02 May 2006

Shameful Deterioration

Two members of my department at OISE, Prof. Shahrzad Mojab, and my Ph.D. colleague, Soheila Pashang, have an article in today's Star describing the shameful tactics used by immigration officials to clamp down on non-status people, and the devastating effects it has on the humanity that once contributed to Canadians' self-construction of identity:
It is widely believed that Canada has a reputation for opening its doors to immigrants and refugees from many parts of the world. In fact, Immigration Minister Monte Solberg recently stated that, "We (in Canada) probably have the most generous immigration system in the world in terms of being compassionate."

[But,] Non-status people have always been denied the basic rights enjoyed by other Canadians, and continuously live in fear of deportation; lack access to public and social services; and face exploitation, discrimination, abuse, violence, unemployment or underemployment, and insecurity. The fact that Canada turns a blind eye to the plight of non-status persons has severely damaged our reputation as a compassionate state. ... As such, the recent increase in deportations has damaged their already atrociously low quality of life. Many have quit their jobs, pulled their children out of school, and avoid leaving their homes to go grocery shopping or to access medical or other essential services. Some families have decided to relocate while others are breaking up so that if one parent is arrested by immigration authorities, the other parent can protect the children. Many non-status people are marginalized in the labour market, earn low wages, work long hours, perform dangerous tasks, work in impermanent, insecure jobs, and face abuse from employers — including not being paid.
While it is unfair to blame the current Harper government for the systemic problems that had taken root during previous Liberal governments, the aggressive terror tactics employed by immigration officials in recent days - in which school children are effectively abducted by (Harper) government agents and held as "bait" to flush out their parents for deportation - is an atrocious and shameful deterioration of public policy, enacted by what is increasingly being demonstrated as a heartless and uncaring government, aimed at benefiting the privileged, under a false rubric of so-called fairness.

A just society is not measured by the affluence of its populace, but rather on how well it cares for its weakest, and most disenfranchised, members.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Another manifestation of the politicians only fighting for constituents with votes? Or the nameless faceless official exploiting his power?

Very saddening to read.