Tribute to Victim of Canada's "Rules-Based Order"

On December 23, 2022, Fritznel Richard froze to death after being caught in a winter storm on the Roxham Road on his way to the United States. He had passed through the forest leading to the road in an attempt to reach his wife and 19-month-old son who had already left Canada for the United States.

Originally from Haiti, Fritznel Richard was a beloved spouse, family man and friend to those around him. He fled Haiti where his life was in danger and became a refugee claimant in Canada in December 2021, accompanied by his wife Guenda and his then seven-month-old baby, after a difficult journey through the Americas. He and his wife were looking for a new land, a home.

Unfortunately, policies towards refugees caused Fritznel to choose to leave Canada, hoping to join his wife and child who had left before him in October. Where he had come to seek a new life, he lost his life. He also leaves behind an 11-year-old son who is still in Haiti and needs medical attention.

Vigil on January 15, 2023, in front of the offices of the Canadian Immigration Section at the Guy Favreau Complex in Montreal

On Sunday, January 15, a vigil in memory of Fritznel Richard was held, in a symbolic way, in front of the offices of the Canadian Immigration Section at the Guy Favreau Complex in Montreal, to salute this courageous young man.

People gathered at  a funeral home in memory of Fritznel Richard on January 22. Guenda, his wife and her sister participated in the event via videoconference. The room was filled with people from Montreal's Haitian community as well as many supporters and friends. The event was deeply moving.

Frantz André spoke on behalf of the Action Committee of Non-Status People. Who is Fritznel Richard, he asked? "It is each of you [...] in search of a new life [...] who have hope of finding ... a better life [...] who today are questioning foreign policies, immigration policies that I believe are dangerously criminal policies, as we saw with Fritznel's case."

"We need to talk about what politicians are saying that make us reject people who have come here to contribute, contrary to the political rhetoric during elections, that 'these are people who come here, 80 per cent stay in Montreal, they don't speak French, they don't embrace Quebec values.

"During the pandemic, who best embraced Quebec values? It was these people, guardian angels as Mr. Legault called them, who saved lives. What greater message to embrace Quebec values than to save the lives of Quebeckers?" Frantz André added.

He pointed the finger at the migration policies of governments. "Those who have arrived like Fritznel and Guenda, with a seven-month-old child, [...] have passed through forests, countries where they almost died and where they saw people die in front of them... They arrive here in a country that calls itself a host country, a country where democracy reigns, where it is a country of rights and laws. And to die here? In 2023? Is that the order of welcome? I'm not talking about Quebeckers and Canadians, I'm talking about our politicians, I'm talking about the migration policies that make people get rejected."

A fundraiser has been organized to support the family during this trying time and to help Fritznel's wife pay medical expenses for herself and her children. For the link click here

This article was published in
Volume 53 Number 2 - February 2023

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