Episode #19- Conservatives to require visas while denying human rights abuses: Part 3

The rabble podcast network offers an alternative take on politics, entertainment, society, stories, community and life in general. All opinions belong to the podcaster; however, podcasters are expected to adhere to our guidelines. We welcome new podcasters -- contact us for details.

Please chip in to support more articles like this. Support rabble.ca for as little as $5 per month!

Our guests are Eddie Huesca of Fuerza/Puwersa (a migrant justice advocacy group); Drew Garvie of Young Communist League-Guelph; and Ryan White, a Toronto-based employment lawyer. In Part 1 they talked about the implications surrounding the recent re-imposition of visa requirements on people of Mexican and Czech-Roma descent. These requirements were implemented to specifically target individuals seeking refugee status in Canada and are intended to block the large flow of Mexicans and Czech-Roma people into Canada.

In Parts 2 & 3, discussion broadens into the larger context of the Canadian immigration system and its recent trends, looking at some important issues being faced by people working under migrant worker programs and non status people.



There’s no shortage of issues for migrating individuals who have little say over often-deplorable working and living conditions once in Canada. It’s important to continue to educate the public about the hardships these people face in Canada, and they seem to increase with the leadership of Jason Kenney (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration).

On July 13, 2009 Kenney effectively slammed the door on migrants and refugees from Mexico and the Czech Republic, building on the Conservative government’s horrible track record of regressive immigration policy and enforcement. The Canadian government announced that within 48 hours all Mexicans and Czech-Roma people coming to Canada would need (=are forced to apply for) tourist visas to enter Canada. This move will ruin the chances of an untold number of asylum-seekers fleeing racism, violence and persecution to live a life of peace and dignity in Canada. In stating that the refugee claims from these countries are “bogus and illegitimate”, the Conservative government has shown its contempt for the due process granted to claimants under the Refugee Protection Act, which is supposed to consider the individual merits of each case. Kenney’s strategy is to provide only one legal option for poor and working-class racialized migrants to Canada: entering Canada through exploitative temporary worker programs where participants are denied labour and democratic rights. These regressive policies are based on the view that immigrants only have value as economic commodities while their humanity is ignored.

Kenney was able to make this move by his use of the arbitrary and centralized powers granted to him by Bill C-50, which was passed under general condemnation by immigrant communities last year. Under that law, the Minister of Immigration is now able to set quotas on the category of person who can legally set foot in Canada. This includes setting quotas on countries of origin. Setting quotas represents a critical shift in Canadian policy toward exclusionary legislation that has precedents in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1923, the Order in Council of 1911 prohibiting the landing of any immigrant belonging to the Negro race, and the "None is too many" rule applied to Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi-occupied Europe during the Second World War. Recent moves by the Conservative government have been steps back towards these racist policies and many critics are drawing parallels between Kenney's efforts to limit refugee claims to the "None is too many" strategies of the past.

This is self-serving in the extreme, since our government continues to ignore the serious human rights abuses that many people face in Mexico and Czech Republic and doesn't want to actual discuss or spend any money on addressing such abuses within our refugee system. Unfortunately this is not out of character for these guys.


[email protected]

Thank you for reading this story…

More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.

rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.

So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.

And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.


We welcome your comments! rabble.ca embraces a pro-human rights, pro-feminist, anti-racist, queer-positive, anti-imperialist and pro-labour stance, and encourages discussions which develop progressive thought. Our full comment policy can be found here. Learn more about Disqus on rabble.ca and your privacy here. Please keep in mind:


  • Tell the truth and avoid rumours.
  • Add context and background.
  • Report typos and logical fallacies.
  • Be respectful.
  • Respect copyright - link to articles.
  • Stay focused. Bring in-depth commentary to our discussion forum, babble.


  • Use oppressive/offensive language.
  • Libel or defame.
  • Bully or troll.
  • Post spam.
  • Engage trolls. Flag suspect activity instead.