Mayor of Leamington, Ontario, Says Sexual Harassment from Migrant Workers a ‘Cancer’ on the Town

Sarah Boesveld, National Post, September 10, 2013

Every year, between five and six thousand migrant workers arrive in Leamington, Ont., to help the tomato and greenhouse capital of Canada live up to its name.

The lion’s share come from Mexico, 20% from Jamaica and the eastern Caribbean. Others are Filipino, Mexican Mennonite, or from various parts of Asia.

And every year, according to Leamington Mayor John Paterson, local women in the rural, lakeside town of about 28,000 have complained of sexual harassment on the part of the seasonal labourers—unwelcome sexual invitations, persistent queries about relationship status, comments about physical appearance. Some women even reported workers grabbing their genitals and making lewd gestures at them.

It’s led women to avoid the downtown and certain stores, Mr. Paterson said, especially on weekends when the workers are more likely to be cashing their cheques, doing laundry and shopping for groceries.

More complaints than usual flooded in to council this year, which led Mr. Paterson to ask the police services board in late August how to address “sexual comments and aggressive tendencies” of some migrant workers employed in Leamington. One hundred per cent of the complaints, he said, have been about Jamaican and “island” migrant workers. Mr. Paterson said he’d worked quietly with the previous Jamaican liaison officer for temporary foreign workers but nothing changed.

“We need some ideas, we need some suggestions, we need help because it’s like a cancer in our community,” he said. “It shouldn’t be like this.”

The public plea has brought racial tensions to a boil in a town where they’ve long simmered, according to those who advocate for migrant workers. And it’s raised uncomfortable questions about clashing social norms and latent racism—about whether the conflict is about more than sexual harassment.

In July, the Ontario human rights tribunal ordered a greenhouse owner pay $23,000 in damages to a St. Lucian migrant worker who said he had been the target of racial slurs while working there in the summer of 2009.

In an open letter to Mr. Paterson last week, activist group Justicia for Migrant Workers wrote that “cultural differences” have been used to justify the community’s “adverse reaction” to migrant workers for far too long.

“Instead of dealing with sexual harassment on an individual basis, you skip right to racialized stereotypes; drawing from some of the worst parts of Canadian history,” the letter reads. “It does not escape us that the community of Leamington once supported ‘sundown laws’ which made it illegal for black Canadians to walk freely in the community after sunset.”

The letter goes on to allege racially motivated loitering laws, and multiple complaints from migrant workers that they have been victims of hate crimes, sexism and racism whilst working in Leamington.

Meanwhile, Mr. Paterson said he’s been called a “racist and white supremacist” by critics online, something he fully anticipated.

“You can’t sugarcoat this one—you’ve got to meet it head on,” he said. “The simple solution is just to have the guys who are doing it stop.”

Local women have publicly aired their complaints of being aggressively pursued by migrant workers.

“I’ve had them taken [sic] a hold of my shopping cart, start picking up my food out of the cart and wanting to pay for my groceries telling me how much they earn, jesting that I’ve not had a man til I’ve had a black man,” said resident Yvonne Craig. “I’ve had to in turn become lewd and mean … not how I want to be.”

Resident Linda Tessier said she stopped going out at night when large groups of workers spend time in town.

“They sometimes ask me if I’m free or single, if I want to go home with them,” said Ms. Tessier. “I get nervous, I refuse to go shopping Friday nights.”

Mr. Paterson said his wife and daughter have also been harassed over the years. One incident came in mid-August—just weeks before the police services board meeting—when a worker allegedly made comments to the mayor’s daughter about her appearance.

Vernon Melhado, deputy chief liaison officer with the Jamaican liaison office in Leamington, did not return calls to the Post, but he told the Windsor Star his office had not received one complaint about sexually aggressive behaviour. Reached at his Toronto office, Jamaica’s chief liaison officer for Foreign Agricultural Management Services Larkland W. Stone said he had “absolutely no comment.”

But the issue could be more nuanced and complicated, critics say, deserving of deeper attention to underlying issues and cultural differences.

