Finland will hold parliamentary elections on Sunday. One of the interesting question marks is who will come in second or third place. One poll predicts the Center Party winning (no surprise) with the National Coalition Party (NCP) and Perussuomalaiset (PS)* coming in second and third, respectively. The Social Democrats are in fourth place.
During the last four years since the 2011 parliamentary elections, Migrant Tales has written a lot about Finland’s anti-immigration politicians. Toping the list with flying colors are MPs and politicians of the PS.
One important matter to keep in mind, however, is that intolerance to Others isn’t only a PS thing but takes place in all Finnish parties. If you were a migrant or minority searching for a political party that could represent you in Finland, the way you’d go about this is by asking which party is the least racists.
One good example of a party constantly vacillating on immigration is the Social Democratic Party. It chairman Antti Rinne said in a recent debate that he would be in favor of having in force stricter language requirements on migrants. This would mean in effect that employers would be encouraged to hire white Finns in place of migrants.
The argument that Finns should receive preferential treatment over migrants in the job market is a common anti-immigration argument used by the PS as well.
In light of the parliamentary elections, the Red Cross asked Finland’s parties in parliament if they supported offering health care to undocumented migrants. All political parties except for two agreed that undocumented migrants should receive health care: the PS and Muutos 2011.
The Red Cross asked all the parties if there were in favor of granting health care to undocumented migrants. The PS and Muutos 2011 felt that undocumented migrants weren’t entitled to receive health care.
The most pro-immigration parties running for parliament in these elections are the Greens, Left Alliance and Swedish People’s Party.
Anti-immigration rhetoric and intolerance are harmful to any country for a number of reasons.
The great harm that such politicians inflict on this country when they victimize migrants and minorities is that they maintain and fuel a climate of suspicion that encourages social exclusion. Their message is clear: You don’t belong here, you are a guest no matter how many generations your family lives in this country. You are indefinitely an outsider.
Add to the latter poor and shoddy reporting by the national media on cultural diversity topics and a worrisome picture emerges on how migrants and minorities are systemically excluded and treated as second- and third-class members by our society.
Even if there are some good candidates running for parliament that are serious about turning Finland into a just country for everyone, which of these MPs seeking reelection want to foster discrimination against migrants and minorities?
Below is a list of the top 10 candidates seeking reelection that Migrant Tales would never vote for because of their anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity views.
The top 10 anti-immigration and anti-cultural diversity MPs seeking reelection on Sunday are (top to bottom left to right): Timo Soini (PS), James Hirvisaari (Muutos 2011), Juho Eerola (PS), Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS), Pia Kauma (NCP), Päivi Räsänen (KD), Olli Immonen (PS), Maria Lohela (PS), Tom Packalén (PS) and Maria Tolppanen (PS). Don’t vote for these candidates because they are hazardous to migrants, minorities, Finns and Finland.
1. Timo Soini (PS): This politician is the so-called ring leader of Finland’s anti-immigration voice in parliament. He always appears as a “good cop” in the media against his party’s racist “bad cops.” A conservative converted Christian, Soini is a power-hungry politician with few moral scruples.
2. James Hirvisaari (Muutos 2011): A social media Frankenstein created by Soini and the PS. Hirvisaari has the dubious honor of getting sacked from the PS because he didn’t know how to hide his far-right anti-immigration views well enough. Hirvisaari’s chronic hunger for media attention has encouraged him to talk about skid marks in parliament toilets and “wildly” masturbating journalists.
3. Juho Eerola (PS): This politician will always be remembered for an infamous statement he made a few years ago claiming that “I myself am attracted to Benito Mussolini’s fascism, and in particular the economic policy [the country] pursued.” Eerola belongs to the same far-right political wing as PS MEP Jussi Halla-aho who are fighting tooth and nail to maintain Finland white by denying migrants and minorities space and basic civil rights.
4. Teuvo Hakkarainen (PS): Three matters would be highlighted if a biography would be written about this politician’s four-year stint in parliament: drinking binges, women, victimizing and labeling immigrants and other minorities like gays. He has become the darling of tabloids.
5. Pia Kauma (NCP): Became a household name in the fall when she falsely claimed that low-income migrant women get social aid to buy new baby carriages. Finnish mothers, however, bought used carriages, according to Kauma. Despite the furor that she created by pitting migrants mothers against Finns (“us” versus “them”), Kauma never apologized for her false statements.
6. Päivi Räsänen (Christian Democratic Party): This conservative anti-immigration politician who considers homosexuality to be a sin is good example of how urban tales and suspicion are fed and maintained in Finland. As long as we have politicians like Räsänen in power, who served as minister of the interior during the last four years, nothing will ever change. Some of the many infamous statements she made about our ever-culturally diverse society include: Finland should only take Christian refugees, permits the detention of minors seeking asylum, ethnic profiling doesn’t happen in Finland, among others.
7. Olli Immonen (PS): Just like some far-right anti-immigration politicians of the PS, Immonen too has built his political career on Islamophobia. He is another social media Frankenstein PS creation as well. This PS MP, who is chairman of the far-right Suomen Sisu association and has been branded a Nazi by former Finnish Rural Party chairman, recently suggested that Finland should start classifying different people by ethnic background. The worst of the worst and a true enemy of migrants and minorities in Finland.
8. Maria Lohela (PS): Somebody who had worked with Lohela said she is a pretty sensible person but when you mention the term “Islam” she turns into a Ms. Hyde. Her dubious accomplishments in parliament have been to spread misinformation about humanitarian immigration, among other things related to cultural diversity. Apart from her staunch Islamophobic views, Lohela has made homophobic statements as well.
9. Tom Packalén (PS): This MP from Helsinki has, apparently fearing he may not get reelected, bolstered anti-immigration sound bites for the media and voters. Packalén lost by a wide margin in a debate on cultural diversity against Maryan Abdulkarim and Abdirahim Husu Hussein. Like Kauma, who used baby carriages to attack migrant mothers, Packalén claimed that migrant gangs are attacking innocent white Finns in Eastern Helsinki. He forgot to mention that some of the members of these gangs are white Finns and those that he labels as “with migrant backgrounds” are Finns as well. In sum a narrow-minded politician who doesn’t have the faintest clue about cultural diversity. He covers up his ignorance with his prejudice.
10. Maria Tolppanen (PS): Tolppanen is the most recent example of how some politicians have used the anti-immigration card to attract votes. The PS MP from Vaasa claimed that she would shout with joy if there were fewer immigrants and more people in the city square. Tolppanen has vowed to take away child support from immigrant families. She, like many of her PS MP colleagues, are a good example of how they are not interested in helping to promote immigrant participation in our society but their exclusion.
* The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.