The Freedom Trail was a good PR scheme

In the late 19th century, as international demand for Canadian agricultural products grew, the Federal government began a campaign to attract immigrant farmers by offering free farm land. This was a very attractive offer to many Africans in the United States, many of whom were recently freed prisoners of European Imperial wars, but who were denied access to dwindling agricultural lands in that country. They, however, found they were also not welcome in Canada. Although no law had been enacted to specifically exclude African immigration into Canada, immigration officials devised backdoor schemes to exclude and reject applications for settlement from African- Americans

The few African-Canadians already settled in the country were relegated to menial, low-paying jobs that most Canadians did not want, such as domestic helpers and railway porters. From the 1950s to 1970s, most of the African immigrants to Canada were Caribbean women recruited as live in nannies and domestic helpers. As these women’s struggled for equal rights as workers intensified, Canada’s immigration policies for domestic helpers became more restrictive.

Due to their leading role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s, African-Canadians won rights that their ancestors at the beginning of the century could only dream about. By 1975, every Canadian province had Human Rights Commissions, and in 1977, a federal commission was established to oversee the Canadian Human Rights Act. The Charter of Rights was enacted to enshrine fundamental equality rights of all people in Canada.

Anti-African discrimination and hatred, however, continues to exist in Canada. Although it is less overt, it is more systemic and, therefore, more difficult to target and eliminate. The 2006 census reports that 16.2 per cent of Canadians identified themselves as a “visible minority,” an increase of 27 per cent from the 2001 census. Those who identified themselves as “Black” rose 18.4 per cent to 783,800, the third largest visible minority group. The higher number of non Caucasians is due to an increase in immigration from non-European countries. And yet, unemployment rates and incidence of low income are higher among these immigrants than among those who are Canadian-born, despite having attained, on average, higher education than the latter.

In Our story, non Caucasian workers experience higher levels of hate and harassment in the workplace and have higher levels of unemployment and lower incomes than their fellow Caucasian workers. The federal Employment Equity Act was passed in 1986, and was extended to cover the federal public service in 1996. The goal of the Act is “to achieve equality in the workplace … and to correct the conditions of disadvantage in employment experienced by women, aboriginal peoples, persons with disabilities and members of visible minorities …”

However, before none Caucasian workers can fight for employment equity they must get by the immigration gauntlet set up to screen them. Two stories emphasizes the dichotomy of the “white is right” policy of Canada’s Immigration department. 

 

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Abdelkader Belaouni

 

Abdelkader Belaouni has been living in St. Gabriel’s Church in Montreal since he took sanctuary there on January 1st 2006, defying Immigration Canada’s deportation order. The nights are the hardest. “I have a lot of nightmares.” His voice is quiet. He explains that he can’t sleep without medication; even with the medication he often wakes at 3 in the morning. “I think a lot… I think too much.” Belaouni has a lot on his mind. On November 21st, 2005 Immigration Canada notified him that on January 5th 2006 he would be deported; forced to abandon a life and community that has taken him three years to build and over a decade to find.

Belaouni fled Algeria, his country of birth, in 1996. He left behind a civil war that took the lives of over 100 000 people and a country where he no longer felt safe. He moved to New York City, but after September 11th 2001, he no longer felt safe there either as a North African and its connotations. Belaouni crossed the border, filed a refugee claim, and became one of more than 200 000 people in Canada living without status.

As a refugee each claimants will wait months or even years to learn whether Canada will award them permanent status. In the meantime they are treated as second class citizen. The lack of permanent status makes finding work extremely difficult. Belaouni reported that many of his non-status friends also suffer from stress and depression – as he does – while living under the constant threat of deportation. Non-status people (like refugee claimants) are only covered for essentials and emergencies under Canada’s medical system, and some – like Belaouni – are not covered at all.

Brandon Huntley

The headline from the Ottawa Sun reads “White South African Claiming Racist ‘Persecution’ Is Granted Asylum in Canada”. Canada immigration board in Ottawa recently granted asylum to a Caucasian carnival worker from South African who claimed that he was forced to flee his homeland after being attacked seven times because of the color of his skin.  A Canadian immigration and refugee board panel ruled Thursday that Brandon Huntley, 31, could stay in Canada because he presented “clear and convincing proof of the state’s inability or unwillingness to protect him.” “I find that the claimant would stand out like a ’sore thumb’ due to his color in any part of the country,” tribunal panel chair William Davis said in his decision to grant Huntley refugee status.

Mr. Huntley, 31, claimed that he was called a “white dog” and a “settler” by Africans just before and during his being mugged seven times over the years he lived outside Cape Town. According to The Globe and Mail, Mr. Huntley said that he had failed to report any of these attacks to the police in South Africa because he “did not trust them.”

The immigration and refugee board ruling said that Mr. Huntley had proven that the South African government, through “indifference and inability or unwillingness,” was failing to protect “white South Africans from persecution by African South Africans.”  The Ottawa Sun reported that Mr. Huntley said violent crime against Caucasian South Africans by the original   South Africans was racially motivated: “There’s a hatred of what we did to them and it’s all about the color of your skin.”  At least he is being truthful there!

