Contents: The Sir! No Sir! blog is an information clearing house, drawing on a wide variety of sources, to track the unfolding history of the new GI Movement, and the wars that brought the movement to life.
Where applicable, parallels will be drawn between the new movement and the Vietnam era movement which was the focus of the film Sir! No Sir!
Disclaimer: In accordance with title 17 u.s.c. section 107, this material is distributed without profit for research and educational purposes.
The Sir! No Sir! Blog has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is the Sir! No Sir! Blog endorsed or sponsored by the originator. Links are provided to allow for verification of authenticity.
This article, by John Bermingham, wasa posted to Courage to Resist, October 19, 2009
U.S. army deserter Rodney Watson has become the first fugitive from service in Iraq to enter church sanctuary in Canada. Monday morning, the 31-year-old told reporters he has been living in refuge at the First United Church in Vancouver since Sept. 18. "I don't believe it will be just for me to be deported," said Watson, flanked by church ministers and supporters. Watson lost his refugee claim on Sept. 11, and was expecting to be deported back to the U.S., where he faces jail for refusing to do a second tour of duty in Iraq.
Ric Matthews, minister with the First United Church, said Watson has an apartment at the church, and is fed on-site. Watson cannot leave the grounds of the church. Matthews said the church agreed to let Watson take refuge because it doesn't support the Iraq War, or the way the U.S. military treated Watson — who signed up to be a military cook, but was ordered to find explosives.
"We expect the authorities will continue to respect this place as a place of sanctuary," he said.
Sarah Bjorknas of the War Resisters Support Campaign Vancouver said three out of the five military deserters who have been deported from Canada since 2008 have been jailed.
A statement by Vancouver NDP MP Libby Davies said she'll continue to ask the Tory government to honour two non-binding votes in Parliament to allow army deserters to seek asylum in Canada.
"The government has chosen to ignore the will of the majority view of Canadians," said Bjorknas.
This press release, from the War Resisters Support Campaign, was posted to the We Move to Canada blog, September 17, 2009
Private Member’s bill to be introduced in support of U.S. Iraq War resisters
OTTAWA—On Thursday, September 17, Toronto Member of Parliament Gerard Kennedy (Parkdale—High Park), is expected to introduce a private Member’s bill in the House of Commons that, if passed, would allow U.S. Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada. The war resisters are U.S. military personnel who have refused to participate in the illegal and immoral Iraq War.
The bill, which will be seconded by Vancouver Member of Parliament Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas), will make binding on the government the direction that Parliament has already given twice (on June 3, 2008 and March 30, 2009) by way of motions that resulted from studies of the issue by the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM).
“It’s time that the current government of Canada reflected Canadians’ desire to allow war resisters to stay and contribute to our country,” said Gerard Kennedy, MP. “This law will simply compel them to do what they haven’t had the good graces or the good sense to do on their own – and recognise the special circumstances that strike a chord with the majority of Canadians.”
“Canada’s Parliament has already voted twice to allow these principled men and women to stay,” said Bill Siksay, MP. “Canadians have never supported the Iraq War. This bill reflects the significant support for Iraq War resisters that can be found in every part of our country.”
The introduction of this private Member’s bill comes at a time when several U.S. Iraq War resisters are threatened with deportation. Two others, Robin Long and Cliff Cornell who both lived in British Columbia, have already been deported to the U.S. where they were court-martialed and jailed as prisoners of conscience for their opposition to the Iraq War. The felony-equivalent convictions given to Iraq War resisters who have been sent back to the U.S. by the Canadian government will result in life-long punishment such as the loss of the right to vote in many states and severely limited chances for employment.
“We are hopeful that this bill will succeed in achieving what should have been done a long time ago,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “Iraq War resisters have done the right thing, and Canadians have welcomed them with open arms. The Conservative government is out of step with the majority sentiment in this country, intent on imposing its own minority view. Canadians want to have their voices heard through this very important bill.”
A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies in June 2008 found widespread approval (64 per cent) for Parliament’s initial vote directing the minority Harper government to immediately stop deporting Iraq War resisters and create a program to facilitate the resisters’ requests for permanent resident status.
This announcement was posted to the We Move To Canada Blog, August 31, 2009
On Tuesday, September 22, join the War Resisters Support Campaign for a special performance of "The Emergency Monologues". This one-man show was a big hit during the recent Toronto Fringe Festival. I've heard it's very funny, very dark, and very good.
