Kiwassa’s Statement on the CBSA Raid at Hastings Park

Dear residents and friends of Hastings-Sunrise and East Van:

On August 19, 2019, Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) conducted an early morning raid on some of our neighbours.

Many of us don’t see or appreciate their work and time in community, as they are neighbours who rise
before break of day to shovel out stalls, groom and care for horses, and work difficult hours at the
Hastings Racecourse stables.

Kiwassa has had a relationship with backstretch employees and their families for three decades. These
neighbours are seasonal workers who have different immigration stories and status – permanent,
temporary, visitors, lapsed or precarious. They are married, single, parents, and children. They have
long had an important place and connection to our community. Many of these people have returned to
work here for years, and the only reputation they’ve established with us is for hard work, acts of
generosity, and resiliency.

In a declared Access without Fear City, in a neighbourhood that prides itself on welcoming everyone, at
the start of one of our longest standing celebrations of community, the CBSA decided to arrive early at
the stables to identify and arrest racialized, Spanish-speaking workers who were doing their jobs, caring
for horses, cleaning stalls in preparation for the day ahead. In our view, the raid was not about
defending public safety, but rather a dehumanizing exercise that serves only to generate fear and
reduce community safety.

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House is proud to embrace Sanctuary City policy and principles, and ensure that
our spaces and services can be accessed without fear by anyone, regardless of their immigration status.

We call on our Federal Government to release detainees, and examine how its performance and
approach to working with people and communities can be done in a way that does not violate human
rights, undermine community trust and safety, nor profile people who are racialized and speak English
as an additional language.


Mark Gifford
Executive Director

Kiwassa Neighbourhood House, Board of Directors
Hon. Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
Hon. Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Jenny Kwan, Member of Parliament, Vancouver East
The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
Hon. Shane Simpson, MLA, Vancouver-Hastings
Mayor Kennedy Stewart, City of Vancouver