On her blog, Jamaican-Canadian writer Bee Quammie pointed out that sexual harassment is a problem across ethnicities and that she herself had been subject to the same kind of alleged interactions (“Many of those incidents have been forced upon me by men who looked just like you—and some even in your hometown,” she wrote, addressing her post to Mayor Paterson.)

When Ms. Quammie, who grew up in nearby London, Ont., told her Jamaican-born mother about the allegations of sexual lewdness in Leamington, she said that she’d experienced the same type of attention from men in Jamaica, but viewed it more as an “annoyance,” than particularly troubling.

“Because of those cultural differences and the lack of understanding that both sides have of each other, it’s most likely being taken a way that these men are not meaning for it to be taken,” Ms. Quammie said.

Migrant workers get a booklet on Canada before arriving for work, but they are often just loosely reminded that they are to represent their home country abroad — no specifics on how social norms may be different, how the laws work or what they should do if they run into trouble, said Stan Raper, national coordinator for the Agricultural Workers Alliance section of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada union.

He said the transient nature of temporary foreign workers—they are separated from family for long periods—perpetuates these kinds of tensions in Canada.

“I would argue if [a worker’s] wife and kids were there, and they were living in that community, they’d be acting a little differently,” he said.

Topics: , , , ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Spartacus

    “We need some ideas, we need some suggestions…”


    Here’s a thought – don’t bring the cockroaches in your town in the first place !

  • AutomaticSlim

    Mexican Mennonite???

    That’s a new one.

    • WASP

      That’s what I was thinking too. I haven’t heard of a Mexican Mennonite either.

      • IstvanIN

        I think they are white immigrants from the US. Very successful farmers. Even though they are born in Mexico and are Mexican citizens they are restricted from buying land and expanding their farms.

        • Alexandra1973

          I understand there’s Beachy Amish in Central America.

  • APaige

    Did nation-states within western civilization form to protect it citizens from outsiders? Now instead of fighting our enemies, we invite them in and explain away their behavior as cultural differences.

    • Spartacus


      • Ah yes, the political philosophy of a woman who sells psychiatric advice for a nickel.

        • Spartacus

          I have no idea who she is or what she does for a living, I just liked the cartoon .

        • Romulus

          Jack nicholson once said of why he writes women so well (AS GOOD AS IT GETS) ” I think of a man and take away reason and accountability”

      • Alexandra1973

        I LOVE that comic! That’s one thing I’ve noticed about libtards!

      • Romulus

        Pictures are worth thousands of words!!

  • Truthseeker

    When Ms. Quammie, who grew up in nearby London, Ont., told her
    Jamaican-born mother about the allegations of sexual lewdness in
    Leamington, she said that she’d experienced the same type of attention
    from men in Jamaica, but viewed it more as an “annoyance,” than
    particularly troubling.

    “Because of those cultural differences and the lack of understanding
    that both sides have of each other, it’s most likely being taken a way
    that these men are not meaning for it to be taken,” Ms. Quammie said.

    Well then, maybe different groups shouldn’t be forced to mix. A common culture is the basis for order. Having to be “sensitive” to different cultures is mentally taxing and stressful. In a society where everyone understands “the rules,” they can save themselves the trouble of knowing each separate rule that applies to each different group and just focus on living their lives and being happy. Diversity does nothing but bog us down.

    • libertarian1234

      “Diversity does nothing but bog us down.”

      The fact that diversity is a weakness can be illustrated in no better way than to point to the psy-ops in constant play that repetitiously tries to fool everybody into believing diversity is a strength.

      I doubt that PC could have been so successful in this society if the system allowed for referendum voting from the very beginning on important issues, so the people could control what kind of culture they wanted.

      • Sick of it

        Their “success” included forcing millions of Americans to accept a complete change in their way of life at gunpoint because of the decision of a few idiots in black robes. So yeah, this is not a free society. Hasn’t been since the Civil War.

    • The Final Solution

      diversity is the wrench in the wheel of white progress. put that on a t-shirt.