Tickets are $20, or $10 with valid student ID. There'll be a cash bar, and all proceeds will go to the War Resisters Support Campaign, for legal and other emergency expenses.
* * * *
MORGAN JONES PHILLIPS presents:
THE EMERGENCY MONOLOGUES: Tales of the bizarre, ridiculous and irksome side of being a paramedic in an unidentified urban city
"Phillips neatly mixes humour and personal commentary with some dead-serious topics. He's a charming storyteller and knows how to improvise if the occasion arises, though the material would probably work better over a few shared drinks than in the theatre." -Jon Kaplan (NOW Magazine)
"If you've ever heard a siren in the night and wondered where it was going, The Emergency Monologues is your answer... Fascinating, gruesome, and laugh-out-loud funny." -Chris Earle (Second City)
WHEN: Tuesday, September 22, 8:00 p.m. / Doors open 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Steelworkers Union Hall, 25 Cecil Street, Toronto (parking available)
HOW MUCH: $20 or $10.00 with valid student ID
WHY: LET THEM STAY!
This statement, by Steve Yoczk, was posted to Courage to Resist, June 5, 2009
I am a former military servicemember who went AWOL rather than deploy to Iraq. This is the story of why I refused to fight.
I joined the Coast Guard Reserve at age 17 in May 2002 and served uneventfully until June 2005. I decided to switch to the Regular Army for the handful of obvious and universal reasons: money, lack of education, desire for good working skill. More than that, though, I wanted to be a part of something I felt was just and right, with the spirit of the Second World War and the beginning months of the Vietnam conflict in my head. I believed the Army to be an institution that stressed “think before you shoot”. I was told I would be training for communications with the 25 Foxtrot program, or Network Switching Systems Operator/Maintainer.
I was told many things by a recruiter I trusted not to lie to me since we both knew I’d already been in the service several years.
I soon realized my serious mistake when I arrived at the Warrior Transition Course (WTC) at Fort Knox, a prior-service training course. I spoke to one person who had tried to get into the Navy SEALs, and was now trying to become a Ranger. I asked him why, and his response was “I just want to kill Hadjis, man!”, with excitement in his voice. Others were re-signing to the military because of monetary reasons, mainly. Extra combat pay, separation from family pay, hazardous duty pay, and who knows how many other possibilities; men and women putting their lives on the line to help ease the shackles of our monetary system.
Probably the defining moment for me realizing I had made the wrong decision was our platoon commander, a Sergeant First Class, instructing us on tactics in movement and engaging the enemy. Near the end of the session, he spoke of prisoners, and explained “It’s just better to double tap them (double tap meaning shooting twice to kill) and walk away than to haul them back to have to deal with all the paperwork. Just please don’t do it in front of a reporter”. This was laughed at by the others, but I just stood in awe. This man was a combat veteran, with ranger and Special Forces tabs – what I used to think of as America’s Strongest and Brightest – explaining these things in the same everyday fashion you explain how to work a copy machine.
I finished the course and moved on to Fort Gordon, thinking things might change once I began training in my assigned course. I was placed in a prior service unit, and spoke with several veterans each day that had been deployed numerous times. Again I was schooled on the many benefits of being deployed in war, and more of the exact same reasons I heard at Fort Knox were repeated again by different people.
Halfway into the 20 week training course I realized the job I had signed up for no longer existed in the Army due to obsolete equipment. “Jobless” individuals were being trained anyway, and would be deployed anyway. This meant I would be doing any number of things from convoy escort to prisoner transport. I realized this would not be the last word that the Army would go back on, and knew that I had to get out before my life made a serious downturn if not a sudden end.
I began resisting in any way I could think of, after learning that the CO application process was rigged and that I would just draw unwanted attention on myself. I had spoken to several soldiers who had tried to apply, and their application was either thrown out, reasoned away with pro-Army talk, or they were put on hold for “review” while the soldier was deployed anyway. I tried gaining weight, I failed over 50 Physical Training (PT) tests (knowing the regulation was three failures and you went before the Commanding Officer for a “motivation check”, which never came), I would regularly disappear from duty during the day, and miss formations. On and on and on this went. After about eight months, I learned that the one thing keeping me on base, the PT Test, would have a regulation change for prior service members. This meant that the PT Test was no longer a requirement for graduation, and that I would soon be attached to a unit bound for Iraq.
My depression and desperation increased at this point, and I believed I had absolutely no other way out, so I attempted suicide. After a week of “therapy”, I was deemed still fit for duty, and so was returned to my unit and continued on my track to Iraq.
