#RefugeesWelcome to roll out 20,000 names of migrants killed crossing borders at Federal Leaders Debate, at Roy Thomson Hall.
Toronto — Hundreds of immigrant and refugees rights activists are expected to gather outside the Federal Leaders televised debate on foreign policy. The debate comes nearly a month after toddler Alan Kurdi’s death caught global attention to demand an overhaul of Canadian immigration policies and an end to wars, and destructive environmental and economic policies that are forcing refugees and migrants to leave their homes in the first place.
“Harper has made the same promise to bring in 10,000 refugees three times, while failing to propose any real meaningful change to an immigration system which denies permanent residency rights to most,” says Tings Chak of No One Is Illegal – Toronto. “Trudeau and Mulcair are yet to propose a new vision for immigration policies, bickering over a limited numbers of Syrian refugees while over 60 million people are displaced around the world.”
Over the last nine years migrant worker programs,
in which many workers are tied to their employers work for low wages and in dangerous conditions and are not allowed to have their families visit, have tripled. At the same time, family reunification programs have become more expensive and less accessible. In-land refugee acceptance rates have fallen by 30%. In 2014, the Federal Government assisted a shamefully small total of 7,573 refugees from around the world while the United Nations documented over 55 million displaced people, a number that has since grown to 59.5 million people. (See www.neverhome.ca for a survey of immigration policies).
“Canadian foreign and domestic policies are central to creating the refugee crisis,” adds Syed Hussan of No One Is Illegal – Toronto. “Hundreds of us will be outside the Roy Thomson Hall to insist that Canada has blood on its hands, and we need to stop the wars and policies that are forcing people to move.”
The US led coalition of which Canada is a part has dropped 20,000 bombs on Syria, resulting in over 1,000 civilian casualties while almost nothing has been done to bring a diplomatic end to the civil war. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that over the last decade, World Bank-funded projects displaced 3.4 million people.
According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, by the year 2020 there will be 50 million climate refugees.
“We are bringing the names of 20,000 of the 44,000 people that are known to have died crossing borders since 2000 to show the scale and gravity off the crisis and the need for a fundamentally new vision to resolve it,” adds Chak.
Over 40 cities across Canada have already mobilized under the #RefugeesWelcome banner since September 4th using the online organizing platform www.refugeeswelcome.ca, coordinated by No One Is Illegal.