Change the System or Change the Minister

di Joe Volpe del February 26, 2019

TORONTO - Thursday, February 21, a hardy group of protesters, about 100 in number, defying a bitter cold, demonstrated in front of the Legislature at Queen’s Park.

No, they were not defying Premier Ford, rather they were hoping to show support for him in his positioning against Prime Minister Trudeau.

The event was organized by Manuel Alexandre, Chair of the Undocumented Workers’ Committee, with the collaboration of several socio-religious communities from the Portuguese and Italian speaking communities.

Their goal was twofold. First, “to draw attention to the nonsensical, insensitive, hurtful nature of the Trudeau Government’s immigration policy towards children and families of hardworking, integrated, God-fearing people whose status in the country is still not regular”, said Alexandre.

“We are trying to give voice to the those that Minister Hussen refuses to hear or to see”, he told the Corriere, “yet the Undocumented are here, they are working; and, the economy needs them.”

“They have been ‘swept under the rug’, harassed and now persecuted by zealous Canadian Border Service Agents eager to meet Trudeau’s deportation quotas”, he claimed.

Victor Pasquali, accompanied by his 87- year-old neighbour, was there to demonstrate on behalf of the Demitri, an Italian family of six (two children born in Canada).

“We don’t understand how a Minister who was a former refugee can be so insensitive to others ‘seeking the same break’. Yet, he refuses to grant status to a family that’s been here for almost six years, ready, willing and able to work today.”

“On a human level, Minister Hussen’s obstinacy is difficult to comprehend. Does he think the Demitri children or the children of the ‘undocumented’ are any less deserving of the compassion his own children and all Canadian kids have a right to expect?” he asked.

Over the last four years, the UWC has made every effort to work collaboratively with Ministers and MPs, according to Alexandre. “We thought we had a ‘deal’, a ‘go forward’ plan with [former] Minister MacCallum and confirmed by Minister Hussen – a ‘pilot project’, they called it.

Now, Hussen claims it never existed, yet it seems he pulls Pilot projects out of a hat every day of the week for something else”, he added with a wisp of disappointment.

“So, we are here to offer a different solution: Amnesty for all undocumented workers – clean the slate and offer Permanent Residency to all who can provide a clean bill of health and a police certificate attesting to their standing before the law.”

That’s our second goal, he said, “to offer solutions…ones that help the economy, strengthen the fabric of our society and diminish the exploitation of the vulnerable.”

“Trudeau seems prepared to sell out principle on the SNC Lavalin file, we are offering Hussen a way to win back the trust of Canadian families and their “undocumented neighbours’.”

Manuel Alexandre isn’t giving up. If the CBSA continues to ramp up its deportation actions, they could cause the shut down of the half of the construction sites in the GTHA, he claimed. Maybe the trades Unions would then start advocating for their “ghost workers”.

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