There’s nothing wrong with the Canadian immigration system, right? Well, not exactly. In this issue of Dimension we show you how the spatial restructuring of capital is shifting Canadian immigration policy away from humanitarian grounds and towards economic necessity. This comes, of course, without accompanying benefits, rights, equal pay or job security for any of the migrant workers, refugees or immigrants. We also profile the struggle of working people in Canada against the damages of the economic crisis, giving you more reason to continually press for workers’ rights.
Despite many struggles and victories, workers’ rights are anything but secure – especially in these economically turbulent times – and this issue of CD gives you some examples. Union in-fighting can target and harm rank-and-file workers, argues Robert Hickey, as he outlines the case of Holiday Inn workers in St. Catherines, ON. Stan Gray tells the story of a steel mill worker’s tumultuous experience fighting for safe working practices, extended leave for injured workers, and other basic workers’ rights.
Our focus on immigration features three great stories that display the life of immigrants and migrant workers in Canada. Chris Webb dispels the myth of “benevolent western states welcoming the dispossessed with open arms” by explaining how migrant workers are victims of both the global capitalist system and discriminatory immigration policies. Angela Day discusses the difficulty of Mexicans fearing persecution at home finding refuge in Canada. And a mother and daughter from Leamington, ON contrast their experiences of tomato harvesting to that of the Mexican migrant workers who, despite arriving year after year, are continually treated as labourers only, not citizens.
So, where is the political response to the economic crisis? Right here, in Dimension! We show you the signs of resistance: protests throughout Europe, Ireland, Britain and Spain; workers’ strikes in Guadeloupe; and the European governments that have fallen because of this crisis. Also, Herman Rosenfeld describes the May meeting of the Stewards’ Assembly – a group of over 1,600 stewards organized by the Toronto Labour Council. He outlines the limitations of the meeting and asks some critical questions in hopes that this will be the beginning of an ongoing movement and a counterforce to the “ideological assault being waged against the rights of unions and working people.”
We also have two great book reviews for you this month. Henry Heller discusses Bryan Palmer’s Canada’s 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era and Simon Black praises Jim Stanford’s Economics for Everyone, a text on the economics of capitalism.