Take two of the SDP-Heinäluoma anti-immigration saga

by , under All categories, Enrique

Social Democrat MP Eero Heinäluoma, who outraged a number of politicians, some Finns and immigrants over the weekend in an HBL interview on Saturday over his statements on labor immigration, incredulously states in the Social Democratic Party daily Demari that the party’s immigration policy has not stiffened.

Taking into account the reaction and the editorials in some of Finland’s major dailies on Monday, it seems that Heinäluoma is the only person who does not yet know that the SDP’s immigration policy has taken a sharp turn to the populist right.

(UPDATED 26.4) Moreover, the reckless path that Heinäluoma and Urpilainen have taken the SDP threatens to split the party in two.  Either way, the SDP will lose if their election-campaign gamble backfires or pays off. If it does not work, guess whose heads will roll and if it pays off, they will have to put into practice their populist immigration policy.

As a rude insult to all those immigrants working and living in this country, he suggests that foreigners that come to Finland are apparently too dumb to learn the Finnish language and therefore will be condemned to earning slave wages. “Those foreigners that come here with deficient language skills and knowledge of Finnish culture can be used to work for lower wages,” he said.

This argument and spreading the stereotype that “immigrants only work for slave wages” appears to be a new trick by some SDP members to incite nationalist sentiment against foreign workers. I wonder if he has not, with his populist statement, contributed to greater discrimination of immigrants in the job market?

If I had the opportunity to face Heinäluoma and the SDP chairperson, Jutta Urpilainen, I would tell them in plain and clear Finnish:  Everything has its limit. Stop using immigrants for your opportunistic political goals!

(Updated 26.4) Heinaluoma is “concerned” over the labor situation

Heinäluoma said he is concerned about the labor situation in Finland but has not raised a finger, never mind not even made a suggestion, how he plans to resolve what he calls “a- and b-class employees.” Probably somebody should tell him that those types of wage-earners exist in Finland today.

Taking into account official 26% unemployment among immigrants in Finland, I have yet to hear from Heinäluoma how he plans to further  equal opportunity for all in this country.

The reason why these issues have not been addressed is because Heinäluoma is not interested in improving the lot of immigrant workers in Finland. He finds it easier to maintain a climate of distrust than take concrete steps to help Finland’s ever-growing immigrant community.

  1. Jonas G

    This is a highly concerning development and frankly disgusting. I have lost a lot of respect for SDP after this incident. It is concerning to read in yesterday’s Hufvudstadsbladet that Urpilainen agrees with his line.

    I am in Lund in Sweden now today for business and there was a report on Finnish politicians increasingly right-wing statements on immigration on the main morning radio news bulletin. Embarrassing. On the plus side, they played a clip of Steven Frostdahl (who is the chairman of FSD) criticising Heinäluoma’s views.

    • Enrique

      –This is a highly concerning development and frankly disgusting.

      Hi Jonas, I hope you are well and are having a successful business trip in Sweden. Yes, welcome aboard: we are all shocked by SDP’s shift to the far right on immigration policy. It is shameful and a tragedy for the party and the country.