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(en) Canadian Immigration Minister flees as speech is disrupted by immigrant rights protesters

Date Thu, 1 Jun 2006 12:15:41 +0200 (CEST)

-- Speech by Canadian Immigration Minister is disrupted by immigrant
rights protesters
-- Monte Solberg flees event as demonstrators demand a moratorium on all
deportations and the regularization of all non-status migrants
May 31, 2006, OTTAWA -- Canadian Immigration Minister Monte Solberg fled
the Christ Church Anglican Cathederal just seconds after
beginning a scheduled speech this evening. He left abruptly after
being directly confronted about his government's policy on
deportations, and lack of action on regularization, by immigrant
rights protesters from Ottawa and Montreal.
--> Photos of the disruption are available at:

--> The flyer passed out during the disruption ? "Why we're
protesting" -- is linked at:

Monte Solberg was due to address the Annual Meeting of Citizens for Public
Justice on the theme of "Welcome the Stranger: Becoming
Neighbours". At least a dozen members of Solidarity Across Borders and No
One Is Illegal-Montreal came to Ottawa to attend the speech, and were
joined by immigrant rights allies in Ottawa.

Solberg began his speech alluding to the evening theme when a member of
Solidarity Across Borders stood up to denounce his hypocrisy.
Others present began speaking about neighbors and friends who had been
deported, despite pleas made directly to Solberg and his government

The policies of the Conservative government -- who support the "Safe Third
Country Agreement", oppose an appeals division at the
Immigration and Refugee Board, have increased spending on police and
border enforcement, and have refused to consider a regularization
program for non-status migrants -- was also highlighted during the
heckling. Several protesters referred to the arrest of children in
Toronto-area schools by deportation agents of the Canadian Border
Services Agency (the responsibility of Public Security Minister
Stockwell Day, a colleague of Minister Solberg).

As some demonstrators spoke out, others passed out a flyer prepared for
the occasion entitled "Why we are protesting!" to the assembled audience,
many of whom were upset that Solberg's speech had been
effectively disrupted. The flyer included facts about Monte Solberg,
Immigration Canada and the Conservative government. Banners that had been
used during the recent Status for All National Day of Action for Immigrant
Rights were also displayed throughout the intervention.

Solberg immediately left the venue, searching for his limousine. The
entire way he was surrounded by protesters, who vented on Solberg for
recent deportations, as well as to press for an immediate moratorium on
all deportations.

Throughout the barrage by demonstrators, Solberg remained silent,
except for one comment: "The police will take care of this."

Solberg was able to enter his limo, but it was blocked for at least 15
minutes before the arrival of Ottawa-area police. One of the many
slogans, in English and French, by the protesters was: "Immigrant
rights under attack, what do we do? Stand up and fight back!"

The police presence didn't stop the protest, as unprepared police
officers arrested a few demonstrators who were promptly un-arrested.
Eventually, more police came and cleared a path for Solberg's limo to
depart the scene

--> Photos from today's disruption are linked at:

--> The flyer passed out during the disruption ? "Why we're
protesting" -- is linked at:

--> A Photo Essay about the May 27 STATUS FOR ALL National Day of
Action for Immigrant Rights is linked at:

--> The text of the flyer passed out in Montreal on May 27 is linked at:

SOLIDARITY ACROSS BORDERS: sansfrontieres@resist.ca

NO ONE IS ILLEGAL-MONTREAL: noii-montreal@resist.ca

[Ed. note: No One Is Illegal is an anti-capitalist, anti-authoritarian

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