(Saturday) Rally: No borders, no prisons!

No Borders! No Prisons! In honour of migrant detainee strikers in Lindsay, Ontario and to demand an end to migrant detention and the entire racist prison system


In front of the Laval Immigration Detention Centre (200 Montée St-François) and the Federal Training Centre, a federal prison across the street.

Saturday, September 20, 2014
Noon to 2pm

–> Meet-up and departure from Montreal : see below

On September 20th, join us to commemorate the struggles of migrants and prisoners.

This September will mark the one-year anniversary of the historic strike led by 191 migrant detainees in Lindsay, Ontario. We will commemorate this strike by holding a rally in front of the Laval Immigration Detention Centre, the largest migrant detention centre in the country, and in front of the Federal Training Centre, a federal prison just across the street.

For an end to migrant detention, and to the entire racist prison system!

Getting there from Montreal:

–> By bus : A bus will be leaving from the parking lot behind Sophie-Barat School (750 East Gouin Bvld, on the corner of Henri Bourassa and St-Hubert, metro Henri-Bourassa) at 11:00.

No reservation required; however, please arrive at 10:30 am to ensure you get a seat. We are asking for voluntary contributions of up to $10 per person to help pay for the bus (but no one will be turned away for lack of funds; we pay what we can).

–> By bike : A bike contingent will be leaving the parking lot behind Sophie-Barat School (750 East Gouin Bvld, on the corner of Henri Bourassa and St-Hubert, metro Henri-Bourassa) at 11:00 SHARP!

Between 10am and 11am, there will be a bike mechanic on hand offering a last-minute, mini tune-up!

If you are joining the bike contingent, please email solidaritesansfrontieres@gmail.com to confirm and receive the details.

–> By car: If you are heading to the detention centre by car and have some space for people, please let us know in advance and show up at the rendez-vous point (see above) at 10:30.

To get to the centre, take the 440 East from Highway 15 (or Highway 19/Papineau) and take the exit for Montée St-François.

September 17th : who are the Lindsay strikers?

This September 17th will mark the one-year anniversary of the strike undertaken by 191 migrant detainees in Lindsay, Ontario. Many detainees had just been transfered to the Central East Correction Centre, a maximum security provincial prison in Lindsay, Ontario, far from their families and support networks. On September 17th, 2013, 191 migrant detainees refused to enter their prison cells, creating the largest migrant detainee strike in Canadian history. Several detainees fasted for over 60 days.

Strikers had four demands: 1) Freedom for the wrongly jailed: Release all migrant detainees who have been held for longer than 90 days; 2) End arbitrary and indefinite detention: If removal cannot happen within 90 days, immigration detainees must be released. (Limits on detention periods are recommended by the United Nations, and are the law in the United States and the European Union.) 3) No maximum security holds: Immigration detainees should not be held in maximum security provincial jails and they must have access to basic services and be close to family members; 4) Overhaul the adjudication process: Give migrants fair and full access to judicial review, legal aid, bail programs and pro bono representation.

There are still about 190 strikers in Lindsay. Some of the 2013 strikers have been deported, others transferred, while new detainees have joined the group. The strike has turned into a boycott of detention review hearings.

This September 20th, why act?

For us, September 20th is more than a commemorative event. We denounce systems of incarceration, from immigrant detention centres to provincial and federal prisons. We oppose the widespread criminalization that targets poor, marginalized, and often racialized communities in order to prop up a profitable prison-industrial complex, while justifying laws that are increasingly repressive.

Drastic changes to both criminal and immigration law have meant increases in imprisoned populations in both immigrant detention centres and prisons. Between 2008 and 2011, about 82 000 migrants were detained. On average, in 2012/2013, there were 40,000 people in prison in Canada on any given day. An additional 120,000 people were under supervision by the courts and police through community programs such as probation, conditional sentences or parole.

In 2012, 289 children of migrants were detained, many of whom were under the age of 10. The government gives two options to migrant detainees with children: give them up to foster care or bring them to detention. Migrants without papers are created by a racist immigration system that destroys families in countless ways.

Systemic racism is foundational to the prison system. As of 2011/2012, indigenous people made up 4% of the Canadian adult population, but 28% of the Canadian adult population in prison. The number of indigenous women behind bars in Canada continues to climb. Canada has never stopped being a racist, colonial state and the high numbers of indigenous people are prison is only one part of the evidence.

Every day, the Canadian government spends $239 on migrant detention. This sytem creates profit for several private security companies, such as Garda and G4S. Head-quartered in Montreal, Garda, a multi-national private security company, has a contract with the Canadian Borders and Services Agency (CBSA), worth millions of dollars annually, to run the Laval detention centre. In Toronto, G4S and Corbal pocket millions of dollars for contracts in prisons and migrant detention centres. In 2007, G4S signed a contract for Israeli prisons, to participate in Israeli apartheid as well as Canadian.

In 2011/2012, the total operating costs for correctional services in Canada were more than $4 billion. One year ago, prisoners in federal prisons across the country went on strike to protest cuts to their pay. They used to make $6.90 a day, now they make $3 a day. The strikes lasted almost two months in some prisons, but the government was unwilling to negotiate.