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Migration and Labour in Canada

Decision: 
Summary: 

This special issue will address the question of migration in the 21st century, and how Canada plays a  significant role in this process. This question reaches a variety of levels: international, national and local. More broadly, this issue would discuss the causes of migration in the current context, how historical colonialism is linked to nations being in a position of “sending” or “receiving” migrants

It will also be important to examine the changing immigration laws under the Conservative government in Canada, and how that affects individuals living within Canada, and those who come to work here. This special issue could also examine how resistance is manifesting itself, and how individuals are working together  to assert their rights.

Sample themes & headlines:

Section 1
-The globalization of migrants. Where does Canada fit into this process?
-Discussion of the upcoming Global Forum on Development and Migration
-Causes of forced migration
-History of migration

Section 2
-Temporary foreign workers are replacing immigration (in 2008 Canada had more guestworkers - workers with severely limited rights - than it had “full status” immigrants)
-Explanation of foreign workers’ program in Canada and why it was adopted by the Conservatives
-Investigations into the bilateral agreements that Canada conducts with “developing” countries that negotiate guest-worker visas to fill labour needs for industry (ex: Canada recently signed an agreement with the Philippines to supply guest workers with few rights to work in the tar sands)
    -The effects of these policies on labour in Canada and abroad
-Investigations into temp workers and temp agencies and their relations to migrant workers - how they make it easier to exploit workers’ rights

Section 3
The environment and migration
Climate change and migration
Climate debt

Section 4
-Personal stories of migration, and the experiences of individuals who went through temporary work programs, and agencies
-How resistance to these processes are happening on the ground, and how individuals and groups are mobilizing in both the “receiving” and “sending” countries

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Comments

I think that discussion about

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I think that discussion about migration in Canada is currently being dominated by right-wing, anti-migrant, and racist ideologies. I think there is a need for a grassroots perspective about what the reality faced by migrant workers and newcomer communities.

I think that this will also allow the Media Co-op to build better relationships with migrant and newcomer communtiies where they may not already exist.

My number one choice....

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TIMELINESS: This is the bogeyman/scapegoat of the current economic crisis. It is pretty clear as well, that despite the horrific status of migration-related policies in Canada, that there still remains a large gap to go to get it to the nightmarish vision of the Conservative Party, and they're pushing hard in that direction as we speak.

 

IMPORTANCE: Me personally, I have seen the hyper-nativism in this country (both mindset and policy) touch many people close to me over recent years....some as victims, some as cheerleaders. This is something that is on the map of sooo many people in our communities right now and is getting little to no reflection in the MSM.

 

CONTRIBUTORS: Some of the greatest contributions in writing, speaking, organizing, etc... that I have seen in recent years have dealt with this issue. (Not to knock climate justice or any of the other wonderful contributions of late)....but I mean for real, there are so many incredible communicators that could be tapped to contribute...or who's work could be profiled.

 

This is my number one choice for sure.

Special Issue

4

While I like the general thrust of this proposal, it has much wider ramifications. In most of the world the move to urban centers by the former rural populace is accelerating due to not only climate change, but also to economic pressures created by international corporations. This is happening as well in North America where deliberate policies were put in place in the 60s to depopulate the rural areas and displace the rural communities with "more efficient" industrialized agriculture. The result has been dying communities through-out midwest US and Canada as the small farmers sell their lands to such as Cargill and move their families to the cities, which has a domino effect on the towns and small cities due to decreasing population. A trip thru rural areas with their crumbling towns and unemployed workers is heartbreaking. This is not unique to North America but is happening all over the world as the neoliberal policies or as in S.A. (where the landifunistas have have served as a model), china, and India

 Dr Vadana Shiva poignant essay "Our World Is Not For Sale" comes to mind.

 The Issue should make the link between what is happening in the world and also what is happening in Canada. The depopulation of our countryside and the resultant influx to the cities has created massive urban problems due to the growth of deculturised poor people unable to find decent jobs. Winnipeg and Regina have the highest crime rates per population in Canada. This is bolstered by the influx of disaffected aboriginal people, who when they escape from hopeless tribal conditions to urban centers find themselves in even more abject poverty . But similar events happened in the US with southern blacks moving to the north to escape desperate conditions. Austalia also has similar problems, as has the "new" China and other areas of the world. But it has no link by ethnicity, since impoverished southern whites also made the move north. The tide of migration from Latin America to the US is also pushed by this need. Imperialim and capitalism is destroying the stasis which was once livable, sometimes enforced by repression admittedly, but which endured for centuries.