The Globe and Mail noted that the decision “has ignited a firestorm of controversy in South Africa, damaging relations between the two countries and denting Canada’s image in a country where it was once seen as a stalwart of the anti-apartheid struggle.” On Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, Reuters reported that a spokesman for the African National Congress said “Canada’s reasoning for granting Huntley a refugee status can only serve to perpetuate racism.”

The next day, Wednesday the second, Agence France-Presse reported that Sue van der Merwe, South Africa’s deputy minister of international relations, said the decision “shows a lack of familiarization with the facts and reality of South African society.” Another A.N.C. official called the ruling, preposterous and laughable.” A spokesman for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada told The Globe and Mail that the body is intended to operate independently, but added that Canada’s federal government does have the power to ask for judicial review of any decision.

In South Africa, the BBC found unanimity of opinion from seven citizens of various ethnicities who said that while crime is a problem, Mr. Huntley’s claims were “absolute nonsense,” since “thugs attack you because they believe you have something they want.”

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Canadian Apart-hate

Canada’s foreign policy and immigration system is said to contribute to a “global apartheid: a system where a minority of the world’s population controls a vast majority of its wealth and power, a system where capital can move freely but the majority of people cannot. Canada’s economic and geographic interests take priority over people’s well-being.”

Until the 1960s, the Canadian state explicitly chose its immigrants on the basis of ethnic categorization with preference for immigrants of Northern European (especially British) origin over the so-called “black and Asiatic races”. For example, when it came to Americans, the Immigration Branch solicited only Caucasian farmers while African agriculturalists were rejected through administrative processes such as imposing more stringent medical requirements. Although never proclaimed, a 1911 Order in Council prohibited “any immigrant belonging to the Negro race, which race is deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada”.

The assertion of Canada’s sovereign right to be selective about whom it allows to enter and remain has always represented the bottom line in immigration law. To paraphrase Michael Walzer, membership is the primary good bestowed by the liberal nation; membership must be settled before questions of justice can be addressed. As stated by Prime Minister Mackenzie King in 1947, “I wish to make it quite clear that Canada is perfectly within her rights in selecting persons whom we regards as desirable future citizens. It is not a fundamental human right’ of any alien to enter Canada, It is a privilege… The people of Canada do not wish, as a result of mass immigration, to make any fundamental alteration in the character of our population.”

To paraphrase Canada’s beloved Prime Minister Mackenzie King,“ we only want white, people…no Niggers allowed!” Except to clean toilets and elderly Caucasians asses as they lay infirmed in some convalescent or home for the aged, which is basically what Pierre Elliott Trudeau did when he opened up the border for Caribbean women. To this day African people of my parent’s generation love Pierre Elliott Trudeau more than they loved themselves and praise this man as a friend of African-Caribbean. All the SOB was, but a charismatic smooth talking cocksucker (literally if the rumour were true) who over stood what was needed politically to sustain his time in office (like slick Willie Clinton down south) 

Mackenzie-King’s statement is symptomatic of embedded sentiments to maintain Canada’s (Caucasian purity), therefore undesirable and excluded migrants were those thought to be impure. The 1952 Immigration Act, conceived essentially as a gatekeeper’s act, codified racial and moral bases of exclusion. For example the Act gave Cabinet the power to exclude people based on the grounds of those who had “peculiar customs and habits”, those who were “unsuitable having regard to the climactic, economic, social, industrial, educational, labour, (five of the nine people activity from White Supremacy) heath, or other conditions” and those who are unable to become “readily assimilated”.

On Sep 03 2009, the federal government began appealing the controversial decision by the independent tribunal to grant asylum to Huntley. Ottawa had announced the rare move to challenge the decision by the Immigration and Refugee Board after growing condemnation and worldwide publicity of the asylum ruling.  “Our department’s lawyers as well as those from (Department of Justice) reviewed the IRB decision. The government decided to appeal the IRB decision. Further details will be provided in our various submissions to the courts,” said Alykhan Velshi, spokesperson for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney.

 

The aftermath of European Imperialism and acts of genocide in Azania (South Africa), as in every other parts of the world, was and remains the same when they vacate a nation they are unable to physically subdue for long periods of time, they leave an economic, social, educational and political vacuum. Most of the crimes in Azania are economic. People were deprived of basic human rights because of their ethnicity and culture by the Europeans since they arrived there in l652 until Mandela took over in l994. In a post-Apart-hate Azania this is a known fact: “White people still dominate Africa’s biggest economy, with average living standards far higher than for other racial groups.” The word “persecution” in the board’s decision, is a word that implies the perpetuation of systemic injustice and 37 year old Caucasians in South African men are not, generally, victims of that kind of victimization. Keep in mind that the Boar created Bantustans were fashioned after the native reservations and Christian indoctrination child stealing schools that Aboriginal Canadians where subjected to. And Canada always had an affinity to the Boars, as evidence of their late entry an early resistance to the Anti Apart-hate movement so long ago.

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