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.
We shut off access to the building by gluing all the locks, smashing the electronic sensors that permit access to the building by key cards, and u-locking door handles together at multiple entrances. The garage doors were blocked by a combination of spike strips and smoke bombs, which were rigged to go off if the garage doors opened. We assume that employees and company clients had a hard time accessing the building the next day, and hope they will continue to feel the effects of escalating actions against them and others involved in the project.
Idil from Solidarity Across Borders wrapped up with a powerful speech, beginning with Home by poet Warsan Shire, and concluding, “They can dress this project up as nicely as they want but those of us here see it for what it is and it is our responsibility to make sure we let as many others as we can know as well. It is our responsibility to push back against this project, to fight, and to ensure that it never sees the light of day.”
Like ICE in the United States, the Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) operates a deportation force, tearing migrants away from their friends and loved ones on a daily basis in the name of a colonial nation-state’s rule of law. Though brutal and well organized, this immigration enforcement system is not a faceless machine. The agents who carry out its vital functions have names and addresses, which is what concerns us today. Well, their names at least.
Prison profiteers must not sleep peacefully. The companies considering taking contracts for the construction of the new migrant prison in Laval should think twice.
On the night of March 19th, the sales office of Humaniti had its windows smashed and two Lowney towers were redecorated using paint-filled fire extinguishers. What do these condo developments have in common? They were both designed by the Lemay architecture firm, which is helping to build a new migrant prison in Laval, Quebec.
The government has announced that they are extending the bidding period until April 1, 2019. We hope this means that the companies have received many calls and are refusing to bid on the contract! Regardless, even a small delay of the construction calendar is welcome. We encourage people to keep calling until April 1st to make our message clear! See revised details below, including contact information for one additional company.