Friday, June 02, 2006

Ottawa: Status for All March

Last Saturday across the country there were vigils and marches for immigrant and refugee rights. The protests have mirrored a wave of protests for immigrant rights across the United States, but on a much smaller scale. The Canadian protests which were held in Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Edmonton, Vancouver, Peterborough, Fredericton and, more. An image of the Montreal demonstration is to the left.

It was estimated that there are upwards of 800,000 illegal immigrants in Canada. Though the providing of status to the illegal immigrants was the core issue of these demonstrations three other related issues were brought up the Security Certificate Five, Israeli boycotts and, American War Resistors.

The Security Certificate Five of course are the five Muslim men detained on anti terror legislation that take away the right to fair trial. Mohamed Harkat an Algerian born, Ottawa resident was recently granted bail, which was taken away by an appeal by government lawyers. Only one of the Security Certificate Five is out on bail the other four are at a prison in Milhaven Ontario which opponents are calling Guantanamo North.

Boycotts of Israel are not a new invention. However, being an apartheid state it has created huge amounts of immigrants and refugees fleeing the country. Many have made there way to Canada as a refuge as well as many other places. Canada historically has voted against helping Israel, but the last two governments have changed that record. Originally votes in the UN were changed to abstention and now outright support of Israel. On the same day as the Status for All protest CUPE Ontario a union which represents 200,000 workers vote in favour of a boycott of Israel. They have since received a lot of hate mail for such a bold stance. You can send you opinion to them here.

The third related issue of American War Resistors were touched on and, in the Ottawa crowd was one of the War Resistors that I have previously met. There are twenty War Resistors openly applying for status in Canada. Campaign members believe there are about 200 underground. Canada took in thousands of War Resistors during the Vietnam War with Pierre Elliott Trudeau's proclamation that "Canada should be a refuge from militarism." Thirty years later Canada is participating in a war in Afghanistan, a coup against the democratic government of Haiti and, is the sixth largest producer of arms in the world.

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5 Comments:

Blogger -canuck- said...

I have been to Israel and can assure you it is not an Apartheid State.

http://indefenceoftherighteous.blogspot.com/

5:55 p.m.  
Blogger Jade said...

It seperates people due to race. Sets up giant walls. And rules by military force. That is an Apartheid State.

7:43 p.m.  
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