I learned of a friend who had gone to Canada shortly after this, and began speaking to him and members of the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto. I felt this was my last possible chance to avoid a seriously life changing event, and went to Canada in November of 2006.
I lived there until April of 2009, and turned myself in. I was discharged a week and a half later because I fell under the criteria for a quick discharge, since I never officially graduated my AIT Class.
I’m now living in the Iraq Veterans Against the War, Washington DC House, and am looking forward to sharing my story with the hopes that others who might be questioning their commitment like I did, will know that there is no shame in getting out before you’re sent to hell. I believe the most important aspect of the anti-war movement is to take the boots off the ground – no soldiers, no war. If there was a collective “hell no” from the entire service, they would not be able to lock up each and every one of them – war’s over.
What’s happened so far and will probably continue to happen for some time is horrible, but the solution mentioned above is quite simple. The problem will be for those individuals who are perfectly capable of doing this thing to remove their mind from what I call the “consumer’s distraction complex” that we’ve all been programmed with, take a good, honest and empathetic look at what they are contributing to, and see the humanity in actions of resistance to these things. It could be over that quick.
This was originally posted to the facebook group Let Them Stay Campaign: Support Iraq War Resisters
On June 3rd, US Iraq war resister Joshua Key went before the Immigration and Refugee Board for the second time to make his case for asylum in Canada.
Joshua Key, who wrote The Deserter’s Tale with reknowned author Lawrence Hill, asked the Federal Court for a judicial review of the negative decision in his first refugee hearing.
The Federal Court ordered that the IRB hear his case again. In his decision last July, Justice Barnes stated “… officially condoned military misconduct falling well short of a war crime may support a claim to refugee protection.
Indeed, the authorities indicate that military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non-combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim where that is the proven reason for refusing to serve. I have, therefore, concluded that the Board erred by imposing a too restrictive legal standard upon Mr. Key.
Several Iraq war resisters, including Jeremy Hinzman, are currently threatened with deportation by the Canadian government. This is despite Parliament having voted twice in ten months to stop the deportations and implement a program to allow US Iraq war resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada.
On the one-year anniversary of the first motion passed by Parliament to let resisters stay, join us in support of Joshua Key and the other Iraq war resisters and send a message to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and the Conservative government that it is time for them to stop imposing their minority views, that it is time for them to implement the will of Parliament and the majority of Canadians.
Stop deporting war resisters to certain punishment!
Let them stay!
This press release was published by the War Resisters Support Campaign, March 29, 2009
Canadians call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to use his authority to act. On Monday evening the House of Commons voted, for the second time in 10 months, to let Iraq War resisters live in Canada. The vote on a motion from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration directs the Government of Canada to immediately stop the deportation of U.S. Iraq War resisters and establish a program to facilitate permanent resident status for the resisters and their families.
“It’s time for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Harper to follow the will of the majority of Canadians and act as directed by Parliament,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “It could be as simple as Jason Kenney using his discretion as minister to grant the resisters’ applications to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”
The vote in Parliament comes less than a week after Members of Parliament from all three opposition parties held a press conference calling on the Harper government to stop the deportation of Kimberly Rivera, the first female Iraq War resister to come to Canada.
Kimberly Rivera, a former U.S. soldier, deployed to Iraq in the fall of 2006. While home on leave she decided she could no longer participate in the war. She and her family sought refuge in Canada in January 2007. Kimberly, her husband Mario and their three children – including a Canadian born daughter – were ordered to leave Canada by March 26 or face deportation. They won an 11th hour stay from the Federal Court Wednesday evening. Though The Honourable James Russell’s written decision was not immediately released, his verbal ruling explained that war resisters who are deported to the U.S. face disproportionately severe punishment for being public about their objections to the Iraq War.
“This was the fifth time that the court ruled that Iraq war resisters face harsher punishment if they’re sent back to the U.S.,” said Robidoux. “The courts have spoken, Parliament has spoken and Canadians have made their views clear. These conscientious objectors should not be sent back to the United States to face jail time for opposing the Iraq War.” A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies last June found that 64 per cent of Canadians want the government to allow Iraq War resisters to become permanent residents of Canada.
For further information, please contact: Michelle Robidoux, Spokesperson, War Resisters Support Campaign, 416-856-5008; or
Ken Marciniec, Communications Volunteer, War Resister Support Campaign, 416-803-6066, firstname.lastname@example.org
This article, by Anthony Lane, was originally publishd in the Colorado Spprings Independent, April 13, 2009
Since ditching the Army and the Iraq war two years ago, Kim Rivera has seen some things go her way.
