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From: OCASI - Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants Press Release  Sunday, August 05, 2001

Mississauga's Mayor Hazel McCallion
Attacks Immigrants and Refugees

The Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI), CCNC, CASSA, the Hispanic Development Council and UARR will hold a joint press conference on Wednesday May 23, 2001 at 11:00 a.m. at the India Rainbow Community Services of Peel - 3038 Hurontario Street, # 206, Mississauga (905-275-2369) to address public attitudes towards immigrants and refugees.

On May 15, 2001 Mississauga's Mayor Hazel McCallion made ignorant and racist statements targeting immigrants and refugees in a National Post story written by Diane Francis.  McCallion's comments depict immigrants and refugees as cheaters abusing Canada's social system and as unproductive and unskilled members of society.

McCallion has it wrong!  Immigrants and refugees contribute as professionals and as volunteers to the growth of Canada. In 1999, over 50% of immigrants to Metropolitan Toronto Area were skilled workers. In 1998, 78% of immigrants admitted in the "independent" category had university degrees. The majority of immigrants to Canada today hold degrees, many of which are professional.

Many community agencies are working hard to have the skills and education of foreign-trained Tradespeople and professionals recognized by the Canadian system. It is disheartening to see that a high-profile public figure is making statements that effectively undermine these efforts. By painting immigrants and refugees as social parasites, McCallion is fueling racist and xenophobic sentiments that exist in the minds of many employers.

It is shocking that a public official whose constituency has over 40% immigrants would make remarks that support bigoted views and that foster hatred. We would expect the Mayor to inform herself of the facts and to recognize the contributions of immigrants and refugees to the city of Mississauga.

                                     - 30 -

Contact Information:
Debbie Douglas
Executive Director
416-322-4950 x229

Copyright ® 2003 Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants.
All rights reserved.


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