I've made no secret well, anywhere, that to my mind, the Harper Regime has been nothing but catastrophic for Canada and for many of the causes I hold dear. They've been hard on women, on families and on human rights -- and doesn't that hole in ozone layer look H shaped? (And proroguing Parliament to avoid a non-confidence vote reminds me of the time I told my mom I had a stomach ache to avoid a geography test.)
There have been a number of really really good opinion pieces on Rabble.ca (love them.) For a few good reason not to vote Conservative, Ten reasons to oppose the Harper Candidate in Your Riding.
I suppose Harper is just a bit too Dick Cheney for my liking (does that make Stockwell Day a failed George Bush?). He's like that kid in class who has potential, he just can't live up to his big brother, it's too bad he's trying so hard. And he's also a mean mofo who not afraid to fire people (like many of his peons.) Rabble has published a list here.
My friend Marisa* lives in Michael Ignatieff's riding,1 and she sent me a note explaining that her long-time day care provider Nichole has been refused an extension on her work Visa and has been asked to leave the country. Nichole works hard, has a job, is involved in her community and is in many ways, the Canadian we should all be. They were told that she's been caught in Harper's immigration "clean up". What's more that there is nothing she can do to reverse the decision. Staff in Ignatieff's office tried to figure out a work around to no avail. (Good on them.)
Nichole is from St. Vincent, they were told the reason she failed to qualify was because she didn't have enough education and skills. But she's got a job, she's integrated into her community. And she's worked hard to make a go of it here. She's not on social assistance. She's not a drain on resources. And really folks, it's not like Canada is full. She's a single working mom, who like many of us just wants to make the world a better place for her daughter.
And the Conservatives are saying NO. And we all know that's not right.
Marisa is appealing for us to write to our MPs, but given the election it might be the perfect opportunity to find out where the candidates in your riding stand on immigration issue. (And you know, pass it on to whoever will listen, it's the internet. Let's cause some stir.)
Right from Marisa here's the story:
Dear friends and family,
I need your help. In two weeks, my close friend, Nichole Tannis and her 10 year old daughter, Renata, will be forced to leave Canada at the direction of our federal government. Working here legally awaiting refugee status, paying taxes to the Canadian system, our government has decided that Nichole is not a candidate for status and recently revoked her temporary work visa.
Nichole is a legitimate, tax-paying employee of mine, entrusted as a full-time caregiver to my daughters, Olivia (age 6) and Mia (age 3). Needless to say, Nichole and her daughter Renata, are family: she is a sister to me, a mother to my daughters, just as we are family to them.
Two years ago my husband and I went through a divorce. We sold our family home, each starting over in separate residences. For our young daughters, Nichole was just about the only stability they had at that time. She was, as she is now, a rock – providing strength and inspiration to each of us at a time we so desperately needed it. For all of the change swirling around, we could count on Nichole each and every day.
Many of you know or have met Nichole and can speak to the fact that she is a bright, reliable and affectionate individual. In the five years I have known her, Nichole has worked hard to focus on her own personal growth and development, while teaching my children to be committed, respectful members of their community. Nichole has provided my kids with lessons on budgeting and recycling, helps each night with homework, and has brought them to the churches and community centres where she volunteers tirelessly each week.
So where do you come in? I need you to become a concerned Canadian citizen. Let’s rally to create a collective voice that can be heard through the noise of this election season. Nichole and Renata’s fate is set – we know that. But there are countless others who deserve the chance to contribute to Canada’s rich cultural tapestry. Nichole’s case has made it clear to me that it’s time for immigration reform.
Nichole is everything that is right about Canada: she’s a volunteer who is committed to her community, engaged and involved as a citizen, a taxpayer who has always worked hard and with pride and who has never taken a penny from the system.
Does this sound like someone who should be denied the opportunity to be a true Canadian? Or does it sound like an individual who is contributing to Canada’s greatness and who deserves every opportunity to raise her daughter in this diverse country? I think it’s the latter.
If you agree, please send an email to your local MP (click here for their email addresses >> http://webinfo.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E), as well as to Prime Minister Stephen Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Jason Kenny (email@example.com) . To make it easy, we have included some suggested text below.
Together we CAN have a voice and together we CAN be heard. Please pass this email onto anyone you think would like to support this cause.
1. I am not saying that has anything to do with anything, but if she lived in Calgary Southwest and was a member of the CPC, things might be different.
* Kate and Marisa are frequent companions on our Pearl Jam escapades. I stayed at her house last time we were in Toronto.