The two small boys whose bodies washed up on a Turkish beach Wednesday were Kurdish refugees from Kobane, Syria, whose family had been desperately trying to emigrate to Canada. Recent news about the death of the two small boys and their mother has brought light to the fact that Canada is in fact not only unwelcoming to refugee migrants, but also creating situations in which they are forced to risk their lives.
In response to this tragic situation Canadians are calling for support:
Environmental Justice groups will be joining our allies to say #RefugeesWelcome in Canada!
Increasingly, environmental factors, often caused by wars of the elite and conflicts over resource extraction, have become a leading cause of forced migration and displacement around the world. The Harper government refuses to take meaningful action on climate change and environmental regulation domestically and internationally, dooming millions to migrate due to drought, desertification, rising sea levels, and chemical pollution. At the same time, the Harper government’s policies entrench racist, anti-immigrant policies.
Currently, those displaced by environmental exploitation are not recognized under the refugee system, and the Canadian refugee law, changed by Bill C-31 is antagonistic at worst and inadequate at best to respond to the needs of refugees fleeing war and occupation. Instead the Canadian government allows for a select few migrants to work dangerous jobs in agriculture and the Alberta Tar Sands. This is an incredible violation of workers’ rights as these people are deemed good enough to work, but not good enough to stay. With Harper’s war on labour and his war on workers, we will stand up and we will not stay silent!
Canada must stop denying its involvement in forced migration and displacement as it is home to many of the corporate institutions wreaking havoc on the environment. Canada’s involvement in undemocratic institutions such as the G8/G20 and the WTO, and their imperial cronies at the World Bank and IMF, is allowing corporate and predatory control of the land, water, and air through mining, industrial agriculture and monocultures, overfishing, and logging. The elite in Canada have been funding wars and occupation that are destroying land, and forcing people to leave their homes. Canada has been dropping bombs on Syria for over a year contributing to the forced migration across borders It has been reported that even the recent announcement that Canada will “allow” 10,000 Syrian’s to seek refuge here in Canada has not been implemented. Those stepping up to sponsor families to come to Canada are being told it will take 48 months to process an application. To date approximately 250 Syrians have been granted refuge in Canada. Yet many more families are dying as they try to escape the bombing.
As the Harper government exploits the environment through its continuation of a colonial agenda, it targets the lives and livelihoods of Indigenous people, poor people, women, rural people, and people of colour.
Environmental Justice means we take down the walls that divide us!
FREEDOM to Move, FREEDOM to Return, and FREEDOM to Stay!