Yesterday, an elected representative of our city gave his best Mitt Romney impression, and described a huge and diverse segment of Torontonians as lazy, unambitious moochers. Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong (Ward 34, Don Valley East) went nuclear on people living in Toronto without proper immigration status, and offered a demeaning caricature of them to justify his scorn.
I grew up in a city of about 140,000 people. Toronto officials believe there could be up to three times that many undocumented people living in Toronto. Minnan-Wong's prejudiced declaration of their collective moral bankruptcy is an old song, a tone-deaf, tough love conservative anthem that always seems to apply to the poor, the racialized, and the marginalized. If this hateful trash isn't played out by now, it should be, but it's not going to stop until we call in an request something new.
The following are Minnan-Wong's comments during debate at City Hall yesterday:
“Madame Chair, undocumented workers are illegal workers, illegal immigrants. They come to this country, many of them with no intention of leaving. They remain illegally. In fact, many flout our laws and laugh at us.
I know some illegal immigrants arrive at Pearson airport from Europe. Their first stop is the welfare office. They already know the address because they’ve been told back home where to go. They’ve been told in their home country, this is true, where the welfare office is. They want to go to the office where they say they can get the free money.
Madame Chair, undocumented workers, illegal immigrants are subject to detention orders and deportation orders. They should be removed, we should not encourage them, we should not help them, we should not facilitate them.
They are an insult to every immigrant who played by the rules to get into this country. They are an insult to every immigrant who is waiting to enter this country legally. It sends a message to the world that it is okay to break the law to come to Canada, and it says the city of Toronto is an accomplice to this lawbreaking.
Contact councillor Minnan-Wong at 416-397-9256 or firstname.lastname@example.org