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Conservatives using No One Is Illegal to distract from anti-immigrant record

Joint release from No One Is Illegal - Halifax, Montreal, London, Toronto and Vancouver, Coast Salish Territories.

Canada, Turtle Island - Immigrant and refugee rights groups from Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver were brought up in Parliament yesterday [1] and targetted in a press release by Minister of Deportation Jason Kenney [2]. The Tories have charged that No One Is Illegal is "not simply another noisy activist group but hard-line anti-Canadian extremists".

However as Sozan Savehilaghi from No One Is Illegal - Vancouver Coast Salish Territories notes, "It seems as if everyone who is a dissident and stands up for equality and social and environmental justice is an extremist in Harper's corporate Canada", referring to Tory government recently targeting Indigenous communities and environmentalists against Enbridge pipeline also as "extremist"‘.

No One Is Illegal groups are concerned about changes in immigration and refugee policy. Under the Harper government, citizenship rejection has doubled [3], 83,382 people have been deported and 72,000 arbitrarily detained [4], temporary workers have overtaken permanent residents [5], refugee acceptances has decreased by 25% [6], and there is a moratorium on sponsoring parents and grandparents [7].

"Now the Tories are quietly pushing through Refugee Exclusion Act (Bill C-31) which creates a discriminatory two-tier system of refugee protection based on nationality, mandates jail terms for many asylum seekers, and revokes permanent residency from many people already granted refugee status," added Syed Hussan from No One Is Illegal - Toronto. "This proposed extremist and exclusionary law will have significant impacts by pushing the minimalist Canadian refugee policy back decades, and the Tories are going to call anyone that opposes it extremists."

Dubbed the Refugee Exclusion Act, Bill C31 is opposed by hundreds of organizations, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. In the House of Commons yesterday Tory MP's brought up No One Is Illegal to distract from the rigorous opposition to the bill. On April 4, Refugee Rights Day, actions will be taking place to Axe the Refugee Exclusion Act and can be followed on twitter #noBillC31 #refugeeexclusion #cdnimm

"Attacks on No One Is Illegal are attacks on migrant rights and they must be taken seriously. We will not be deterred by these cheap shots. The Tory government is clearly on the defensive as people all over these lands are rising up to defend the people and the planet over profits," said Robyn Maynard of No One Is Illegal Montreal.

According to Harsha Walia of No One Is Illegal - Vancouver Coast Salish Territories, "By advancing a movement for migrant justice, No One Is Illegal groups are proud to be part of this vibrant opposition. We are committed to raising awareness about the violence of detention and deportations, labour exploitation and austerity in an era of unprecedented corporate profiteering, and about the reality of colonization locally and the scope of empire globally"

For more information,

 

[1] Discussion in Parliament:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode...

[2] Statement by Minister Kenney:

http://www.jasonkenney.ca/news/ndp-backs-radical-and-lawless-%E2%80%9Cno...

[3] Citizenship rejections:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1147060--canadian-ci...

[4] Deportation statistics:

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2012/02/taking-liberties-canadas-booming-bus...

[5] Temporary workers overtake PR:

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/skilled-immigrants-being-sq...

[6] Refugee acceptance cut by 25%:

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/article/940997--the-conservati...

[7] Moratorium on Grandparents:

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/1081314--canada-a-nice-place-...

 

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