Iraq veteran faces deportation, wins support
Published Jul 2, 2008 9:47 PM
The Canadian government is facing a surge of pressure and protest by supporters
of U.S. war resisters in Canada as it moves to deport the resisters, even after
a majority vote in Parliament that it “should immediately cease any
removal or deportation actions.” The pressure and protest campaign is
having an impact: The first resister the Canadian government ordered to leave,
Corey Glass, saw his deadline to leave extended from June 12 to July 9. Since
then Glass and others facing deportation have publicly announced plans to stay,
with widespread Canadian support.
Supporters across Canada and the U.S. have sent thousands of letters to
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email email@example.com) and Minister of Citizenship and
Immigration Diane Finley (email firstname.lastname@example.org) demanding that the
resisters be allowed to stay. In the U.S. the campaign is led by Veterans for
Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Courage to Resist and Project Safe
Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven noted that Amnesty International has also
weighed in, stating that Corey Glass should be considered a conscientious
objector and that if he were returned to the U.S. to be court-martialed and
imprisoned, AI would consider him a prisoner of conscience.
Veterans for Peace is encouraging its 7,000 members to contact the Canadian
government directly through a July 2 International Phone-In to Canadian
Immigration Minister Finley. The War Resisters Support Campaign, based in
Toronto and Vancouver, expects thousands of calls from both Canada and the U.S.
on July 2. (See resisters.ca/actions.html.)
In addition, vigils and delegations to Canadian consular offices throughout the
U.S. are planned on July 9, led by VFP, Courage to Resist and Project Safe
Courage to Resist is also spearheading a letter-writing campaign. Find sample
letters and contact information at www.couragetoresist.org/canada.
Camilo Mejia, national chairperson of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sent a
powerful open letter to Canada supporting the resisters. He wrote on behalf of
IVAW that “it is because of what we saw and experienced [in Iraq] that we
support our brothers and sisters seeking a new home in Canada. They are
avoiding participation in a criminal, illegal and immoral occupation so that
other families can live in peace in their own land. They are doing the right
The letter concluded: “We call upon the Canadian government to implement
the motion stopping all deportations of U.S. war resisters and allowing them to
stay in Canada, not only because it is your duty to the people you represent to
heed to their will, but also because it is a clear statement of support and
solidarity for the people of Iraq.”
In addition to the Parliamentary resolution, a poll in early June by Canada AM
on Canadian television recorded that 63 percent of Canadians favor letting U.S.
war resisters stay.
The struggle to make Canada a sanctuary for war resisters takes on greater
importance as more soldiers refuse to return to Iraq. The increasing support
for resisters demonstrates widespread opposition to the war and determination
to stop it the simplest way: by helping the troops refuse to fight.
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