Immigration Minister's Speech Disrupted by Protesters

posted on June 01, 2006 | in Category Canada's Immigration Policy | PermaLink

Original author: sans frontieres! - sansfrontieres at resist dot ca Source: SAB Email List URL: N/A Date: June 1 2006 Speech By Canadian Immigration Minister Disrupted byImmigrant Rights Protesters Monte Solberg flees event as demonstrators demand a moratorium on all deportations and the regularization of all non-status migrants

May 31, 2006, OTTAWA -- Canadian Immigration Minister Monte Solberg fled the Christ Church Anglican Cathederal just seconds after beginning a scheduled speech this evening. He left abruptly after being directly confronted about his government's policy on deportations, and lack of action on regularization, by immigrant rights protesters from Ottawa and Montreal. --> Photos of the disruption are available at: [link] --> The flyer passed out during the disruption ? "Why we're protesting" -- is linked at: [link] Monte Solberg was due to address the Annual Meeting of Citizens for Public Justice on the theme of "Welcome the Stranger: Becoming Neighbours". At least a dozen members of Solidarity Across Borders and No One Is Illegal-Montreal came to Ottawa to attend the speech, and were joined by immigrant rights allies in Ottawa.Solberg began his speech alluding to the evening theme when a member of Solidarity Across Borders stood up to denounce his hypocrisy. Others present began speaking about neighbors and friends who had been deported, despite pleas made directly to Solberg and his government colleagues.

The policies of the Conservative government -- who support the "Safe Third Country Agreement", oppose an appeals division at the Immigration and Refugee Board, have increased spending on police and border enforcement, and have refused to consider a regularization program for non-status migrants -- was also highlighted during the heckling. Several protesters referred to the arrest of children in Toronto-area schools by deportation agents of the Canadian Border Services Agency (the responsibility of Public Security Minister Stockwell Day, a colleague of Minister Solberg).

As some demonstrators spoke out, others passed out a flyer prepared for the occasion entitled "Why we are protesting!" to the assembled audience, many of whom were upset that Solberg's speech had been effectively disrupted. The flyer included facts about Monte Solberg, Immigration Canada and the Conservative government. Banners that had been used during the recent Status for All National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights were also displayed throughout the intervention.

Solberg immediately left the venue, searching for his limousine. The entire way he was surrounded by protesters, who vented on Solberg for recent deportations, as well as to press for an immediate moratorium on all deportations.

Throughout the barrage by demonstrators, Solberg remained silent, except for one comment: "The police will take care of this."

Solberg was able to enter his limo, but it was blocked for at least 15 minutes before the arrival of Ottawa-area police. One of the many slogans, in English and French, by the protesters was: "Immigrant rights under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back!"

The police presence didn't stop the protest, as unprepared police officers arrested a few demonstrators who were promptly un-arrested. Eventually, more police came and cleared a path for Solberg's limo to depart the scene

--> Photos from today's disruption are linked at: [link]

--> The flyer passed out during the disruption ? "Why we're protesting" -- is linked at: [link]

--> A Photo Essay about the May 27 STATUS FOR ALL National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights is linked at: [link]

--> The text of the flyer passed out in Montreal on May 27 is linked at: [link]