Demonstrators protest Montreal firm’s bid to design migrant-detention facility
Nearly 100 protesters hit the streets in Laval in protest of Lemay architecture firm’s bidding to design a new immigration detention centre.
Lemay is one of several firms competing for two multi-million dollar contracts by the Canada Border Services Agency to design the holding facility, which is set to open by 2021.
The centre will house people who have been detained for immigration-related reasons, most of them because they do not have verifiable identity documents or are deemed flight risks. Over the past six years, close to 45,000 people have been detained in Canada under such circumstances.
Plans for the centre were announced by the federal government in 2016 as a part of the Liberals’ plans to create “a fairer and more humane immigration-detention system.” Another new holding centre will be constructed in British Columbia.
The protesters, who marched from Place-Saint-Henri métro station to Lemay’s head office on St. Jacques Street, carried signs with the names of people who have been deported from Canada in recent years, chanting slogans like “prisons are cages.”
Despite Lemay’s plans for the site being described as “aesthetically pleasing” and featuring extensive foliage, the demonstrators called it a prison.
“I think people are glued to their screens watching Trump fill up the migrant prisons there and they don’t realize that there’s a migrant prison in our backyard here,” organizer David Zinman said to CTV.
When Prime Minister Trudeau assumed office in 2015, he offered a more refugee-friendly tone that contrasted sharply with the generally more cautious and hesitant rhetoric that prevails in much of North America and in Europe.
Even as the number of “irregular” asylum seekers arriving at the Canadian border began to increase after he took office—due in part to the harsh anti-immigrant policies and rhetoric of the Trump administration—Trudeau remained on message, tweeting pro-migrant slogans in early 2017:
That year, Canada received the most asylum applications in its history (50,420) as the number of Haitians arriving from the United States surged.
Canada has recently implemented important reforms to its detention practices. In 2016 the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, responding to growing public pressure, announced Canada’s intention to “transform” its immigration detention system to “better align itself with international and domestic standards.”
The country implemented a New National Immigration Detention Framework in 2017, which included a pledge for a 138 million CAD investment to improve immigration detention, primarily by expanding and renovating federal immigration detention facilities.
The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) says the framework is intended to keep children out of detention and families together “as much as humanly possible,” decrease the number of long-term detainees, reduce the use of maximum-security jails and reliance on provincial criminal facilities, and expand the use of “alternatives to detention” to “ensure that detention is truly a last resort.”
The reforms have had some notable results: The number of detainees held for three months or longer dropped by almost 30 percent during the year 2016-2017, and the overall number of detainees dropped by five percent over the same period. The average number of days in detention has also decreased by 20 percent over the same time period.
However, observers point to ongoing concerns. Importantly, Canada maintains a policy of unlimited detention as there is no maximum length of detention in law. The country also continues to confine approximately a third of its immigration detainees (and almost all long-term detainees) in prisons. This may be why an immigration detention center would be seen as necessary in the first place.
As the Global Detention Project (GDP) has highlighted in its reports on other countries that have used their prison systems for immigration reasons (including Switzerland and Germany), the use of local prisons makes accessing up-to-date information about detention practices extremely difficult, raising questions about transparency. Hopefully with the construction of a new facility, these numbers will be more accessible and our prisons will not be as clogged up with “irregular migrants.”
What do you think? Let us know in the comments down below.
On Monday, two children in Montreal were found killed by their father, who later committed suicide. The children, one girl and on boy, aged five and seven respectively, were found by their mother at 9 p.m. on Tuesday when she returned from work to her house on Curatteau St. at Pierre-De Coubertin Ave. in the Tétreaultville district, reports the Montreal Gazette. The father was found dead in the next room, and police ruled that it was a suicide.
Police report that neighbours had seen the father outside at roughly 3 p.m., only hours before the bodies were discovered.
“The father had his head down and didn’t say hello,” said another neighbour.
One woman, whose son was friends with one of the children, said the boy had come over to play just last Saturday, and that he will be missed by her son.
“They played in the basement for two hours,” said Mayela Sandoval. “They met this year and my son really liked him, they played together every day.”
Neighbour Manoj Chandarana told reporters that he saw four police cruisers and two ambulances hurrying to the scene and knew something was terribly wrong.
“There are suicides, we know that, but to take the lives of children is not acceptable,” he said. “Just think, if they were here today, they would be at school or daycare. Children look to their parents for protection.”
