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VANCOUVER—Hundreds of people took to Vancouver's streets last week to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Racism.
Representatives from Coast Salish Territories and the grassroots anti-colonial immigrant and refugee rights collective No One is Illegal rallied close to 500 supporters under the shadow of the Price Waterhouse Cooper building in downtown Vancouver.
Once the march got underway, the streets were electrified with speakers and music. Organizers denounced Canada’s genocidal legacy, the occupation of Palestine, Iraq and Afghanistan as well as Immigration Minister Jason Kenney’s modifications to Bill C-50, the
Live-in Care Giver Program and the $53-million budget cuts to immigrant and refugee servicing agencies.
Announced in December, those changes empowered Kenney to decide who can and cannot stay in Canada, while the budget cuts were meant to reduce government spending and redistribute the "savings" across the provinces.
Stopping at the Canadian Department of Immigration on Burrard and Robson, march organizers called for a stop to the theft of Indigenous lands and freedom from police violence, imprisonment and deportation.
Immigrants and Indigenous peoples remain over-represented in the Canadian criminal system, are subject to a high child apprehension rate, low education and income levels and often dwell in substandard
Adriana Paz, of Justicia for Migrant Workers, denounced the myth that Canada embraces multiculturalism, and that Canada is a multicultural paradise where everybody gets along.
"Why is it that the poorest people in this country are indigenous people, why is it that immigrants of color still earn the lowest wages, why is it that in Canadian institutions, organizations and universities it's
only white people that have the power and privilege to make decisions for everybody else?" she asked
The march continued down Hornby Street before wrapping up with music, food and speeches behind the Vancouver Art Gallery.
Photos by Murray Bush/Flux Photo.
This article was originally published the Vancouver Media Co-op.
The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.