The Daily GRRR! Dec 12, 2012 - Immigrant and Labour Justice Edition

The Daily GRRR headlines for Dec 12th, 2012: 1. Seasonal migrant workers stripped of parental benefits. 2. A Human smuggling ring busted in Ontario has been revealed. 3. Idle No More Rallies Sprout Across Canada. 4. Bill C-309 and its Discontents. 5. Canadian immigration changes force women to stay with sponsoring spouse for two years. 6. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois sentenced to 120 hours community service. 7. Kill Bill 115: Where is the movement going?

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And you are listening to The Daily GRRR! on 100.3fm, CKMS in Waterloo, Ontario. on the web.

We are broadcasting from the heart of the occupied Haldimand Tract, Haudenosaunee territy of the Six Nations of the Grand River.

Grand River Radical Radio is a project of the Grand River Media Collective, visit us our website at

The Daily GRRR is supported by LSPIRG, WPIRG, and the Community Radio Fund of Canada.

My name is Stefan Ralli and I will be your host today and each Wednesday here after, focusing on Immigrant and Labour Justice.

We begin today with The Daily GRRR headlines

HEADLINES for Dec 12th, 2012
1. Seasonal migrant workers stripped of parental benefits
2. A Human smuggling ring busted in Ontario has been revealed
3. Idle No More Rallies Sprout Across Canada
4. Bill C-309 and its Discontents
5. Canadian immigration changes force women to stay with sponsoring spouse for two years
6. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois sentenced to 120 hours community service
7. Kill Bill 115: Where is the movement going?


Seasonal migrant workers stripped of parental benefits:

Otttawa has eliminated special parental, maternal and compassionate benefits,one of the few benefits Seasonal Migrant Workers are able to access.

It is estimated that $3.4 million is contributed by foreign migrant workers annually to Canada's Employment Insurance System. Foreign migrant workers have been paying into the system since 1996 but only started receiving some benefits in 2002.

According to Chris Ramsaroop, of Justicia for Migrant Workers, "These workers have been subsidizing Canada's EI fund yet ineligible to receive full benefits." "Now they are being completely stripped away from the few special benefits they were able to get"

As a result, the 30,000 migrant workers employed under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program can no longer take leave and collect a fraction of wages while caring for their newborns or sick children, said Ramsaroop.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Canada called the changes another attack on migrant workers’ rights after Ottawa introduced new regulations earlier in 2012 allowing corporate Canada to pay migrant workers 15 per cent less.

Junior Sylvester, a migrant farm worker from Trinidad stated:

“All of us are still paying into Canada’s EI system, but we are not allowed to collect any of the benefit we help contribute to,”

“Canadian workers can access the special benefits and spend time with their children, but how about our children back home?”

“To begin to exclude one group of workers from protections and entitlements under our social safety net can lead to the dismantling of our income security system for all workers,” said Ramsaroop.


A Human smuggling ring busted in Ontario has been revealed:

Canadian Police and border officials have detained 30 people, most of whom are of Roma ethnic background. Public Safety Minister Vic Toews has designated the border crossings as irregular arrivals, triggering a new provision of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that allows detention for irregular or mass arrivals.

Of the 85 people who crossed the border last February, 35 were children and thus not subject to mandatory detention. Out of 40 located so far, 30 have been detained.

The 85 migrants travelled from Romania into Mexico and survived crossing the Mexico-U.S. border illegally, then drove to Canada. Their struggle for a better life is further complicated by dealing with unpredictable smugglers whom often take advantage of their vulnerable situation.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has frequently cited the Roma as an example of bogus refugee claimants, because they come from European Union countries — Western democracies, he points out — but seek asylum in Canada. This obviously shows his complete ignorance to the discrimination faced by Roma migrants throughout Europe.

Peter Showler, director of the Refugee Forum at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, says:

"What we are looking at here is people who may very well be valid refugee claimants who will be in jail for more than six months; people who may very well be victims of discrimination, if not persecution, and they will have to prove those refugee claims while they are in prison," he said.

Interim Liberal Leader Bob Rae, speaking of the mass detention, stated that "we have under international laws, under our own law under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the obligation that we have is to treat each case as an individual case and not to simply lump people together as a group."

In an email to CBC, Janet Dench of the Canadian Council of Refugees said that the government is creating a two-tier refugee system: "The measures mean that even those found to be refugees (i.e., with a well-founded fear of persecution) are punished for FIVE years (no permanent residence, no family reunification, no right to travel)."

Dench also wrote that "basic Charter and international human rights obligations are being violated by this designation.

Days of Action occured in 8 cities across the country on December 9th and 10th to demand freedom for all security certificate detainees and an end to detentions.


Idle No More Rallies Sprout Across Canada

Thousands of people across Canada took to the streets for International Human Rights Day yesterday (December 10), launching a grassroots effort for Native rights and recognition in the face of controversial federal budget legislation.

At the root of Idle No More is a request for,” acts of solidarity against governments and industries that use legislation and disregard free, prior and informed consent to further their agendas in the name of profit and progress, ignoring the natural law to live as one with Mother Earth.”

Rallies took place in several dozen cities, towns and reserves, in most provinces across the country, as the loosely organized protests spread.