Police are still investigating the circumstances which led the 40-year-old man to commit such a terrible act.
If four years’ worth of Liberal government policy, refracted through an identity politics lens and subsequent brow beating of any dissent wasn’t enough, Canada’s electoral map paints a clash-of-colours portrait of how divided the country actually is having endured it.
And the ultimate loser for this tactic, employed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his righthand man Gerald Butts (the de facto PM), who gamed most everything as an “anointed versus neanderthals, bigots and racists” issue, was the nation.
Even when Trudeau was mocked for correcting a woman at a town hall for using “mankind”, when according to our PM that henceforth it should be referred to as “peoplekind”, Butts saw Nazis everywhere.
To be sure, the identity politics and related hypocrisy on this front, by the Liberal leader himself (i.e. #TrudeauBlackface being the most egregious), hurt the party as it dropped 20 seats and lost majority government status after Monday night’s federal vote.
In the aftermath of Canada’s 43rd general election, Trudeau and the Liberals held just 157 seats – a baker’s dozen of MPs shy of majority carte blanche for another four years – while Conservatives and their leader Andrew Scheer added just 26 MPs to their caucus, falling far short of beating Trudeau.
And not since incumbent-Progressive Conservative prime minister Kim Campbell’s stunning election blowout in 1993, has the Bloc Quebecois been in position to play an influential role in a new federal government.
Then it was the Reform Party’s rise under Preston Manning, a western-centric party whose success in Alberta basically gifted then-Bloc Leader Lucien Bouchard the unlikely role leading Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition against Jean Chrétien’s Liberal majority.
Today, it’s an overcrowded left and a weakened New Democrat Party, whose third-party status was gutted after Monday’s election, much of that support likely going to new Bloc leader Yves-François Blanchet’s separatists, who won over Quebecers unimpressed with any federalist alternative.
The Bloc’s won in 32 ridings – a 22 seat boost from the last federal vote – also knocked Singh and the NDP from third party spot in the House of Commons, while the nation watched Quebec’s political pendulum swung back toward a more nationalistic, self-interest.
But this loss for Canada’s stalwart, left-wing party could hardly be detected in Singh’s rambling, congratulatory speech that sounded more like a victory address.
As ironic as the separatist Bouchard’s station in Parliament some 26 years ago, was that Singh’s losing night – New Democrats dropped 15 seats and lost official third party status – remains enough to hold the balance of power in Ottawa, by propping up Trudeau and the Liberals.
Looking West, the federation’s economic engine Alberta has turned nearly completely Conservative blue, and Saskatchewan is all blue; Quebec is again beset with a separatist insurgency, while incumbent-Trudeau’s party remains strong in the Laurentien regions; Maritimes, urban regions of Quebec, Toronto’s 416 and the Ottawa valley.
Given this result, the embattled TMX project and other moribund pipelines to get Albertan oil to tidewater, western separatism is now trending on social media via #Wexit, complete with the added vitriol that only anonymous Twitter accounts can provide; in the following instance, aimed at Newfoundland voters.
But vitriol is not required to divide, as Butts’ social media presence proved, and combined with anointed Liberal bromides heard through the past four years impressed upon the plebes that only they could lead us to a new era of “inclusion” and “strength in diversity”.
To see what the country looks like today – the posturing of separatists in Quebec, disaffected westerners and indigenous groups who back TMX and those who don’t – it is clear to anyone who isn’t a mushroom that there is little “inclusion” in today’s Canada, just weakness in a sea of diversity.
And even while his own party race hustled – Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen told a largely Somali crowd on Canada Day that Conservatives “danced with white supremacists” – then fielded anti-Semites like ex-activist Sameer Zuberi, Butts pretended it was only the other guys who did this sort of thing.
On October 21, Butts took particular Twitter glee after Scheer got hammered by a reporter for hiring political fixer Warren Kinsella to dig, then gin up any racist dirt he could find on Maxime Bernier and his People’s Party of Canada.
But the facile narratives pushed by Butts, and let’s face it, given plenty of oxygen by our establishment media, for example that “only conservatives can be racist”, was but just one Canadians have been assailed with, in increasing intensity since Trudeau took power in 2015.
Other bogus narratives pushed on the public included that it was somehow “unCanadian” to question Canada’s current open border policy loophole regarding our Safe Third Country Agreement with United States.
