The best & the worst: our “guardian angels” excluded
05 June 2020|Nobert Piché, Country Director - Canada
We are told that during crises, we see the best and worst of human beings. That can’t be more true than it is now during this pandemic. We have seen people, asylum seekers, working for derisory salaries in residential and long-term care centres (CHSLDs) where very few Quebecers want to work. Why do they want to work? Simply because Quebecers do not want to “clean up” their seniors, especially not for a small salary. These claimants, who have been nicknamed “guardian angels”, have done this thankless job that no one else wanted to do. They were described as courageous people who went to the front lines of this war against COVID-19; people who took care of our elderly and fragile Quebecers at the risk of their own lives; people full of self-sacrifice.
So much for the best; now for the worst.
At the end of May, the Quebec government of the CAQ announced a program to recruit 10,000 people to fill the great shortage of beneficiary attendants (PABs) in CHSLDs. The government recognized that it had to give more value to this thankless work by substantially increasing the salary if it wanted to attract more people to do so. However, in early June, we learned that the CAQ government is going to exclude refugee claimants, our “guardian angels”, from the list of eligible candidates.
If this doesn’t upset you, you need to re-examine your moral compass.
This pandemic makes us see to what extent we are (or should be) equal as human beings. We are all worthy of a safe and healthy life. We need to stop separating ourselves into categories of citizens, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers, etc. We need to stop separating ourselves into categories of citizens, immigrants, refugees, asylum seekers, migrant workers, etc. We are all human beings, period. Categories serve precisely to separate us when we should be coming together, uniting us to fight an enemy that disregards our immigration status.
So, yes, this letter is a heartfelt cry to all of you who read it. If you recognize this fundamental injustice to our “guardian angels” and it angers you, write to your Member of the National Assembly. And you, members of the Legault government, it is not too late to reverse your decision so that we can see the best of you too.
Jesuit Refugee Service – Canada