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Demonstrators Send Message to Immigration Minister Sean Fraser: The “Right Thing to Do” is Status for All!

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Montreal, 17 July 2022 – Migrants and their supporters marched in Montreal on Sunday to hold the federal government to its promise of a regularization programme for undocumented migrants in Canada, calling for a fully inclusive, ongoing regularization programme that leaves no one behind.

In response to years of mobilization, in December 2021 Justin Trudeau mandated the current federal Immigration Minister, Sean Fraser, to regularize undocumented migrants. In an interview published last week, Fraser committed to making good on this mandate, because “it is the right thing to do.”

“Regularization is indeed the right thing to do,” said Mamadou, an undocumented organizer with Solidarity Across Borders (SAB). “But no half measures or exclusionary criteria. We all need equal access to status!” Migrant-led organizations like SAB and the Migrant Rights Network are calling for a simple and accessible regularization program without barriers like excessive paperwork or exclusions and inadmissibilities.

An estimated 500,000 migrants live in Canada without a valid permit (“undocumented”) because of Canada’s unjust and violent border system. They are our neighbours, our co-workers, they are part of our communities – but are not recognized as persons by the Canadian state. Undocumented migrant Andres shared his frustration: “I have travelled through 5 different countries,” he said, “all just to try to find a safe place where my wife and I can live, where my kids can grow up. I can’t believe that once again we are forced to live in hiding.”

 

“Being undocumented leaves migrants vulnerable to exploitation and abuse in their workplaces,” commented Mostafa Henaway from the Immigrant Workers’ Centre (IWC). “Regularization means the freedom to organize and defend our rights like anyone else.”

 

The call for status for all is supported by 483 different organizations across Canada, including Quebec’s Ligue des droits et libertés (LDL). “We’re calling for a comprehensive, ongoing program of regularization for all undocumented people in Quebec and Canada, explained LDL President Alexandra Pierre. “It is possible to do it, in our opinion, because we know Canada and Quebec have already done it. Of course in piecemeal fashion, and certainly imperfectly, but without great administrative difficulty or harmful consequences. It’s time to follow through and propose a broad, universal program that leaves no one behind.”

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Sierra Leone: 8 killed in anti-government protests

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Sierra Leone: 8 killed in anti-government protests

Freetown, Sierra Leone- Eight police officers have been killed in anti-government protests that erupted on Wednesday over inflation and the rising cost of living.

According to Youth Minister Mohamed Orman Bangura, hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the capital, Freetown where the protests grew violent at times.

“We are yet to know how many people were injured, but I can confirm that eight police officers were killed. Those are not protesters. There is a difference between protest and riot and acts of terrorism (sic). Protesting is different from acting as a terrorist going against the State and killing young police officers.

This was well planned, calculated and financed by members of the opposition, All People’s Congress. Members of the opposition paid young people to come to the street to take over governance.

If the protest is a result of the cost of living, why is it not happening in all the strongholds of the current government? Why is it Makeni that happens to be the headquarters town of the opposition? Why is it not a nationwide strike? Out of 16 districts, why is it only in three districts that they (the opposition) think is their stronghold,” said the Minister.

Discontent has been boiling over for a number of reasons, including a perceived lack of government support for ordinary people who are struggling.

Long-standing frustration has also been exacerbated by rising prices for basic goods in Sierra Leone, where more than half the population of around 8 million lives below the poverty line, according to the World Bank.

Earlier on Wednesday, internet observatory, NetBlocks said Sierra Leone faced a near-total internet shutdown during the protests, with national connectivity at five percent of ordinary levels.

The government has since imposed a nationwide curfew which was imposed on Wednesday in a bid to stem the violence.

“As a government, we have the responsibility to protect every citizen of Sierra Leone. What happened today was unfortunate and will be fully investigated,” said President Julius Maada Bio.

Footage circulating on social media showed crowds of demonstrators burning tires in Freetown and other groups of young men throwing rocks at security forces which have also been castigated by Vice-President Mohamed Juldeh Jalloh

“These unscrupulous individuals have embarked on a violent and unauthorized protest which has led to the loss of lives of innocent Sierra Leoneans including security personnel,” said the  Vice-President.

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North Korea Kim Jong-un declares victory over COVID-19

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North Korea Kim Jong-un declares victory over COVID-19

Pyongyang, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)- DPRK leader, Kim Jong-un, has declared victory over the COVID-19 pandemic citing that the Asian country will soon relax its COVID-19 restrictions.

During a speech on Thursday, Kim hailed doctors and other health workers and asserted that the country had wiped out the pathogen within its borders.

“The painful quarantine war has come to an end, and today we have finally declared victory. (The government will immediately) lower the quarantine level from the maximum emergency quarantine system that has been in operation since May 12,” said Kim.

However, Kim said the country must still maintain a “steel-strong anti-epidemic barrier and intensify the anti-epidemic work until the end of the global health crisis.”

Health officials also said that the country was running intensive medical checks nationwide, with daily PCR tests on water collected in borderline areas among the measures.

Nevertheless, the World Health Organization (WHO) has cast doubts on DPRK’s claims, saying last month it believed the situation was getting worse, not better, amid an absence of independent data.

Since May, the country reported more than 4.7 million cases of fever symptoms, afflicting nearly a fifth of its population of 25 million. At its peak, it reported more than 750 000 fever cases in one day. It now claims just 74 fever patients or about 0.002 percent have died, which would make its fatality rate the lowest in the world.

Experts warn that these numbers cannot be independently verified, especially given the exodus of international aid workers from the country, which sealed its already-tight borders during the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have hastily erected three makeshift hospitals in Tibet, after the autonomous region recorded its first COVID-19 outbreak. The new facilities provide 2 000 beds in the capital, Lhasa, and 1 000 in the city of Shigatse.

Tibet reported 28 COVID-19 cases on Tuesday and has imposed a partial lockdown of Lhasa including the famed Potala Palace, the traditional winter residence of the Dalai Lamas, while it mass tests its people to root out hidden chains of transmission.

With the onset of the northern summer holiday season, and its international borders effectively closed, China is grappling with flare-ups in multiple tourism hotspots, and local officials are turning to the COVID-Zero playbook of movement restrictions, mass testing and surveillance to try to get the cases under control. The virus is spreading fast in areas including Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and Guangdong.

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Luxury goods tax on super-rich could hit green cars: experts

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Luxury goods tax on super-rich could hit green cars: experts

OTTAWA — Tax experts are warning a new tax on yachts, luxury cars and private aircraft designed to hit the super-rich could also cover some electric and hybrid cars.

A luxury goods tax, which will come into force in three weeks, will cover cars and SUVs, as well as private planes and helicopters worth more than $100,000.

The federal government will also bring in a tax on Sept. 1 on superyachts and motorboats worth more than $250,000.

Adrienne Vaupshas, a spokeswoman for Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, said the measures, originally proposed in the 2021 budget, are very popular with the public and are not designed to hit the middle class.

The tax amounts to either 10 per cent of the taxable amount of the vehicle or 20 per cent of the amount over the price threshold — whichever is less.

But senior tax lawyer Héléna Gagné says it could hit some electric and hybrid vehicles, such as certain Teslas, as well as planes bought by enthusiasts as a hobby.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 11, 2022.

 

The Canadian Press

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