Some countries manage to create the illusion of being a ”nice” country and keep the nasty side in low profile. Canada is one of those countries, the great outdoors and land of opportunity, but the same shit goes on there as else where in the capitalist world. Some months ago there was the student riots, which once again proved that under capitalism, anger and discontent are always simmering under the surface, ready to explode. More recently the way the Canadian government treats immigrants has been leaking out. In Canada the authorities can hold immigrants indefinitely in detention, and do.
According to figures released by the organisation No One is Illegal, between 2004 and 2011, the Canadian authorities locked up, 82,000 people in immigration detention, and since 2011, at least another 25,000 people have been detained. Of those detained in 2012, a staggering 289 were children, some under the age of ten. Approximately 33% of immigration detainees are held in maximum-security provincial prisons. Of course this is capitalism and immigration detention centres are big business, and in Canada that business is worth $50 million, and is run in partnership with private companies. Big international vultures like G4S and Corbel Management have their greedy hands in the pot. Recent figures show that in Toronto alone, these two companies, between 2004 and 2008, were paid $19 million of tax payers money to lock up immigrants.
At present Canada accepts less than a quarter of all refugee claimants, and with recent legislation, immigrants are classed as “non-status people” a precarious position to be in as they are targeted in raids and detentions. To add to the difficulties of of those detained, approximately 200 immigration detainees have recently been moved from prisons in the Greater Toronto Area and sent to a maximum-security prison in Lindsay, Ontario. This has created greater difficulties for the detainees who have friends and families and adds to their desperation and isolation. Due to under staffing these immigrants now face lockdowns and in some cases are unable to leaver their cells for 18 hours a day.
However, as always, people who are ill treated eventually try to hit back in self defence and since September 18, many detainees are on hunger strike. They are calling for better access to medical care, better food, adequate legal aid and services, cheaper phone calls, and an end to the persistent lockdowns.
Canada, just another capitalist country, knee deep in fire tinder, waiting for the spark.