The former Fort Carson soldier and her family found a new home in Canada, along with supporters to help them plead their case. From Toronto, the mother of three watched as American anti-war sentiment helped launch Barack Obama to the presidency.
But even as sentiment and sympathy align, the Texas native faces possible deportation, and imprisonment back in the States. Borys Wrzesnewskyj (pronounced rez-NEV-skee), a member of Canada's Parliament, says efforts to stop his country's government from deporting Rivera and hundreds of other Army deserters seem to be going nowhere.
"The government is standing shoulder to shoulder with the former Bush administration," Wrzesnewskyj says.
Given that the Obama administration has shown no sign of easing up on deserters, Wrzesnewskyj says, his question for Canada's conservative government is simple: "Why would you send this mother to prison and separate her from her three small children for taking a principled stand against an unjust war?"
Canada's minority government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, has deported at least four U.S. deserters since July over the objection of a majority in Parliament who have voted twice to let the them stay. Robin Long, another Fort Carson soldier, got wide publicity as the first to be deported, and he is now serving 15 months in a California military jail.
Rivera was preparing to be deported March 26 before a Canadian federal judge granted her an emergency stay of removal, based on the similarly harsh sentence she could get in the U.S. She is now waiting to find out if the courts will review her application for refugee status in Canada.
"It gives me another day to fight," Rivera said in a March 25 press conference.
Though Rivera could not be reached for this story, she told the Dallas Observer that she joined the Army mostly to provide a better living for her family than she could by working at Wal-Mart. She later found she objected to the war effort and missed her loved ones.
Her publicity could hurt her if she's deported. Lee Zaslofsky, national coordinator of the Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign, says Long's outspokenness against the war could explain his 15-month sentence, nearly twice what another Fort Carson deserter received and longer than those of some soldiers who have admitted to taking part in the murder of Iraqi civilians.
Strictly speaking, desertion is punishable by death during time of war, though the Army has not tried to go that far. The first year of the Iraq war, 2,610 soldiers deserted. That number climbed to 4,698 in the year between October 2007 and September 2008. Most deserters just try to lie low in the States; those who avoid speeding tickets or other law-enforcement contact run little risk of getting scooped up by the Army.
Though many Vietnam-era deserters and draft-dodgers were later forgiven, few expect that to happen for modern-day deserters, particularly while combat continues. And despite Obama's position that soldiers shouldn't have been sent to Iraq to begin with, Army spokesman Lt. Col. George Wright says he's unaware of any plans to change treatment of those soldiers who opted out on their own.
The fight for Iraq war resisters to remain in Canada is a two front war.
The political front
On June 3, 2008, Canadian Parliament voted in favour of allowing Iraq war resisters to seek permanent residence status in Canada.
This non-binding motion called for the creation of a special government program to, "allow conscientious objectors and their families ... who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations to apply for permanent resident status."
One hundred and thirty-seven MPs from the Liberal party, the NDP and the Bloc Québécois voted in favour of the motion, while 110 Conservative MPs voted against.
While the motion was passed by a majority in Parliament, the minority Conservative government under Stephen Harper has yet to enact it; this despite constant lobbying
from the War Resister Support Campaign (WRSC), immigration rights groups and anti-war activists.
The judicial front
Even though Canadian Parliament had passed the June 3, 2008, it is non-binding. Therefore the Canadian immigration system, through the Immigrant and Refugee Board
(IRB), has been issuing deportation orders to those resisters who have applied for refugee status.
These deportation orders are being contested in the Canadian judicial system as the Federal Court considers a series of IRB decisions and defendant appeals.
Canada's immigration process includes both an Humanitarian and Compassionate (H + C) application and a Pre-Risk Removal Assessment (PRRA), to determine the impact of a deportation on the individual or if they would face undue hardship if returned to their home country.
There are a number of different resisters challenging their negative H + C and PRRA decisions, requesting an appeal or a new refugee application from the IRB.
One such case includes a Federal court judge's acceptance to review the deportation order of resister Jeremy Hinzman. This allows Hinzman and his wife and children to remain in Canada until the appeal of their negative PRRA is heard.
Despite an IRB ruling stating that Hinzman would face no undue hardship if returned to the United States to face a military trial for desertion, in (Federal Court) Justice Mosley ruling, he concluded that "[b]ased on the evidence and submissions before me, I am satisfied that the applicants would suffer irreparable harm if a stay were not granted pending determination of their leave application."
