Ian Capstick, supporting his new macho, Mulcair-like beard, boasted tonight on the CBC Newsworld Power Panel, about how hawkish he is on immigration and refuge policy, talking up his friend Jason Kenney's new-wave of immigration controls.
Mr. Capstick, quickly and conveniently attempted to guide the conversation of todays "human trafficking" arrests away from any issues of race. The issues that he was so carefully trying to avoid are the obvious racist implication of mass arrests of Romani people, held more or less indefinitely and without bail or legal recourse by a government with a history of racism. Meanwhile, not a single person who organized the "smuggling" effort, has been arrested. (And you can bet that those people aren't Romani) And what Mr. Capstick doesn't want to talk about is the very simple fact that such talk will expose Kenney's policies - and Capstick's support of those policies - as what they are, to wit: strait-up racist.
Mr. Capstick told us that he doesn't want lots of people (he might as well have used the phrase 'hordes') coming into "his" country in nefarious ways. Typical talk of racists everywhere at all times is to hide behind patriotic rhetoric in their efforts of exclusion The problem is, Mr. Capstick, that, let's face it, that's how we all got here. You might call it "my" country but we Europeans are only here because we stole all the land and indiscriminately killed all those who opposed us. And our governments continue to engage in a ruthless process of genocide of the first inhabitants, while you talk about defending the borders of "Your" country.
At the heart of Jason Kenney's legislative efforts has been massive increases in the Government's and the Minister's power to pick and choose who gets in and who doesn't, to increase their power to expel and exclude, to make the all-mighty dollar the only real criteria for immigration, and to cut off the rights of immigrants and refugees at every corner. And Mr. Capstick's new found hawkishness and machismo should be put in the historical context of a nation that exists on a policy of theft and racism. And until the Canadian government puts an end to the systematic genocide of first nations people, gives them a major role in deciding immigration policies, treats immigrants and refugees in a humane manner, and takes away the government's power to incarcerate and expel people at their own whim, I will continue to raise an skeptical eyebrow at talk of "my" country and hawkish immigration policies.
The problem is that systemic racism has often tried to hide behind a waving flag or supposedly sober talk of protecting "our" borders or "our" culture. But as long as such talk is used to justify the abandonment of human rights, you've lost me. And you certainly lost me today Mr. Capstick.
I will side with Eugene Debbs - "While there is a lower-class, I am in it, while there is a criminal element, I am of it, and while there is a soul in prison, I am not free."
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