Demonstrators say the omnibus bill (bill-c-45) being voted on this week by the Conservative federal government, as well as other changes to the Indian Act, were undertaken without consulting Indigenous leaders and will drastically lower the threshold of consent for community's to designate or surrender lands, as well as drastically lowering environmental protection for waterways.

The Assembly of First Nations released a statement alleging the reforms could go even further, toward the outright "termination" of aboriginal rights altogether.

The cross-country rallies came the same day as the announcement of a hunger strike by Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence. The federal government seized financial control over her reserve last winter, after she declared a state of emergency over housing conditions and poverty.

For more information on the movement, visit


Bill C-309 and its Discontents

On October 31, 2012, Parliament voted to approve Bill C-309, an amendment to Section 65 of the Canadian Criminal Code also known as the Preventing Persons from Concealing Their Identity during Riots and Unlawful Assemblies Act.

The bill will establish two new criminal offences, each with alarmingly harsh sentencing provisions. Once Bill C-309 becomes law, individuals charged with wearing a mask or other disguise while participating in a riot (defined as “an unlawful assembly that has begun to disturb the peace tumultuously”) will face an indictable offence carrying a maximum sentence of ten years; those charged with concealing their identity while participating in an unlawful assembly could face either an indictable offence—carrying a maximum sentence of five years—or a less serious summary offence. The crime of rioting currently carries a maximum two year sentence, whereas participation in an unlawful assembly is a basic summary offence.

Recent Conservative efforts such as C-309 are best understood as part of a massive expansion of this country's Prison-Industrial-Complex, and a shift towards a more Americanized system of incarceration, where prisons play the important role of both a lucrative site of corporate profit and a vital tool of State control.

For an indebth analysis of what Bill C-309 means to anti-authoritations, visit and look for "Bill c-309 and its Discontents article.


Canadian immigration changes force women to stay with sponsoring spouse for two years

As of Oct. 25, 2012, a new regulation imposes a two-year condition on all permanent residents who come to Canada as a sponsored spouse. The regulation applies to all sponsored spouses who at the time of the sponsorship application have resided for two years or less with their sponsors, and do not have any children in common. Once they arrive in Canada, the sponsored spouse must continue to cohabit with her sponsor in a conjugal relationship for at least two years, or risk losing her permanent resident status and ultimately be deported.

Women’s rights advocates and immigrant organizations warned federal Immigration Minister Jason Kenney that this rule would endanger the lives of women in abusive relationships, many of whom would be too ashamed and too afraid to speak out for fear of losing their immigration status.

The risk of deportation adds to the already enormous barriers faced by abused sponsored immigratn women.


Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois sentenced to 120 hours community service

The former student leader and spokesperson for CLASSE was found guilty in November, when Justice Denis Jacques ruled he had incited protesters to ignore court orders.

Jacques ruled that Nadeau-Dubois encouraged protesters to violate those injunctions with statements he made during an interview with Radio-Canada on May 13, 2012.

In a televised interview, Nadeau-Dubois's exact words were “I think that it is completely legitimate for students to undertake the means necessary to respect the democratic choice to strike. It’s completely regrettable that a minority of students are using the courts to go around decisions that were made collectively.

“If students need to form picket lines to ensure that their strike votes are respected, we think that’s completely legitimate.”

After being found guilty Nadeau-Dubois said he would appeal the verdict, and has raised more than $100,000 from supporters for his legal challenge.

Nadeau-Dubois contends that the ruling creates a precedent against spokespeople for organizations.


Kill Bill 115: Where is the movement going?

This past Monday, Ontario’s teachers, education workers and students turned up the heat on the Liberal minority government and Bill 115, which imposes a concessionary bargaining agenda on teachers unions and the school boards, and allows the cabinet to change tentative agreements and stop strikes without even legislative oversight.

Beginning on December 10th in Avon-Maitland and North East Districts, The Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) began their series of one-day district-wide strikes.

On the same day, the Ontario Secondary Schools Teachers Federation (OSSTF) implemented a coordinated work-to-rule campaign, with volunteer extracurricular activities coming to an end and teachers showing up 15 minutes before classes start and leaving 15 minutes after they end.

Furthermore, Students across highschools in Ontario walked out of class and also partook in other planned actions, while students in some elementary schools participated in sit-down strikes. It is important to note that The students have stepped out of the prevailing political narratives and have begun speaking out for themselves, however contradictory at times.

We will feature more on this issue after a brief interlude.

INTERLUDE: SONG: The Redskins "Go Get Organized"

And we are back, you just heard The Redskins with their song "GO Get Organized" on 100.3fm, CKMS Waterloo, Ontario and on the web.

You are listening to the Immigrant and Labour Justice edition of the Daily GRRR, my name is Stefan Ralli and we are now moving into the feature portion of our broadcast.

Today we provide more background on the teachers & education situation in Ontario and in Canada. I would like to borrow from the Toronto Industrial Workers of the World recent publication entitled "Class Room" which appeared early in December of this year.

You can read or download a copy of the newsletter at:

Article: "Austerity, Class War, and Classrooms: Why We Need Community Unionism

Interview: Ontario Teachers' Struggle Continues