Lawyers for the resisters and the WRSC both assert that any soldier deported back to the US to stand trial would face undue hardship. They cite an emerging trend of prosecution in U.S. court marshal proceedings that considers speaking out publicly against the U.S. government and the Iraq war grounds for increased punishment.
This risk of harsher punishment - including prosecution with charges equal to a civilian felony conviction, prison sentences, denial of veteran benefits for themselves and their family and the military humiliation of receiving a dishonourable discharge - is at the heart of Hinzman's immigration case currently before the courts.
In recent days, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Jason Kenney (replacing Diane Finley) has been catching heat for public statements made to the Toronto Sun concerning US war resisters, spoken from his position as the minister directly in charge of immigration.
Commenting after resister Kimberly Rivera received a negative IRB decision on January 7, 2009, he referred to Iraq war resisters as, "bogus refugee claimants" in a later interview on Parliament Hill.
He went on to state, "I don't appreciate people adding to the backlog and clogging up the system whose claims are being rejected consistently 100 per cent of the time."
Minister Kenney also responded to an article written by John Hogan in the Toronto Sun where Hogan questioned the independence of the IRB in light of the Conservative governments consistent negative stance towards US war resisters. In a response to this article, he wrote that, "war resistance is futile" and re-affirmed the IRB'S independence.
Critics of the minority Conservative government claim that Minister Kenney's comments prejudice any immigration hearings for war resisters.
Lee Zaslofsky, an organizer with the War Resister Support Campaign (WRCS), criticized Minister Kenney's comments as political interference on the supposedly independent IRB tribunal.
"Everyone, including war resisters, has the right to expect their applications will be dealt with in a fair and impartial manner," he wrote in a statement.
"Minister Kenney's comments show the Harper government has a blanket policy of opposition against war resisters, which makes it nearly impossible for them to be treated on a 'case-by-case basis' as our government has been leading Canadians to believe."
Criticism of Minister Kenney's remarks were also laid down through an open letter by Elizabeth McWeeney, President of the Canadian Council of Refugees.
In the letter writ on January 8, 2009, she stated her concern surrounding Minister Kenney's comments which she called, "highly inappropriate" since they "give the strong appearance of political interference."
She was referring to the fact that the IRB re-appointments are made by Cabinet and IRB members might fear for their tenure if they do not toe a certain political line.
She wrote, "highly publicized cases such as the war resisters are always challenging for the IRB which must live up to its obligations to make fair, impartial and politically unmotivated determinations, based on jurisprudence and the evidence before it."
Any political assertions otherwise, especially spoken from the minister responsible for immigration affairs, threatens the independence of the IRB and the right of war resisters to a fair immigration assessment.
McWeeny also refuted the Minister's assumptions around the burden that war resisters supposedly place on the Canadian immigration system.
She was "shocked" that Minister Kenney would attribute the systematic delays in the refugee claim process to the war resisters, slamming the Minister for the lack of credibility to his argument since the number of war resister claims was "miniscule".
Instead, she cited that the backlog was in fact a consequence of the Conservative government to appoint IRB members.
This slams shut the door on any Conservative government intentions to utilize a divide and conquer strategy between refugees.
The open letter ends with the Canadian Council of Refugees affirming its support for Iraq war resisters, "these are individuals who deserve our admiration for following their consciences and refusing to participate in wrongdoing, at significant cost to themselves."
This is a critical juncture for Iraq war resisters in Canada - with a series of deportation orders scheduled to start at the end of the month.
We as a society must weight their struggle using both our hands. Carefully determine the possible outcomes to their fight to remain in Canada. Carefully determine the value of life and the cost of protecting it.
Jail time in a U.S. prison for refusing to kill or a new home in Canada for refusing to kill.
The cost of laying down one's guns and refusing to fight is soon to be determined legally in our courts and morally in the hearts of Canadians across the country.
The price: freedom or deportation.
This article, by Tiffany Crawford, was published by Canwest News Service, January 6, 2009.
OTTAWA - An American war resister, who was told he must leave Canada Tuesday or face deportation to the United States, will not have to vacate the country until at least the end of January, says a support group.
Michelle Robidoux, a spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Dean Walcott's case has been held over until Jan. 30.
Other U.S. resisters facing possible deportation include Cliff Cornell, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Patrick Hart, Matt Lowell and Kimberly Rivera - and their families.