And this “unCanadian” line was trotted out several times, by Trudeau and his minions whilst Immigration Canada was straining under the growing backlog of asylum claims; nearly 50,000 made by people illegally entering the country from New York State.
Another classic fake narrative that predated Trudeau, but was serially employed by his Minister of Environment and Climate (action) Catherine McKenna, was anyone who questioned the science of a looming climate apocalypse, is akin to questioning the Holocaust, ie; “a denier”.
So here we are as a federation after four years of toxic discourse: divided and adrift, led by a prime minister that barely three out of 10 voters supported, and no opposition worthy of earning a mandate to carve a different, unifying path.
Maxime Bernier, former Conservative Party member and founder of the People’s Party of Canada, has lost his position as MP for the Beauce riding.
The controversial MP and federal leader, who also served in Stephen Harper’s cabinet as the minister of Small Business and Tourism and Agriculture, had served as Beauce’s Member of Parliament since 2006, having won convincingly as a conservative in four prior elections.
Bernier famously started the People’s Party of Canada following an unsuccessful bid for Conservative Party Leadership, losing to Andrew Scheer by only 645 votes in the 13th round of voting.
Victory for Bernier in Beauce would have meant that the PPC had its first elected Member of Parliament.
Pollsters showed that Bernier’s PPC had a 71 percent chance of winning the riding, with 338 showing a 3.9% lead over Conservative candidate, Richard Lehoux.
Lehoux formerly served as president of the Quebec federation of municipalities (FQM), as well as mayor of Saint-Elzéar, Que., for nearly twenty years before retiring in 2017.
A former dairy farmer, Lehoux was given high praise by Scheer, who called Lehoux a “remarkable” candidate.
In response to Lehoux’s selection to run as a Conservative in his riding, Bernier took to Twitter to criticize Scheer and Lehoux, calling the former mayor a “dairy cartel candidate,” going so far as to demand that Scheer explain to voters in Beauce why they continue to pay “hundreds of dollars more” to “maintain a socialist system adopted by Pierre Trudeau in the 70s.”
The Lehoux victory marks the second time since 1984 that the riding was not represented by someone with the last name “Bernier.” Maxime’s father, Gilles, was MP between 1984 and 1997.
“My father always used to tell me that when you are paddling across a big lake, and the clouds get darker and the wind comes up, and the waves start to show white caps and break a little more, there really only is one thing to do,” Justin Trudeau said Friday evening while campaigning in Vaughan. “Sing louder and paddle harder!”
The heartfelt story wasn’t random, rather it was a celebration of the Prime Minister’s late father Pierre Elliott Trudeau, who would have been 100 on October 18, 2019. In the spirit of his father, Trudeau hoped to sure up votes and supporters of his progressive policies, many of which found their grounding in the 70s as a result of Pierre Trudeau’s Multiculturalism Policy in 1971.
This policy began the formal recognition of Canada as a bilingual state, which was done to placate Quebec who had been fighting for sovereignty and separation — something which remains a looming possibility, today.
While Elliott Trudeau’s move prevented Quebec from leaving the confederation, his son, Justin, is still dealing with separatist sentiments and Quebec’s desire to be governed provincially, rather than federally, with its own distinct set of laws. Recently, the most notable of such laws is Bill 21, the religious secularism bill which prevents those working in public offices from wearing religious symbols.
Justin Trudeau has been criticized for his soft position on the issue of Quebec enacting laws that run counter to the rest of the country’s principles and laws. Overall, Trudeau’s position is that what Quebec is doing is wrong, but he is unlikely to intervene.
“I have made it very clear that I do not think that a government should be telling people what it is they should or shouldn’t wear, but Quebecers themselves are taking this law to court and defending the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as is their right,” Trudeau said during a campaign stop in Whitby the same day.
“I have said that my federal government would not intervene at this stage,” he added, “but I also have not closed the door to intervening at a later stage,” said Trudeau.
“Because we understand that a federal government always needs to be there, potentially, to defend rights, like women’s rights, like LGBT rights, like minority rights, like the rights of francophones outside of Quebec.”
All other candidates have so far not committed to intervening in Quebec’s politics, and, as Quebec continues to flex its muscles against the weight of the federal government, it is possible that Trudeau’s father’s efforts may have been all for not.