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March 13, 2017

Refugees Are Welcome Here!

SS Editorial

Cold Crossing

Socialist Solidarity condemns the racist pickets of worshippers at two Toronto mosques by the anti-Muslim "Never Again Canada", as well as the meeting in defense of free speech for Islamophobes hosted by Ezra Levant's so-called "Rebel" fake-news site.

These calculated assaults on innocent people are particularly grievous in the shadow of the Grand Mosque murder of five worshippers in Québec City.

Federal Liberal motion M103, which affirms that Parliament condemn Islamophobia and all acts of religious discrimination, is to be welcomed as a formal expression of sympathy with Muslims - and against the racism of Kellie Leitch, Ezra Levant and the Conservative Party that tolerates them both.

But this motion neither provides Muslims, refugees or immigrants with more legal remedies, resources or opportunities to become part of society.

If our government feels no obligation to act affirmatively beyond providing temporary landing rights to travellers stranded by the US Muslim travel ban, then we must act to begin a cross-country newcomers' network and anti-racist actions.

  • Union leaders and members at every level must declare their workplaces as sanctuary spaces where employers will neither use immigration information in hiring or firing practices nor cooperate with CBSA in investigations or deportation orders.

  • Some Canadian cities have declared sanctuary policies, but where is the funding and personnel to actually assist refugees?

  • Municipal leaders must also demand the federal government provide funding for adequate staff, space and resources for refugee welcome centres near all border crossings to assist communities who struggle to support the needs of rising numbers of people coming from the USA seeking asylum - and that these centres are NOT jails but dignified living spaces suitable for landing and preparing to find a more permanent settlement.

    * The federal government must suspend its refugee agreement, the Safe Third Country agreement, with the United States, which includes Canadian airlines or businesses applying US mandated discrimination by creed or place of origin – and offer Canada as a safe alternative refuge.

  • Community groups of every sort must also organise to oppose and expose public meetings and events by racist groups with public counter protests. We must also confront and picket every appearance by Conservative party leadership candidates to hold them accountable for normalizing islamophobia.
Joint action in every part of Canada can honestly confront our history of aboriginal, non-white and Québec oppression with our hopes for a truly multicultural future in an active struggle against bigotry.

Together we can make racists scared again – and refugees welcome!