Protesters rally after talk of an anti-loitering bylaw in downtown Leamington
'They do not want to see us, they simply want our hands'
Protesters rallied in Leamington Sunday in response to a public discussion about implementing an anti-loitering bylaw in the town.
"It's the tomato capital and I don't think it would be the tomato capital if it wasn't for migrant workers. I mean, they live here, they work here, they are downtown spending their money here," said rally organizer Elizabeth Ha. "They are doing jobs that we don't want to do."
The concept of an anti-loitering bylaw was raised by business owners at a public meeting in July but town council did not embrace the idea.
Business owners stressed at the meeting that migrant workers were vital to the local economy but that loitering on sidewalks was discouraging some shoppers from coming to the Uptown area.
Deputy Mayor Hilda MacDonald said council is not considering a loitering bylaw. She said the town is working with local organizations to try and find activities for migrant workers to participate in.
Gabriel Allahdua has been living in Leamington for six years. He came from the Caribbean to work in a greenhouse.
"Migrant workers are invisible, we are tied to the farm and tied to the employer … They do not want to see us, they simply want our hands so that is what we are fighting for," said Allahdua at the rally.
Allahdua says he will continue to advocate for the rights of the migrant workers living in Leamington.
"We are good enough to work here we are good enough to do business here," said Allahdua.