Video of panels from International Migrants Day - OPSEU, Wellesley/Yonge, Toronto
Parts 2-7 available on Youtube
Statement by Migrante Canada
On the Occasion of International Migrants Day - December 18, 2009
Migrante organizations in Canada join migrants around the world in celebrating International Migrants’ Day and renewing our commitment to struggle for the rights and welfare of all migrants. As the Canadian state grapples with its own economic and political crises, migrants along with the Canadian working people persevere in their resistance to attacks on their rights.
Canada is one of the major destinations of Filipino migrants. It is also one of the countries with the worst track record in terms of labour and immigration policies. Labour and immigration rights especially those of migrants have been eroded and continue to be eroded. This year alone was marked by a series of US-style immigration raids, deportation of the undocumented and the sick, curtailment of migrants’ rights to organize through their anti migrant labour policies. Canada continues to do this while expanding its Temporary Foreign Workers Program, one that is designed to import cheap foreign labour without protection and without access to permanent residency.
The Philippine government, on the other hand, claims with pride that deployment of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in 2008 increased by 14% from the previous year – what with the incessant and vigorous marketing efforts of its personnel abroad. It has also been very active in forging bilateral labour agreements to ensure the smooth outflow and bigger deployment of Filipino migrants. The Arroyo regime sent over a million workers abroad in the past year. Rather than addressing the root causes of poverty at home, this ruling clique like its predecessors would rather export Filipinos abroad.
Sending and receiving countries will continue to peddle “free market” globalization and force those conditions on the sending countries that will push workers to migrate, submit to even lower wages and acquiesce to even the most oppressive conditions. Gatherings backed by the World Trade Organization (WTO) such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) will continue to become a tool of imperialist globalization to rationalize the systematic commodification of migrants.
There is no better response to such attacks on migrants’ rights and welfare than organized action. Filipino migrants in Canada recently scored victories but only after a persistent and still continuing campaign to win changes to the Live-In Caregiver Program. On Saturday, December 12, 2009, the Canadian Government announced that it would adopt the Juana Tejada Law, calling for the elimination of the required medical examination for live-in caregivers applying for permanent residence.
Still Migrante Canada as one of the organizations at the helm of this struggle must continue to strengthen and expand its ranks. With organizations in BC, Alberta, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, it must persist in building a strong countrywide alliance, unite with migrants of other nationalities and engage in solidarity with the Canadian working people if it is to carry such initial hard-won gains forward. Only through the strengthening of the grassroots migrants’ movement will the struggle for the rights and well being of migrant workers advance.
Marco Luciano - 647.205.5908 firstname.lastname@example.org migrante.ca