Some of the resisters have applied to the Federal Court to have their cases overturned on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
``If the Federal Court agrees to a judicial review of these resister's cases, that could be very positive,'' said Robidoux.
The Federal Court previously agreed to hear two of the cases, said Lee Zaslofsky, co-ordinator of the support group. Glass has been granted a new application to stay on humanitarian grounds while Hinzman and his family will go before the court Feb. 10.
``I'm hoping the Federal Court will be positive in Jermemy Hinzman's case and if not set a precedent, then at least give guidance on other cases that are pending, as well,'' said Zaslofsky.
``My feeling is it would be a travesty if people were deported only to find out, in Jeremy Hinzman's case, the court overturns the decisions . . . and the government threw them out anyway.''
Rivera, who was the first woman to refuse to serve after being deployed to Iraq, will face a decision on her deportation order Wednesday.
Rivera gave birth Nov. 23, said Robidoux, and will go before the board on compassionate and humanitarian grounds.
``So if she is deported and jailed, she will be separated from her newborn and she has two other young children,'' said Robidoux.
Cornell, who was ordered to leave Canada by Dec. 24, or face deportation, also had his case held over until Jan. 22.
Cornell, 28, is originally from Arkansas but lives on Gabriola Island, near Nanaimo, B.C. He has been in Canada since January 2005 after refusing deployment to the Iraq war.
Another American, Christopher Teske, also living in B.C., will have a decision heard Jan. 20.
Lowell is waiting to hear whether his appeal will be heard.
This is a partial calendar, because how much much happens is up to you: people of peace all over Canada will make this week a success by becoming involved.
Please pledge to do one thing, every day, to support war resisters in Canada. A phone call to your MP. A letter to a local newspaper. An hour of leafletting outside a local event (Obama's inauguration might provide you with one). An email to all your contacts. One action, every day.
* * * *
Key upcoming dates include:
Jan 20: Removal date for Chris Teske
Jan 22: Removal date for Cliff Cornell
Jan. 26: Parliament resumes
Jan. 27: Removal date for the Rivera family (with 3 children, including an infant)
Jan 29: Removal date for the Hart family (with a child)
Jan. 30: Removal date for Dean Walcott
Feb. 10: Judicial review in Jeremy Hinzman's case
March 13: new IRB hearing for Joshua Key
March 18: Judicial review in Matt Lowell's case
The court dates in February and March may bring good news for our cause, so it's no coincidence that the Harper Government is trying to rush war resisters out of the country before then. If deported to the US, the war resisters face court martial, prison time and dishonourable discharges, the equivalent of a felony offence.
On June 3, 2008, Parliament passed a motion calling on the Government to cease all deportation proceedings against war resisters and allow them to stay in Canada. The Harper Government continues to flout democracy by ignoring the motion.
In response to this crisis, we are launching "Let Them Stay Week", January 19-26, a national week of actions to show the broad Canadian support to let war resisters stay.
As we mobilize support across Canada, I hope you will consider what you can do to help.
Monday, January 19: Write a letter to the editor of your newspaper of choice. When papers get enough letters on one topic, they're likely - even obligated - to print one or more.
2. Tuesday, January 20: Leaflet a local event. See the War Resisters Support Campaign site for a leaflet, make your own, or email me. The Obama Inauguration may provide you with a local event. If not, stand in front of a subway or commuter rail stop at rush hour.
3. Wednesday, January 21: In Toronto, we'll hold a press conference featuring war resister families and many prominent Canadians, including supportive MPs.
That evening, there'll be an event in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood, home to the Rivera family, Dean Walcott, Dale Landry, Ryan Johnson and other resisters live. This is a neighbourhood event organized by the community itself - mothers from Kim's day-care, people she knows through the local health centre, her son's school - working Canadians, many of whom are also immigrants. I'll post details as I have them.
If you want to plan a small solidarity event in your community, this might be the night to do it.
Thursday, January 22, will be a national call-in day focusing on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney & Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
Friday, January 23 will be a day to call or drop by your local MP's office to ask what they are doing to support resisters.
The War Resisters Support Campaign encourages people of peace throughout Canada to use the framework of "Let them Stay Week" to be creative and organize local events in support of war resisters.
Any group you belong to - faith, peace, labour, LGBT, environment - can get involved. Please send this information to your membership and invite them to act.
Supporting resistance to war is a concrete way of supporting peace. And giving refuge to military resisters speaks to the kind of society we want Canada to be.
We are also collecting signatures of prominent Canadians for an open letter to Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. If you have any leads in this regard, please get in touch with me.