August 29, 2019
Equality is a core value of the labour movement. This is why we say, “an injury to one is an injury to all.” It is workers joining forces in solidarity that has won many of the benefits that are protected under the law today: the right to refuse unsafe work, the end of child labour, and for many workers, the weekend.
This year, the labour movement in Ontario is coming together under the theme Unite Against Racism.
Shamefully, many political leaders around the world are stoking the fires of hatred in order to strengthen their power. Where they should be blaming corporations and the super-rich for economic troubles, they put the blame on immigrants and racialized communities. And when these politicians gain more power, they push forward policies that hurt all workers.
Racist groups are emboldened by today’s political climate. According to an ongoing study by Dr. Barbara Perry, Dr. Ryan Scrivens and Dr. David Hofmann, Ontario is home to more than 30 right-wing extremist groups. Ontario is also regularly the province with the highest concentration of hate crime.
It’s time that we come together in solidarity to organize, educate, and resist the rise of racism. We must push back against electoral strategies designed to make us fight each other. Those strategies advance an agenda that hurts everyone.
In Ontario, we have seen the Conservative government cancel the $15 minimum wage and take away two paid sick days from workers across the province. The PC government continues to cut important public services such as health care and education that are essential for all Ontarians to thrive. Workers who are racialized, Indigenous, women, or who have a disability bear the brunt of these cuts.
The Conservative government has also made anti-immigrant cuts that specifically target racialized communities, such as ordering Legal Aid to stop providing legal representation to many migrants and refugees, an important service that many depend on.
Conservative cuts hurt Ontario workers and families, and with a federal election on the horizon, it is time for Ontarians to come together, demand a fair Canada for everyone and build an Ontario for all. We must stop the rise of hate, racism, xenophobia and Islamophobia; doing so is essential to ensuring rights for all of us.
The Ontario Federation of Labour’s Power of Many campaign continues to grow, bringing Ontarians together in the thousands to send a strong message to the politicians who are in government, and those seeking election, that tactics of division will not work on us.
This Labour Day, the Power of Many campaign continues its work for equality by joining with the Migrant Rights Network and Migrant Workers Alliance for Change in calling for an end to racism and hate. Together, we pledge to not let racism poison and divide our communities.
We demand justice and equality for all, strong public services, decent work, safe and healthy communities, and permanent resident status for all.
You can take action. Join the fight for equality. Visit powerofmany.ca to join a rapid response network in your community. Go to migrantrights.ca to sign a pledge and find resources that you can access to help your co-workers and community members unite against racism. You can find Unite Against Racism placards and banners to carry on Labour Day at migrantrights.ca/Sep2.
Together we can build an Ontario for all and a fair Canada for everyone.
Together we must #UniteAgainstRacism.
- Op Ed