On July 27th, migrant justice activists held a picnic on the site where the Canadian government proposes building a new prison for migrants in Laval. Surrounded by prisons, the event was a temporary occupation of the site; a transformation through poetry, painting, music, dance and laughter; an incitation to reclaim the site for community, to close prisons and open borders.
The press conference aimed to send a clear message to Yannick Tisseur, president of Construction Tisseur: this is not a neutral project. By accepting this contract, you are taking sides, helping to deprive people of their freedom and safety. You are positioning yourself on the side of a violent system of global apartheid based on wealth and privilege.
The CBSA quietly awarded the GC contract to a company based in Val David called Tisseur Inc. Tisseur is a construction company with a history of building schools and bridges, and at $50 million, this is by far the biggest contract they have received to date. They have already posted over a dozen job listings online since signing this contract.
On the day of solidarity with long-term anarchist prisoners, the BMW belonging to André Cardinal, parked in front of his private residence in NDG, was set on fire. André Cardinal is the Vice President of Lemay, the architecture firm designing the migrant prison in Laval.
May fires burn for all that the worlds of prison and borders have stolen from us.
Thanks largely to a donation of organic seeds by a Quebec-based cooperative farm, we sowed the 377,500 square meter construction site with 490kg of oats, peas and fava beans. This action builds on the work of other community members and aims to encourage further efforts to stop the construction of the prison. We also see it as a way of preparing the ground for other projects to collectively reappropriate this land for the common purposes. No prisons, no borders!
A few nights ago we stumbled upon an Englobe work vehicle. Englobe is an environmental engineering company subcontracted to perform site evaluation for the migrant prison in Laval. We smashed out the windshield, slashed all the tires, and spray-painted “No Migrant Prison” on the side.
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.