    • Romulus

      At no time in all of human history has diversity ever united anybody. Not even humans of the same race killing each other over which version of a dead Jew they wanted to worship.

      • Jacobite2

        Quite true. But people can change their religion (and often do). They can’t change their race.

  • joesolargenius

    As the White South Africans tried to tell the rest of the world , Quote ( you have to handle Blacks with a firm hand or else ).

  • kjh64

    “I would argue if [a worker’s] wife and kids were there, and they were living in that community, they’d be acting a little differently,” he said.
    No, it wouldn’t make a difference. When you import uncivilized people, they bring their behavior with them.

    • NorthSea

      They need to issue more booklets to the migrant workers, that should do the trick.

    • cecilhenry

      Notice what this guy’s implied solution is:

      Let in the whole family and thus allow the foreign community to replicate itself here.

      IE: Africa for Africans, Asia for Asians, White Countries for Everyone!!

      That’s just genocide in another form.

      • me

        If the ‘liberals’ and Marxists love ‘diversity’ so much, they should go live in Africa or Mexico, instead of dragging that crap into White countries.

    • Sick of it

      We should have sent all of their beloved blacks up North. Every single one of them and dared them to complain.

  • Spartacus

    Any filth that so much as looks at a White woman should be killed immediately, no exceptions .

  • OhWow

    There is the stereotype of the illegal Mexican immigrants hitting on women being creepy for a reason. It happens…a LOT. I was with a few girls within the past few years where illegals in their landscaping trucks (usually 4 of them packed in) whistle, yell, make gestures, etc. Then the area had enough of them parading their illegal freedom around sexually harassing white women and 2 white teen boys jumped them and one was stabbed to death. Not advocating for murder obviously, but you had to figure a boiling point was coming. That was just recently…I also remember being in high school around 15 or 16 hearing girls the same age talking about how creepy older Mexican guys were whistling and staring at them. These guys are animals.

    You can only tolerate this stuff for so long before people lose their minds. If you don’t get rid of these 3rd world animals it forces the citizens to do it for the govt. Ever since the murder of an illegal immigrant by a white citizen, they seem to have calmed down with the cat calling.

    • IstvanIN

      Cut them a little slack, I mean their women look like scruffy bowling balls. Not exactly attractive.

    • LudwigvonDrake

      My blonde and beautiful 20 year old daughter tells me that the Mexican landscapers are usually respectful while it’s the blacks who leer at her. The Mexicans who work for us do high quality work too, while the blacks couldn’t care less.

      • The Final Solution

        Why don’t you hire white men to do that work? you’re only supporting their influx and encouraging their Reconquista.

        • Zaporizhian Sich

          Make no mistake, the Hispanics want to KILL all non-Hispanics once their “Reconquista” is complete.

      • Spartacus

        Get a bat and go bash some groid skulls !

      • Derek

        …Seriously what’s wrong with you? There are plenty of poor starving white families and white college students in the states burdened with illegals, hire one of them to do your work.

      • Romulus

        The only thing the blacks want is to sow their filthy seed into your daughter. NEVER let them around your kid alone!

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      As a young white woman, I can confirm that older Mexicans do indeed hit on us with impunity.

      However, they pale in comparison to the Somalis and other Africans. It doesn’t surprise me that the Jamaicans are mentioned in the story as specifically being a problem. African men make Hispanics look positively white.

      • Spartacus

        Order your father/brother/cousin/boyfriend/husband/whatever to bash their skulls ! It is their manly duty to do so !

  • 48224

    If they lynched a few of the men committing these sexual assaults, they’d stop. Oops, did I say that out loud? I accidently told the truth.

    • MBlanc46

      They don’t need to lynch them. They just need to run them out and never let them return.

      • Zaporizhian Sich

        I disagree, they must be lynched. That is to break their criminal dynasty and bloodline forever.

    • Sick of it

      Seems like it would be cheaper to hire white laborers than to hire foreigners who would sue you for that much money.

      • Derek

        Big Business and corporate CEO’s don’t think that far ahead. They are so enraptured in their own prospective wealth, they couldn’t care less about anything beyond money.

