Toronto – April 30, 2015 – The month of May is almost upon us and with it brings Asian Heritage Month across Canada. As spring shifts quickly toward summer, and as our days get longer, we are provided with a beautiful backdrop to celebrate and remember the immense contributions of those who originate from Asia, and who now call Canada their home.
Asian Heritage Month is far more than an acknowledgement of the shaping of Canadian society by people of Asian heritage. While there is a tremendous amount to be gained from the struggles of Asian Canadian history, we are equally concerned by the day-to-day battles of working families that remain with us throughout the year. These battles are often greater for people of Asian heritage.
As racialized people who often experience the blunt edge of workplace exclusion, and the sting of subtle and overt racism, Asian Canadians continue to deal with a number of struggles. In the socio-economic realm, we are finding an increasing number of our members having immense difficulty making Canada their permanent home. This is due to the dramatic and draconian shift in Canadian immigration policy from one that embraced immigrants to one that is based increasingly on the use of easily exploitable and low-waged migrant labour.
Many UFCW Canada members of Asian heritage are finding it difficult to sponsor parents and loved ones as the federal government continues to decimate meaningful family reunification programs. Immigration policy based on nation-building seems to be a thing of the past as Asian Canadians, as well as other newcomer groups, experience the brutal reality of one of the most anti-immigrant federal governments in recent memory. These are the types of day-to-day battles many UFCW members face, and as Canada's most progressive union, we are here to support them.
With one of the most diverse memberships in the country, UFCW Canada is striving to demolish barriers and build roads toward greater inclusion and diversity. As spring comes into bloom, our union is committed to its long-term strategy of advocating on behalf of all working people, while ensuring that barriers to social and organizational participation of historically marginalized groups, such as people of Asian heritage, become a thing of the past.
Paul R. Meinema,