 What has changed is the degree and sophistication of the corporate rulers, who can thru the manipulation of prices of products, with national market support from the Imperialist governments, and control and increase exploitation. There are many studies on the manipulation by such as Nestles driving whole countries out of economic competition, including the population who subsisted on producing that product.

 In Canada large corporations such as Cargills are gobbling up small farms. The co-operative grain-buying organizations such as United Grain Growers and Pool Elevators have been taken over by conglomerates and as well the Wheat Board which was part of the struggle against the Grain Barons is under attack by Harper who would turn control of grains sales even more to the big corporations who would control buying prices to farmers and also sales-prices to buyers such as ADM, who control the Flour market. Of course the big corporations such as Cargill, who are gobbling up land, are both grain-buyers and sellers, which can not only
set buying prices but also selling prices if the Canadian Wheat board is eliminated.

The many beef slaughtering plants and packers such as Canada Packers, Swift, and others which were once present across the prairies have been reduced to Tyson and a few others mainly in Alberta. The other outlet is young steers which are shipped to the US to packing plants there again where Tyson is dominant. This outlet was closed during the mad-cow crisis and farmers sold their stock to Tyson in Canada who like Cargill, also have their own farms at less than 1/3 of the going price. The processed beef prices sold in the supermarkets for the same prices as before the mad-cow crisis, and eastern retailer chains blithely imported beef from the US sellers, mainly Tyson.

The industrialation of the Hog industry in Canada is mainly controlled by the McCains subsiduary Maple Leaf Packers, supplied by the very toxic Hog-farms when they can find a community which will accept them.
This is part of the strategy of industrial farming where 1000s of pigs are crowded into barns on single operation farms rather than scattered across the prairies in multiple product farms. The same thing is happening with fowl as well as Milk producers. I live 14k from one of the largest milk producers in Manitoba but my containers of milk come from larger centers 100 of km away. My eggs also come from these centers altho there are many of the toxic, inhumane, chicken/egg factories close by. This is aided by stringent provincial regulations regulating food producers(farmers) including vegetable products, supposedly for health provisions favoring large operations.

 Of course these large operations require low-paid workers and this is met by Federal policies. In the McCains/Maple Leaf pork plant, the federal government agreed to a deal not dissimilar to the indentured immigrants in the US and Australia many years ago, whereby Mexican workers can gain citizenship by working for McCains for a period of years under regressive conditions with little or no access to human right considerations.
because McCains couldn't get canadian workers. Of course this has been common with Filipino domestic workers for decades as well as many other insdustries. The multitude of migrant workers don't even get this "reward".

I vote for this special issue with the provisio of examining the much more condemnatory issues of Canadian domestic poicies.

 

Immigration and our Stance in the World

We will have such cultural diversity transplanted into our international persona in the next decade that could make it encumbent on us to provide examples of how our nation can mentor other fractious nations and mediate through cultural economic harmony the disputes around the world that unsettle and frighten the Money Media. Money - and/or the lack of it - is the new politics. If we could develop a universal bottle for liquids everywhere, we could begin the necessary processes to unify the world instead of lashing it to the war machinery  and dangers of others with no imagination. And I don't mean coke bottles -which are recognised everywhere. 

My first choice

5

Labour/migration is an important and rich topic. See Briarpatch issue of July/August 2010. I think multiple intersectionalities (race, gender, sexual orientation, labor, poverty, etc.) make this a topic open to a wide variety of writer/activists/academics. You can write about the transnational sex trade or the temporarization of migrant labor in Canada or the privatization of the immigration bureaucracy around the world. 

My second choice

4

This is for sure my second choice, and a really close one at that. I think that this one meets two important criteria: that migration in general and immigration in particular are both going to become more and more important points of discussion in the coming years, and that we need to start trying to set the agenda now and getting radical, progressive and just perspectives out.

Second, while I think it will become even more discussed in Canada, what conversation there is right now is heavily dominated by government officials who are pushing for closed borders and criminalisation, and the corporate media isn't doing much to counter it. I think there's a lot of important work to do on this issue.

Labour Migration in Canada

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Labour Migration in Canada

Labour Migration in Canada

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Labour Migration in Canada

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