        • me

          The worship of Mammon has made more than one civilization fall to ruins. When you care more for money than you do in securing the future for your children and grandchildren, you’re a sociopath and should be locked up–instead of running a corporation.

  • White Mom in WDC

    Cheap slave labor is expensive in the long run. When will big business ever learn? Sure you pay Diego two cents an hour for picking tomatoes, but them society pays , which means higher taxes, because miscreant migrants engage in criminality

    • MBlanc46

      You got it exactly. Expensive for us. Not for them. They don’t care what it costs us.

    • The Final Solution

      It ruins the economy because educated workers don’t want to live in areas that aren’t nice and safe. Businesses that depend on knowledge workers won’t be able to draw talent to those areas. Therefore they won’t operate in those areas. Like Detroit.

      • White Mom in WDC

        The real criminals are the people who hire these people.

    • Zaporizhian Sich

      Cheap for them, expensive for everyone else. They will always find ways to flee from the mess they create.

  • prunepit

    There are “cultural differences” because the races of mankind have developed separately over eons. Discomfort with the cultural norms developed by another race is one of the things that keeps the races apart. Without that deeply-felt sense of offense and recognition of foreigness there would not be separate races. I worry more that the white women of Leamington would respond favorably to the crude invitations.

    • The Final Solution

      If they don’t respond favorably they will be forced to respond by those noble non-whites who travel in packs.

  • MBlanc46

    I can give them some ideas and some suggestions: don’t bring these people in your community. Let the tomato growers pay what the market demands for Canadian labor.

    • T_Losan

      But then you can’t compete. Zuckerberg at least partially uses H1-Bs because he needs to return a profit and not using cheap imported labor would put him at a disadvantage compared to firms that do.

      • MBlanc46

        Only if we allow them to do that. They can do it because we allow them to manufacture their goods abroad and import them without duties and we allow them (implicitly or explicitly) to import Mexicans and Chinese and Pakis and Indians by the millions. It’s our country. We can decide where what is sold here is made, and who makes it. We just have to assert ourselves.

  • Spartacus

    Filthy animals !

  • Sick of it

    The feminists countered by calling this poor man a racist…

  • Sick of it

    Child prostitution is common in the third world. He probably thought there was nothing wrong with it.

  • GeneticsareDestiny

    Yep, that’s the behavior of most whites here in Minnesota too. It’s an 87% white state, and if you disregard the Minneapolis metro area, the white percentage easily clears 90%.

    Needless to say, white Minnesotans are so blinded by their high incomes, good property values, and good schools that they fail to realize why exactly it is that they can enjoy such things and love to make fun of “racist” Southerners.

    • kjh64

      Yet, somehow instinctively they know to stay out of Black neighborhoods when venturing into big cities.

    • Romulus

      That is precisely why Southern SCOT-IRISH despise holier than thou, self righteous, bloviating Yankee morons. Now let’s ask the Minnesotans ( another Mecca) how the former white residents of Detroit feel about diversity!!

  • Chris Granzow XI

    This is happening everywhere. The last time I took a trip up north (northern Wisconsin) there were some mexicans hanging outside of a gas station. It was a rare site because mostly the only minorities up there are hmong, yet they live in the cities. The female attendant told me that they’re horrible, basically doing all of the same things mentioned in the article. It reminds me of the incident that just happened in Poland with the Mexican sailors.

  • Wethepeople

    ‘Black Canadian’ such a filthy oxymoron.

    Aren’t there a bunch of unemployed Greeks, Italians and spaniards? Maybe the mayor ßhould offer his jobs to some nice, respectful young whites next year instead.

  • Earl Turner

    All part of the massive War on Whites. This is part of the way our dignity is being taken away from us.

  • mobilebay

    “We need some ideas?” How about not allowing third world savages to come to developed nations?

  • Spartacus

    You should remember that feminism doesn’t really have anything to do with women’s well-being, quite the contrary. Feminism is merely a tool used by jews to drive a wedge between White men and women, and make the latter easy prey for violence from muds .

