Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians
May 4, 2016
Toronto, ON—The Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians (CPFC) celebrate International Workers Day with continuing vitality and strengthening resolve to defend, advance and uphold working people’s struggles towards genuine and long lasting justice and social transformation. This May 4th marks the 130th anniversary of the Haymarket Square demonstrations, which has served as a commemoration of workers’ struggles for economic justice, social stability, safety and better working and living conditions. Now celebrated on May 1st, it is a day to remember both the defeats suffered and victories hard fought by working-class communities all over the world. Workers fought arduously for the rights, protections and benefits we enjoy today such as the eight-hour work day standard, overtime pay, parental leave, and sick days. It is also a day to acknowledge and carry the culture of resistance and militancy forward to guard against the deepening and worsening exploitation and oppression of millions of workers under contemporary capitalist globalization. In this regard, we echo the ever-growing need for the working class to pave the revolutionary path towards a socialist alternative.
The Canadian state as a colonial and imperialist body continues to grow as a major global economic power through the brutal theft and occupation of indigenous lands, and the hyper-exploitation of people of colour from the global south and other working-class communities. It is of critical importance that struggles for workers’ rights and entitlements be strongly tied to anti-racist, anti-colonial, and anti-imperialist movements. The recent media coverage of the growing youth suicides in Attawapiskat is no news to First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and is yet another painful reminder of the persisting colonialism in Canada. The destruction of traditional indigenous lands and cultures under the inherently violent, racist, genocidal, and unsustainable capitalist system continues to leave indigenous communities displaced and disenfranchised, experiencing rampant poverty that the Canadian state has yet to acknowledge.
Amidst the posturing of Prime Minister Trudeau’s liberal presence, his cabinet remains to be a government tied to prerogatives of profits over people. Their commitment to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreements consolidates Canada’s role in the imperialist war of aggression globally and reinforce corporate control and power by loosening tariffs and lifting regulations on foreign trade and investments (for example with Honduras in the Americas, and Iraq, Syria and Palestine in the Middle East) and more alarmingly the arms deal made with Saudi Arabia. The TPP also hastens the construction of oil and gas pipelines between the U.S. and Canada, exacerbating the irreversible destruction of our natural environment and bodily health.
Under the new Liberal government, the dominance of profit-driven policies of the neoliberal agenda continues to claw back social programs and public services in the name of “cost savings” and “efficiency”. Austerity measures continue to attack healthcare, housing, education and employment leading to the intensifying privatization of healthcare services, exponentially rising tuition fees and the push for gentrification projects over social housing subsidies. Despite the rising costs of living, there has not been a substantial raise to the provincial minimum wages that comes close to what can be deemed as “livable wages.” Labour and employment legislation has pushed for union-busting strategies with “right to work” provisions that promote disunity and pit workers against one another. Through temporary, contractual and flexible employment schemes, working class communities are systematically pushed into further instability, vulnerability, and obscured into the grossly growing pool of devalued, cheapened and highly volatile labour force disposed of at the whims of employers, big businesses and corporations.
As part of a larger transnational working-class diaspora, progressive Filipino Canadians know full well the impacts of forced migration wrought by neocolonialism and imperialism. The many bilateral agreements made between Canada and the Philippines allows unhindered and free movement of corporations from the global north to establish themselves wherever in the Philippine archipelago. In contrast, the majority of Filipinos leaving the country have become human exports strictly and heavily relegated as temporary labourers in service sectors, domestic work, agriculture and factories in over 150 countries. The over reliance of the Canadian state on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP), as an example, has created a system of exploitation on a global scale where workers from the global south suffer extreme working and living conditions.They are overworked and underpaid, and routinely blamed as the scapegoats rather than the corporate policies that outsource labour, keep wages low, and purge permanent and stable jobs.
Rejecting our communities’ state of impermanence and neoliberalism’s incessant profiteering, the Congress of Progressive Filipino Canadians (CPFC) call for the genuine settlement and integration, and development of Filipinos in Canada. This unquestionably means the abolition of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and an establishment of genuine immigration policies to counter the entrapment of working people of colour as temporary and transitory. Working towards genuine settlement and integration also means we condemn the ongoing onslaught of colonialism on indigenous peoples and support their struggle for reparations, self-determination and sovereignty.
On our path towards building a socialist Canada, our struggle demands no less than fulfilling and meaningful livelihoods for all workers’ and their families — a steadfast fight for affordable housing, access to higher education, and a healthy and safe environment. We continue our dedication to build strong foundations of solidarity with the working class struggle in Canada, and boldly confront Canadian colonialism and imperialism in all forms.
Workers of the world unite!
Expose and oppose neoliberalism!
Stop the global contractualization, privatization, and flexibilization of labour!
Permanent settlement through genuine immigration!
Long live international solidarity!
Organizations under the CPFC:
National Alliance of Philippine Women in Canada
SIKLAB Canada (Sulong Itaguyod Karapatan ng Manggagawang Pilipino sa Labas ng Bansa/Advance and Uphold the Struggles of Filipino Canadian Workers)
UKPC/FCYA—National (Ugnayan ng Kabataang Pilipino sa Canada/Filipino Canadian Youth Alliance—National)