If the refugee rights movement recognizes “a major change” in the tone of governments regarding the status of asylum seekers who work as “guardian angels” in Quebec health centers, it is a firm commitment that activists are demanding. Saturday morning, there were a few hundred to demonstrate by car, bicycle or on foot in Montreal.
Demonstrators again met in front of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s constituency office on Crémazie Boulevard East. This was a second demonstration for the Stand Up for Dignity group, which already held a caravan of cars on May 23.
The movement is calling for special status to be granted to asylum seekers who are fighting the COVID-19 pandemic in residential and long-term care centers as well as in other establishments where there is a shortage of workers. work is glaring.
Following the first demonstration and a wave of support among the population, the Premier of Quebec François Legault changed his approach in the face of those whom he himself described as “guardian angels” taking care elders. The Prime Minister has asked that each case be assessed in order to receive some of these people as immigrants and not as refugees.
For the president and founder of the Standing for Dignity group, Wilner Cayo, this “case by case” is not acceptable since, according to him, we find ourselves faced with “the same logic of exclusion”.
“We are asking for an extraordinary measure to accommodate all essential workers seeking asylum,” he insists. It’s a question of humanity, fairness, justice. These people are paying a heavy price, they are contributing to this war effort. “
M. Cayo, doctoral student in theology, reminds the government that these people are not a burden on Quebec society since they all work in essential positions that are extremely difficult to fill. “They are rather a gift!” We have seen how they fought, how they give themselves and respond present, “continues the organizer of the mobilization.
The interim leader of the Parti Québécois, Pascal Bérubé, believes that we have “a duty of gratitude” to “these people from elsewhere who helped us during the pandemic”. He says he supports the Legault government’s approach to assessing files on a case-by-case basis and would not be ready to support an emergency measure for all asylum seekers who have worked in essential work.
“It is not automatic. I think the first step that has been taken is a step in the right direction because the cases are not all the same, he replies. You have to be grateful and sensitive to these people and you gain from knowing them. This is what explains our presence here. “
The procession circulated in the streets bordering the federal riding of Papineau, represented by Justin Trudeau, to the sound of horns and slogans of solidarity.
There are no precise data on the number of asylum seekers working in accommodation or care centers, but they are estimated at several hundred, even a few thousand.