On May 11, 2012, over 90 Canadian physicians protested dangerous cuts to refugee health care at MP Joe Oliver's office. Follow us on Twitter: @Docs4RefugeeHC // E-mail: email@example.com. Video produced by Alex Lisman.
Further to recent commentary regarding the Harper government's dramatic expansion of the Temporary Foreign Worker (TWF) program, consider this shocking factoid.
Even before the expansion of the program envisioned in the current omnibus "budget" bill, temporary foreign workers (who do not have the same rights as other Canadian workers, and whose presence here depends entirely on keeping their employers happy) already accounted for almost 30 per cent of all net new paid jobs created in Canada between 2007 and 2011.
Can Roma ("Gypsies") from "liberal, democratic, EU countries" really be refugees, fleeing persecution? I am no expert on refugee law, but if I were a Roma person living in Central Europe I know I would not feel safe.
Last year, while we were filming the documentary Never Come Back, Malcolm Hamilton and I visited Roma enclaves in the Czech Republic and Hungary. At first glance, it seemed to us that those communities were not that different from poor and under-serviced First Nations communities in Canada. Maybe that's why some Canadian politicians argue that the Roma who come here are really fleeing poverty, not persecution.
The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change, an alliance of migrant workers, labour unions and community organizations denounces the latest Tory “jobs-strategy”, paying migrant workers 15% less than Canadian citizens.
Introduced under another signature defensive title, the Conservatives' Bill C-31: "Protecting Canada’s Immigration System Act", combines exclusionary refugee measures from Bill C-4 (“Protecting Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System”) and Bill C-11 (“Balanced Refugee Reform Act”). Both C-4 and -11 were previously proposed but rejected by opposition while the Conservatives were a minority in Parliament.
They call them "gypsies," "gitanes," "tziganes," "ciganes," "nomadi" -- and sometimes such nasty epithets as thieves, pickpockets, vagrants and "inadaptables" (a favourite term in the Czech Republic).
They are the Roma, Europe's perennially unwelcome minority.
They are shunned just about everywhere on the continent, whether in Hungary or Spain, the Balkans or Iberia, the Mediterranean or Scandinavia.
Historians and anthropologists say they migrated from Rajasthan, in India, more than a thousand years ago.
In India, the Roma had been itinerant musicians, performers, merchants -- and sometimes slaves -- and they carried on some of those traditional occupations in their new lands.