Justin Trudeau’s Montreal office (529 rue Jarry Est) was the venue for a demonstration under the banner of Solidarity Across Boarders.
“Ouvrez les frontières!” chanted attendees as a marching band played and people danced. Hot chocolate was served for all on the chilly Sunday afternoon of December 13th.
Amidst the fanfare, the demonstration was a serious call to the nascent Liberal government and their current stance on immigration and non-status workers living in Canada.
In light of Canada’s current acceptance of Syrian refugees, Solidarity Across Boarders is urging the government to take their immigration policies a step further. This includes the regularization of current non-status people who are working without documentation, further relaxation of immigration laws, and a halt to the arrest and detaining of already vulnerable individuals.
The rally was also held to denounce racism, in particular islamophobia that has contributed further resistance to immigration.
After a public address was made (some of which can be heard above), the rally marched over to rue Saint-Denis and down to Jean-Talon.
Among the speakers were representatives in support of non-status women living in Canada, and Mexicans united for regularisation.
In October of 2014, the 17 year old undocumented minor “Daniel” was deported from Canada, after the authorities detained him while visiting his friends at school. Kept in isolation from his family, Daniel was then sent back to Mexico to fend for himself within just over one week. One year later, we speak with Mary from Solidarity Across Borders about the campaign surrounding his case, as well as the broader issue of human rights for undocumented migrants living in Canada.
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On November 10th, on the other side of the main gates of McGill university, members of the “Coalition contre le travail précaire”, the 15plus.org campaign and many other political organizations in the community of Montreal united to protest the current minimum wage in Quebec. The current minimum wage is $10.55 in Quebec and the idea is to raise that to $15 for all workers regardless of their age, race, gender, job category, or immigration status.
Julien Daigneault, from 15plus.org, was present as the first spokesperson leading the speech. Participants encouraged passers by on Sherbrooke street to sign the petition to raise minimum wage to $15 an hour as the protest went on. It’s important to note that the campaign is fairly recent in Quebec, but several states in the USA as well as Alberta have succeeded in having mimimum wage raised to $15 an hour already. Several studies have shown that $15 an hour is the required minimum wage for an individual worker living alone in Montreal to lift themselves above the poverty line and escape debt.
This report was produced by Dinith Karunanayake for CKUT Radio.
On his 17th birthday last October, Daniel was separated from his family and deported alone to Mexico by the CBSA. Over the past 8 months, Solidarity Across Borders has been leading the effort to return Daniel to his family and community in Montreal. The campaign is now taking aim at the Quebec Minister of Immigration, demanding that Daniel be allowed to return and that the government introduce a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in regard to immigration status in public schools. CKUT’s David Zinman was at yesterday’s rally organized by Solidarity Across Borders in front of the office of the Immigration Minister.
Lalo, member of Fuerza/Puwersa was interviewed by CKUT member Anouk Millet. He came back on the criticism and gave more insight on the impacts of the bill on immigrants, located inside or outside Canada.
Since it passed in June 2014, Bill C-24 “Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act” has been very controversial. Many groups have opposed the bill from the very beginning. One of them being the British Columbia Civil Liberties Associations. The organization has recently put in place a petition to stop the bill and has issued a statement in which it reaffirms its commitment to challenging this new law in the courts.
CKUT member Anouk Millet talked to Josh Paterson, BCCLA’s executive director.
Despite formal recommendations from the ombudsman in Nov 2014, Quebec continues to exclude children with precarious immigration status from free access to education. January 30th 2015 was the date given to the Minister of Education to present a plan of action. To this day families of undocumented children continue to be forced to prove their status or pay $5000-$7000 fee for school. Last year the Ombudsperson made 6 recommendations to the Quebec government, which included the recommendation to change the regulation of the Law on Public Education that defines residency. This exclusion of children from school in Quebec violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights both of which Canada has signed. CKUT spoke with members of the Education Without Borders collective.