TORONTO - And all of a sudden, Immigration returns to be part of the national agenda, with the Trudeau government losing its splendor and its immigration minister now under attack. It is not a partisan solicitation.
Minister Ahmed Hussen had nurtured the perception that there was a "pilot project" to enlist illegal workers (those with expired residence permits, or with the rejected refugee application and others whose status in Canada was in doubt) .
Several colleagues of his own team - including Peter Fonseca, Sonia Sidhu, Julie Dzerowicz, Francesco Sorbara - and deputies deputunciali, along with two unions, have acted following his "apparent advice" to actively encourage those workers without documents and their employers I work to take part in the "Program". "Trust me, trust us" seemed to be the message.
Employers, who met last October at the training center of Local 27 - an organization affiliated with the government - had expressed skepticism that their "phantom workers" would come forward and risk expatriation. Those who took part in such a sensational subterfuge were asked by two provincial officials for Immigration, the Albanian Minister and the federal parliamentarian Sorbara.
"Trust us" insisted the Hussen department; "We are working on" the message that has been repeatedly fed. Then, several participants received transfer orders. Trust becomes questionable.
The provincial deputy Christina Martins, very close to the Local 183, wrote a letter criticizing Minister Hussen and asking for an act of general clemency. It is a tactic to pressure (perhaps influenced by electoral reasons) that could not have been applied without the consent of the Premier's office.
For its part, the Albanian Minister approves that Ontario cooperates with its counterparts at the federal level. More than half of the undocumented workers (about a million, according to the calculations of the Federal Department of Human Resources) are resident in the GTHA. Almost 50 thousand are workers only in the construction sector, as reported by an insider.
The UWC was clearly frustrated, under the leadership of Manuel Alexandre, last Saturday I organized a peaceful protest, which was attended by about 100 demonstrators, in front of the election office of Minister Hussen. He was asked to do the right thing: to formalize the process for regularization and to express his interest to those who must face repatriation.
It has been repeatedly asked to reactivate the Pilot Project. Minister Hussen responded with a ministerial letter, written in a twisted bureaucratic language, to say something careless, with boredom and apathy. Certainly not what the UWC expected, after about two years of patient waiting. Manuel Alexandre, trying to hold back his anger, admitted to having considered this type of response - already since the days of former Conservative ministers Jason Kenney and Christopher Alexander - as a betrayal of their personal friendship and their political commitment.
"It is a question of an autonomous economy for Canada - how can so many well-paid and necessary workers be left to the industry? - but it is also a matter of consideration for those who produce and does not ask anything other than to be permanent residents ", said the group of Protestants. "If the Minister, who is himself a former refugee, has evaluated the facts, we must give him lessons".
One of these includes a photo of the major members of the (his) group: Italians and Portuguese. Their relatives and friends vote.
Minister Hussen has just agreed to speed up refugee demands from African immigrants who were traveling to Israel. The authorities of this country were repatriating them because they did not consider them real refugees, but simple emigrants. It is known that 1,795 of them will now arrive in Canada. Meanwhile, Minister Hussen is committed to repatriating those who are already in Canada, who already have a job and a support system that does not even cost a penny to Canada. "Where is the logic in all this?" Asked Manuel Alexandre.