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Response to Jason Kenney’s Staged Citizenship Ceremony

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No One Is Illegal Toronto and No One Is Illegal Vancouver Coast Salish Territories Respond to Jason Kenney’s Staged Citizenship Ceremony

Watch our video response Citizenship Canada Bureaucratic Oath:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95IUTA6o6Mk

Jason Kenney, Minister of Censorship and Deportation, is making headlines again with yet another parliamentary scandal. A series of access to information requests have revealed that Kenney's office organized a bogus citizenship ceremony broadcast on Sun Media (the aspiring Fox News Network of Canada). “Let’s do it. We can fake the oath,” said one Sun staffer, and arranged for six federal bureaucrats to stand in as "immigrants." Kenney has refused to apologize for this disgusting photo-op.

This is the latest in a series of political scandals surrounding Kenney. Over a year ago, he rehired a senior aide who had been previously found to be illegally soliciting money for advertising campaigns through the “Conservative Ethnic Paid Media Strategy,” which targets immigrant voters. Not much later, another Conservative staffer sent out an email to community groups seeking people in "national folklore costumes which represent their ethnic backgrounds" to appear at a Harper photo-op.

While these news-worthy scandals highlight the wheeling-and-dealing and corruption within Kenney's office, we are troubled by the lack of anger and outrage at the real scandal in Kenney's office: the racist tokenization of immigrant communities to mask increasingly repressive anti-migrant policies.

Under Kenney, Harper, and the Conservatives:

1) Kenney deliberately removed references to queer rights from the new citizenship guide. He retreated only after confronted with mounting opposition and the new guide now includes all of one sentence on “Canada's diversity includes gay and lesbian Canadians.”

2) Kenny instituted a ban on niqabs during citizenship ceremonies. He also supports Quebec’s Bill C 94 that discriminates against women who wear the niqab by denying them essential public services.

3) Kenney introduced the Human Smuggling Bill C4, which is modeled after Australia’s condemned policies of mandatory detention for certain asylum-seekers, including children. Even Australia's own Supreme Court denounced the legislation as "inhumane."

4) The number of refugees granted permanent residence has dropped by 25%.

5) Family class immigration has dropped by 10,000 people – which is 15%.

6) Kenney hates your grandparents. He has placed a moratorium on sponsorships of parents and grandparents. Quotas for spouses and children have been reduced by 4,000 per year.

7) Kenney has proposed conditional permanent residence for spouses, which places women at increased risk for spousal and partner abuse.

8) Skilled worker visas have been decreased by 20%.

9) The quota allotted for live-in caregivers to become permanent residents has been slashed by almost 50%.

10) The number of temporary foreign workers, who have no rights to permanent residency and are constantly exploited for their labour, is up 30%.

Kenney’s immigration model is one of Permanent Temporariness. By shutting the door to refugees, family sponsorships, and skilled workers, Canada is ensuring that migrants are being recruited primarily as indentured labour for big business. The reality is that Canada depends on the stolen labour of migrants as dangerous and low-wage labour. In fact, the Canadian state and its economy are built on the theft of Indigenous lands; the exploitation of labour, especially slave, migrant, and reproductive labour; and the global appropriation of natural resources.

We believe the whole immigration system is corrupt and inhumane, predicated on violence and control. Many of the reasons that people are displaced and migrate is a result of the plundering of large corporations and the foreign policy of imperialist world powers. Although they are told they are undesirable, migrant and non-status people allow industries to reap high profits. We believe that no person is worth their value in money or labour. Such ideas are based on a capitalist economic system that exploits humans and the land. It is reinforced by racism, where Indigenous people and racialized people are deemed inherently less worthy and desirable.

We demand an end to detentions and deportations. We demand the abolition of exploitative temporary worker programs. We demand status for all those who have been deemed illegal in order to justify theft of their labour and lives. We cannot allow divisive, racist, and false ideas of migrants ‘stealing our jobs and resources’ to let the Harper government off the hook for prioritizing the slashing of critical public services, bailing out banks and subsidizing corporations, destroying Indigenous lands and the environment, and sinking billions into prisons and the military.

As grassroots anti-colonial migrant justice organizers, we struggle for the right to remain, the freedom to move, and the right to return. We envision and actively strive for a humanity where everyone has the right to sustenance and the ability to provide it, where we are free of oppression, misery, and exploitation, and are able to live meaningfully in relationship to one another and in reverence for Mother Earth that sustains us.

No One Is Illegal, Status for All People!
www.nooneisillegal.org