May Day Statement

Dear Friends and Allies,

On May 1st, May Day, join our allies at the Solidarity against Austerity march.

Where?                 Human Rights Monument, Ottawa Ontario (Elgin and & Lisgar) 

When?                    4pm gathering & 5pm march.

We express our deep gratitude to our allies in the Labour movement who have and continue to provide solidarity and support in many ways with Deepan Budlakoti and his struggle against double punishment.

As we celebrate the 129th year of the origins of May Day, and the contributions the labour movement has made to promote a decent work agenda, equality and justice for all, we recognize the continued struggle of countless sisters and brothers who live and work within our borders without status or with temporary status.  Like Deepan, they contribute countless work hours often in precarious jobs.  Tens of thousands each year are told, although their labour is welcome, they and families left behind, cannot make Canada their home.  They typically have no or limited access to health care or other social services for which their meager wages contribute to supporting.   On May Day around the world, workers are rallying up against such injustice.

Amidst the recent nativist and xenophobic calls for enhanced deportations and crackdowns on migrant workers, we join our many allies in calling for status for all.  Rather than encouraging worker on worker aggression, we call for solidarity between workers, no matter your status. The politics of division only serve those who stand to benefit from exploitation and austerity.

We denounce unjust policies that by design promote exploitation and wage suppression, like Canada’s badly revamped Temporary Foreign Worker and International Mobility Programs, or this governments determined efforts to limit refugee support or the on-going reshaping of immigration policies that serve employers self interest rather than contributing to equitable nation building.

Such policies exploit all workers, including immigrants and non-status persons and promote greater precarity within the national labour force.

We call for greater reflection of the many workers struggling within an economic and political system that opts for austerity rather than justice.

Like Deepan, there are many workers, previously criminalized and despite having paid for their mistakes tragically realize the practice of double punishment persists.  Like Deepan they too are unable to work, due to heightened national INsecurity measures or criminal history checks that are increasingly being applied in workplaces across the country.   Criminal records checks limit accessibility to employment and re-direct more and more workers into an unemployable class, or force them to accept exploitative, dangerous and precarious jobs.

Deepan was born in Canada and has worked since he was fourteen. He has skills in construction work, forklift operation, tow truck driving, and dispatching.  He had been denied the right to earn a living and contribute economically to his community.  After much political pressure, Deepan recently secured a work permit and landed a job where he logged many overtime hours, a testament to his dedication and work ethic.

Deepan, like hundreds of thousands of workers in temporary or non-status situations, want to work, and contribute enormously to the economic and social justice of our communities.   This May Day it is time to change the path towards austerity and instead march for justice and status for all.

In Solidarity,

Justice for Deepan Support Committee