Barely legal: racism and migrant farm labour in the context of Canadian multiculturalism
This article investigates how colonial attitudes towards race operate alongside official multiculturalism in Canada to justify the legally exceptional exclusion of migrant farm workers from Canada's socio-political framework. The Canadian Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program is presented in this article as a relic of Canada's racist and colonial past, one that continues uninterrupted in the present age of statist multiculturalism. The legal continuation and growth in the use of non-citizens to conduct labour distasteful to Canadian nationals has provided an effective means for the Canadian state to regulate the ongoing flow of non-preferred races on the margins while promoting a pluralist and ethnically diverse political image at home and abroad. In the face of a labour shortage constructed as a political crisis of considerable urgency, the Canadian state has continued to admit non-immigrants into the country to perform labour deemed unattractive yet necessary for the well-being of Canadian citizens while simultaneously suspending the citizenship and individual rights of those same individual migrant workers. By legislating the restriction of rights and freedoms to a permanently revolving door of temporary non-citizens through the mechanism of a guest worker programme, the Canadian state is participating in the bio-political regulation of foreign nationals.
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Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Department of Adult Education and Community Development,Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto, Toronto,Ontario, Canada
Publication date: 01 April 2012