We, the undersigned groups and individuals, are joining the struggle to stop the construction of a new prison for migrants in Laval, scheduled to open in 2021.
Is the imprisonment of migrants in Canada new?
No. Canada has detained migrants and refugees since it was founded as a state, inheriting the practice from England, which used it to control access to the lands it had colonized. At various times through its history, Canada has detained migrants in quarantine and internment camps, sheds at entry ports, converted hotels, and regular prisons.
The success of the demo’s attack on Lemay was also an exciting development in the struggle against the migrant prison. Lemay has already been attacked multiple times in the past year (its condo projects have been attacked, and the building it is headquartered in had crickets released into it and all its locks destroyed as well), but these attacks have not been as public as this demonstration, and have presumably involved smaller groups of people. We are heartened by the strength and solidity of hundreds of people who stood and stayed together while this abhorrent architecture firm had its building fucked with in broad daylight. It’s this kind of collective strength and daring that will continue to be necessary as the fight to prevent the construction of the prison heats up in the coming months.
May 1st was created out of workers’ struggles leaded by immigrants. The struggle took place on this continent more than a hundred years ago. Today, globalized imperialist capitalism created conditions which forces millions of people to leave their home in order to find a refuge to survive. These millions of people are place in situations of extreme vulnerability, creating a stateless and exploitable population. According to an article published in the Devoir today, the risk to suffer from workplace accident causing severe wounds or death is twice as high for foreign workers.
Early in February, it became public that the bidding period for the General Contractor contract had opened for the project, and that there would be a site visit held on February 20th at 10am for all interested bidders. So, early in the morning on February 20th, a group of people gathered to take a bus out to the construction site in Laval.
Citizenship can only exist and be valued if there is also a category of others, those without status. For this distinction to exist, it must be enforced by the state, which has a number of tools to do so. Deportation is one such tool.
A new migrant prison is being built in Laval, right beside the old one. Far from ending detention, the state has responded to popular mobilizations against the imprisonment of migrants …
Anonymous submission to MTL Counter-info
From the 21st to 26th of October, 2018, Montreal will be the site of the International Corrections and Prisons Association (ICPA) conference, hosted by Correctional Services Canada. The theme this year is “Beyond Prisons: The Way Forward.” Highlighted as topics of some of the conversations are: going forward to make imprisonment and community supervision both more humane and effective, using technology to humanize corrections, and improving community engagement.
In the past year, tens of thousands of people have entered Canada from the US on foot, seeking a safe haven. Every day more people are arriving. This phenomenon is often referred to Trump, but it must be understood in the global context: worldwide, more than 21 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of wars, political oppression, military violence, extractivism, climate change, etc. – conditions created by imperialist states like Canada and the United States.
One morning in April 2018, our amateur construction crew released thousands of crickets into the newly built headquarters of the Montreal architecture company Lemay. We pulled a sheet of plywood off the side of the building and funneled the crickets into a recently completed office space. Lemay, along with Quebec-City based company Groupe A, has been awarded a contract to build a new immigration detention centre in Laval, a suburb of Montreal. It is slated to open in 2020. We oppose borders, prisons, and immigration detention centres. We struggle for a world where people are free to stay and free to move; a world without white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy.