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network 14/06/2017 - 11:00AM

Report back on OSER RÊVER DE JUSTICE

Each summer, thousands of migrant workers work on farms across the country through the Temporary Foreign Workers Program. To bring attention to the precarious and exploitive work conditions faced by migrant agricultural workers across Quebec, Cinema Politica joined the Temporary Foreign Workers Association (TFWA) and the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) on OSER RÊVER DE JUSTICE, a five-city tour of Min Sook Lee and Lisa Valencia-Svensson’s award-winning and Cinema Politica-distributed MIGRANT DREAMS.

Occurring only months after a dozen Guatemalan workers were arrested and detained in Victoriaville by the Canadian Border Service Agency, this tour could not be more necessary. One of these workers, Juan Godoy, accompanied the tour to share his testimony as an agricultural worker in Quebec, along with migrant justice activist Niel La Dode who spoke about the TFWA’s work and Viviana Medina who provided critical context to the experience of female migrant workers in Quebec.

After the buzz of our morning Montreal press conference on the 31st, we travelled to Victoriaville, an agricultural hub in the province. There, we were warmly welcomed by François Melançon of the Association des groupes d'éducation populaire autonome who shared his reflections about how the case of the Guatemalan workers had largely disappeared from the public eye in Victoriaville.

Next, we travelled to Chicoutimi and were hosted by IWC organizers Jorge Frozzini and Elizabeth Muñoz, who organized a screening and 5 à 7 with community members and professors from Université du Québec à Chicoutimi. With an engaged and lengthy discussion after the screening in a packed theatre, Jorge and Elisabeth were excited that the event would help give momentum to their local organizing as a branch of the IWC.

After Chicoutimi, the tour team went to Québec City where they were greeted by Cinema Politica Université Laval organizers Karen Bouchard and Kevin Villeneuve-Tremblay. The screening took place at the Graduate Students Association café bar Fou AELIÉS and was followed by a round table focussing on the issues affecting migrant workers in Québec. Earlier that day, the tour team, hoping to connect with isolated workers, traveled to Île d’Orléans, an island that was one of the first parts of the province colonized by the French and which is now known as the “Garden of Quebec’’ due to its massive agricultural production.

The last stop of the tour brought everyone to the Coopérative de Solidarité le Chez-Nous in Mascouche/Terrebonne. This screening was a moment of celebration for the victory of the Mauritian migrant workers employed in industrial slaughterhouses who successfully fought against the four year limit for temporary foreign workers. Hosted by organizer and Mauritian community member Francisco Mootoo, the evening was filled with food, film, music, dancing and community.

With Trudeau’s government condoning and continuing the systematic violence of the Temporary Foreign Workers Program, Min Sook Lee’s MIGRANT DREAMS is a powerful tool for organizers and workers. Here at CP, we join the Immigrant Workers Centre and the Temporary Foreign Workers Association, as well as countless other migrant justice activists and migrant workers across so-called Canada, in demanding permanent residence upon arrival for all workers and an end to the exploitive working conditions enabled by the TFWP!

 

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