-19 that includes everyone, particularly Indigenous people, working class people, women, racialized people, migrants, poor, queer and disabled communities.
What they do is up to us.
Send a message right now calling for Parliament to focus on a recovery from COVID-19 that ensures justice for all of us.
None of the political parties got what they wanted in this election. The Liberal party was not able to get a majority of seats, and the Conservatives, the New Democratic Party, and the Green Party expected a much better result than they got. There is a danger that political parties may choose to focus on internal problems, like changing party leaders, instead of on fixing the problems the majority of us are facing right now. Politicians may choose to do little to play it safe.
The Conservative Party gained more votes (though they didn’t win the most seats), and the right-wing populist People’s Party of Canada also doubled its vote count. The Liberal Party and the NDP might think that this means they should abandon their more progressive ideas and push more conservative ones instead, so that they can win back some of those votes in the future.
Our job right now therefore is to insist on courageous and transformative action rather than allow political parties to either do nothing or to slash supports and rights for working class people.
There is no time to lose. In a matter of weeks, many emergency income supports created during COVID will be cut off. Politicians will start to sound the alarm about deficits and COVID spending, demanding cuts everywhere. Low-waged people will have nowhere to turn, even as a fourth wave of COVID-19 rages on, particularly in Alberta. The clock is ticking on climate change and Canada is lagging behind. This election has also seen the coming together of those opposing vaccines and violent racists, who now feel more bold. A Punjabi migrant student was murdered in Nova Scotia just two weeks ago. This racism must be confronted.
Liberal minority governments have historically meant more progressive action can be pushed through Parliament. With the New Democratic Party’s support, the Liberal Party has enough votes to pass any law. Liberal promises are a mixed bag – some good, some bad. But a strong public push on the streets, and raising our voices on social and mainstream media, can push the NDP and the Liberals to do the right thing.
Most political parties promised a “path to permanence” during the elections. This is a response to migrants organizing to show that without permanent resident status it is not possible to have basic rights. But this solution is wrong. Pathways means people come, live, and work in Canada in dangerous and difficult conditions, with an uncertain hope of ever getting equal rights through citizenship. A “path to permanence” is continued exploitation. We instead demand full and permanent status immediately.
Parties also promised a $15 federal minimum wage, 10 paid sick days, $10 a day childcare, pharmacare and action on Indigenous concerns, racism, housing, climate and global justice. The Migrant Rights Network calls for immediate implementation of these measures in a way that includes all migrants and under the leadership of movements who are fighting on these issues.
We win what we have the power to win.
Migrants win when we unite with others like us and take brave action for justice. The Migrant Rights Network will support migrants to get organized – get in touch with us! Migrants also win when we unite with others struggling for justice – Indigenous people, labour and student unions, gender justice and queer movements, anti-poverty and disability rights movements, and climate justice organizations. The Migrant Rights Network calls on all such movements to unite and push for better.
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