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Saint Lucian Publishes Exposé On Canada Seasonal Farm Workers Programme

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Saint Lucia-born Gabriel Allahdua, who spent four years as a seasonal migrant farm worker in Canada, has published a book that exposes the injustices those workers face and highlights measures to improve the situation.

The title of the approximately 225-page book that Between The Lines published is : ‘Harvesting Freedom’.

Released last month, it is available at bookstores in Canada and on Amazon.

“Injustice is what we face regarding our living and working conditions,” the author told St Lucia Times.

“Not having the same rights as a Canadian, we face exploitation. We don’t get fair treatment although we go above and beyond,” he disclosed.

Allahdua currently does outreach work with migrant workers in Canada through the government-funded group – The Neighbourhood Organization, providing the migrants with support and information.

He said migrant farm workers find themselves between a rock and a hard place.

Currently a Canadian citizen, Allahdua observed that conditions such as high unemployment and a family to support force people to leave Saint Lucia for Canada.

But he said once in Canada, the migrant farm workers are afraid to speak because they fear deportation.

“It’s not getting any better for migrant workers,” Allahdua told St Lucia Times.

Allahdua went to Canada in January 2012 after losing his livelihood when Hurricane Tomas devastated Saint Lucia.

In Canada, he worked in a greenhouse in Leamington, Ontario, growing and harvesting tomatoes and organic sweet peppers for eight months of the year from 2012 to 2015.

Allahdua has since become widely recognised as an outspoken worker’s rights advocate in Canada and is Activist in Residence at the University of Guelph.

“I have dedicated my life towards a Canadian food system that’s healthy, sustainable and just and I will do whatever is in my power to see that I achieve that,” he told St Lucia Times.

 

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16 COMMENTS

  1. Well sir although your experience may not have been the greatest. In the final analysis, it turned out to be beneficial as you are currently a Canadian citizen as well as an author. Amen

    “I have dedicated my life towards a Canadian food system that’s healthy, sustainable and just and I will do whatever is in my power to see that I achieve that,” — in your own words – this statement is a great aspiration. Godspeed.

  2. @Jay by your logic slavery was ok because people got some land in the end. Canada has some.of the strictest workers rights laws on earth and temporary foreign workers like the author are not covered by these laws. It’s an injustice that needs to be corrected

  3. @Louie – did I state that his experience was ok ?????? wrong can never be right in any situation – on the contrary, I stated that his experience may not have been the greatest. I also have several family members who reside in Canada. My take home message is simple – his experience, although painful turned out for his good in the end – that’s all. He would not have been able to author his book without the first hand experience.

    Moreover, this experience also makes him an advocate because he has had a bird’s eye view/insight into the issue(s) mentioned in the article. In addition, he is now a Canadian citizen as well as an author. Without this experience – he would not have been afforded this opportunity. I also applauded the gentleman for his dedication to the cause. You see @ Louie, sometimes an experience can become a springboard for progress/meaningful change.

  4. @jay….you make no sense. I rule in favor of Louie because by saying that his experience in the long run was “beneficial” implies that slavery was ok since some slaves got land in the end!!!

    I admire the author for helping and reaching out to others. These developed countries always have some subliminal benefit to “helping” us small nations..always!!! So be mindful.

  5. @ nooks you are entitled to your own opinion. I am not in this forum to engage or insult folk that I don’t know and will never know. An opinion is certainly not a competition or a trial for a ruling by judge or jury.

    However, I still stand by my opinion something good came out of his awful experience. He would not have been able to write a book about his experience if he did not live through and survive the experience.

    Additionally, something good can be birthed out of a bad experience for anyone who lived through it with insight or first hand knowledge into the experience. Only by this, can others be enlightened or helped.

  6. As the previous comments state , the bad eventually turned out to be beneficial to the author . Most stories come along mixed with pain and pleasure .
    I have heard similar stories before ,which indicate that there is great need for readjustment in the laws /rules that govern the work and stay of immigrant farmers in Canada.
    May the voices continue to rise till the pleasure comes !

  7. Congratulations Gabriel, so proud of you!!!!!!!!
    Best of luck with your book and hope it opens new doors for you. Sky’s the limit……..

  8. The author is a classic case of biting the hand that feeds. Why is he criticizing the very country and system the provided refuge when he was at his most needy. Next hurricane stay in the hills of Saint Lucia and iguanas. Don’t come to Canada.

  9. @jamesr, you’re the epitome of a house nigga. So you’re saying that because he did well he should just shut up and not want better for those who do not have his strength and courage for better conditions

  10. I guess if he was criticizing St.Lucia it would be OK?
    Does not democracy affords you the right to criticize.
    Canada has had a long history of strained race relations and over the past few years we see more awareness being brought to it by migrants.
    It is a great country but not perfect.

  11. Salty,
    Your incoherent response is an example of your Inferior education, consequently; people of your mindset have continued to be dependent on places like Canada instead of taking responsibility for your own actions. What is the most nigger like behavior? Voluntarily traveling to a foreign country to pick today’s cotton or being thankful and improving the lives of your family so that your children don’t have to travel to Canada to pick cotton. Just remember a begging for food is the ultimate buck dance of a slave. Growing your own food prevents you from having to travel to Canada to criticize and beg for food after accepting Canadian dollars. Next growing season please pick up a Nigerian work visa and let us know if you prefer the growing seasons of Canada, Nigeria or SL. Please lessen to be grateful or remain in SL and fix your economy our economy in Canada will continue to expand with well behaved SL immigrants.

  12. When I said this guy is not St Lucian but Nigerian. St Lucia Times blocked the truth. Is that Nigerian with one of you all in that news place? Are u his 10th baby mama? Choops!!!

  13. Our ancestors spend this whole lives planting and harvesting for Massa on the plantation. I don’t care what else I have to do, let it hear Canadians work the fields themselves.

  14. @clint your derogatory comments does not hold any bearing. You’re just spewing insults at someone who disagree with your rhetoric, your just building a strawman argument

  15. Once again, I’m surprised by the anemic responses to justify “someone who voluntarily traveled to Canada for a job picking fruits in Canada.” The last time I checked people from Canada did not capture or force any respectable able bodied Saint Lucian to go and work in Canada. After collecting money from his employer, the cotton picker author proceeds to write a book criticizing the Canadian cotton picker’s employment program. If life was so great in SL why would an author leave SL to work as a farm hand in Canada.

    Isn’t his behavior the personification of a volunteer slave? Please not many hard working, highly educated and highly skilled Saint Lucians have left for England, Canada, and the US. Those individuals have taken care of family, friends and entire communities without publicly complaining about working hard.

    The lazy author collected $$ from Canada spent his income than writes about how bad he was treated in order to make more$$. He needs to get a job in SL I bet he will quit working after his first day.

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