    • kjh64

      I disagree. It does have to do with women’s well being just like men’s groups(they do exist) have to do with men’s wellbeing. I don’t think there is any “plot” going on to drive a wedge between men and women. However, feminism has, when it comes to race, all to often turned a blind eye to bad Black and Muslim behavior and made excuses for it when it should be the one opposing it big time. As has been said, race trumps all else.

      • Spartacus

        No, feminism was started from the get-go to indoctrinate White women into feeling like their men are the enemy, which is the exact opposite of the truth . That’s why there’s tens of thousands of mud-on-White rapes in the US every year, without any reprisals .

        You have an internet connection, try searching for yourself how many of those maggots who promoted feminism were jews , you’ll find virtually all of them were .

      • Zaporizhian Sich

        I disagree, there is evidence to show that was the design behind feminism everywhere I look. It is just as destructive and divisive as “die-versity” and multiculturalism.

  • Spartacus

    Punish a thousand and solve the problem completely .

    • me

      More like millions. But, a job well begun is half done.

  • Zaporizhian Sich

    There are only two solutions, deporting them back to the hellhole from whence they came, or these women’s male relatives hunting down and killing them all. The wealthy, connected and authorities who created this intolerable situation are not going to do anything but make things even worse and more dangerous for whites. In the end, whites will have to kill and destroy their enemies to reclaim what is rightfully theirs, a future where their children are not sexual door prizes. A future where they raise families in peace. A future where they can live and grow old with dignity. That is worth killing enemies and risking being killed in the coming wars between cornered whites on the one side, hostile racial aliens on the other.

  • kjh64

    “You’d be surprised(or not), how many are still under the impression Hollywood’s versions are spot-on accurate”

    No, not surprised. There is a lot of ignorance out there. Yes, the people who don’t live around Blacks in large numbers are the most naïve. A stint living in inner city Detroit would wake these naïve Canadians and New Englander’s up very quickly.

  • kjh64

    Sadly, no they won’t. Race trumps women any day.

  • Alexandra1973

    So where are the feminist leaders?

  • Romulus

    Jamaican Canadian? Mexican mennonite?? *screaming obscenities*

    The short answer is to pick the effin stuff yourself!!!!! Have children and control your greed!! When the kids grow up, you’ll have plenty of bodies in the labor force.

    And I’m out!

  • Romulus

    Meanwhile, American men have to endure sexual harassment classes as part of office policy.

    • me

      Exactly! The majority of ‘men’ that are all rapey are Bantus and Squat Monsters. They love raping ‘White womens’ on the outside of a prison cell, and ‘Whitey’ men on the inside of a prison cell. Bunch of jackals that run in packs, unworthy of being in civilization.

  • me

    Maybe we should handle Bantu ‘cultural differences’ the same way, and punch their lights out if they even look at us the wrong way. Oh, yeah….that’s reserved for the feral Bantu.

  • me

    All of these delusional ‘liberals’ should be given a mandatory trip through Chicago’s ‘diverse’ neighborhoods. A walking tour of chocolate town should cure them of their fantasies of ‘racial harmony’ and pity for the feral Bantu and Squat Monster.

  • fuzzypook

    “In an open letter to Mr. Paterson last week, activist group Justicia for
    Migrant Workers wrote that “cultural differences” have been used to
    justify the community’s “adverse reaction” to migrant workers for far
    too long.”

    Once again it’s whiteys fault.

  • RyanP

    I live in southern Ontario(not far from lemington) and I had a few farm type jobs as a teen. It is all migrant workers now. I am curious how low they are paying them because I was only making $4 per hour when I did it 20 years ago. They seem to make enough to go out to bars and spend $5 on a beer.

  • Truth Teller

    “In July, the Ontario human rights tribunal ordered a greenhouse owner pay $23,000 in damages to a St. Lucian migrant worker who said he had been the target of racial slurs while working there in the summer of 2009.”
    I love it when employers of immigrants (legal or illegal) get sued by the immigrants. To bad the settlement didn’t have 3 or 4 more zeros to drive the employer out of business.