National Media Contacts (local contacts listed below):
EN: Syed Hussan, 416 453 3632, email@example.com
FR: Karen Cocq, 647-9708464, firstname.lastname@example.org
Actions today on the International Day for the Elimination of Racism in Montreal (10am, 200 Rene Levesque) Halifax (4:30pm, Halifax Convention Centre), Toronto (5:30pm, City Hall) and Vancouver (6:30pm, 350 West Georgia). Actions in over a dozen cities this week updated here: https://migrantrights.ca/en/march21/
Canada – Actions are taking place in over a dozen cities this week from Halifax to Vancouver as part of the launch of the Migrant Rights Network, a new cross-Canada alliance to demand pro-migrant, anti-racist laws and policies, including permanent residence status for all. The Migrant Rights Network’s formation, in advance of the federal elections, has been given added urgency after the white supremacist attacks in New Zealand that left at least 50 Muslims dead.
“After decades of job loss, wage stagnation and service cuts, people across the country are increasingly worried about the future. Politicians are responding to this fear, not by raising wages or expanding public services, but by demonizing migrants and refugees,” says Syed Hussan from Migrant Workers Alliance for Change in Toronto. “This divisiveness has created a dangerous political environment, and must be stopped.”
Since the Quebec City Mosque shooting in 2017 that left 6 dead and served as a blueprint for the New Zealand shooter, police reported hate crimes have increased by 47% in Canada. At least 300 known white supremacist organizations are currently active across the country.
“CAQ won a majority after campaigning on an anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim platform. We will not allow federal political parties to repeat this disturbing and dangerous strategy,” says Niel La Dode from Immigrant Workers Centre in Montreal. “At the end of the day, we all want the same things: decent work, the ability to provide for our families, a life with dignity. The politicians and corporations who deny us these basic rights are the real problem, not migrants, not refugees, not undocumented people.”
Under current immigration policies, 700,000 people, over 70% of migrants who arrive in Canada each year, are shut out from basic services, such as healthcare and education, because of unfair temporary permits. This denial happens despite migrants and refugees paying for public services through municipal, sales and income taxes.
“The social safety net is being pulled away from us while corporations get massive tax cuts. Politicians want us fighting for scraps, and blaming immigrants for their economic mess. We can’t be distracted. We must demand the fundamental changes our communities need,” says Marco Luciano, of Migrante Canada from Edmonton.
The Migrant Rights Network is demanding permanent residence status for everyone, decent work and labour protections, universal access to social services, real gender and racial justice, and respect for indigenous self-determination. In addition, practices of displacement and persecution that force people to migrate including climate change, wars, corporate impunity and economic exploitation, need to be eradicated.
“Indigenous and racialized people suffer at every turn because of the systemic racism reflected in Canadian laws and policies. We do not want piecemeal reforms. It is time for fundamental changes,” says Stacey Gomez from Halifax. “No matter what issue you are concerned about, uniting against racism right now is our most urgent task.”
Women of colour continue to earn far less than white men. Black and Indigenous communities are unfairly targeted by police and imprisonment.
“Decisions made in Canada have directly led to the escalation of the climate crisis, political instability and the global displacement of peoples. We all have a moral responsibility to stop the Canadian government and corporations to continue profiting from unsafe mining, arms exports, and fossil fuel extraction,” says Chris Sorio from Migrante BC in Vancouver. “
Led by grassroots migrant and refugee groups, civil society organizations and labour unions, Migrant Rights Network will counter fake news about Canada’s immigration system and coordinate a national dialogue to create a Platform for Racial and Migrant Justice ahead of the federal election. All social, environmental and labour groups in Canada are invited to participate in this process.
Following the March 21 #UniteAgainstRacism mobilization, actions are also called for May 1, 2019 (International Workers Day); June 16, 2019 (Father’s Day & International Domestic Workers Day); and September 2, 2019 (Labour Day).
Upcoming #UniteAgainstRacism actions. Week of Action March 17 – 24.
More actions are being announced everyday, visit https://migrantrights.ca/en/march21/ for the latest listing.
March 21, 2019
HALIFAX – 4:30pm, Halifax Convention Centre
Stacey Gomez, 902-999-4458
MONTREAL – 10am, 200 Rene Levesque
Niel La Dode, 438-505-4820; Viviana Carol Velazquez, 514-342-2111
TORONTO – 5:30pm, Nathan Phillips Square
Syed Hussan, 416-453-3632
VANCOUVER – 6:30pm, Alma VanDusen Room, 350 West Georgia Street
Chris Perry Sorio, 416-828-0441
March 23, 2019
LETHBRIDGE – 12pm, City Hall
EDMONTON – 6pm, 11834 Kingsway Avenue – Note this event is a fundraiser
Marco Luciano, 780-966-5908
March 24, 2019
MONTREAL – 2pm, Saint-Laurent Station
Safa Chebbi, 438-497-4243
OTTAWA – 2pm, 166 Frank Street
Aimee Beboso, 613-255-1921
Migrant and racial justice organizations are coming together as the Migrant Rights Network to intervene in an increasingly divisive and alarmingly dangerous political environment.
THE MIGRANT RIGHTS NETWORK DEMANDS
STATUS FOR ALL, STATUS NOW: Permanent resident status and family unity for all migrants and refugees here, and landed status on arrival for those that arrive in the future. Replace Caregiver “pilot project” with a Federal Care Workers Program that provides landed status upon entry for Care Workers and their families. No detentions, no deportations!
DECENT WORK: $15 minimum wage, full labour rights and no employer specific or time limited work permits.
UNIVERSAL SERVICES: Full access to quality public services including healthcare, education, income security, childcare settlement services, pensions, and more for all residents.
JUST SOCIETY: Indigenous self-determination, gender justice, and an end to racism, particularly anti-Black racism and Islamophobia.
NO DISPLACEMENT: An end to practices of displacement and persecution that force people to migrate including climate change, wars, corporate impunity and economic exploitation.