And now for the Liberals.
In case you missed it, yesterday the Supreme Court of Canada rejected the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, the first US war resisters to apply for asylum in Canada. The Supreme Court will not hear the men's cases, which claimed the Immigration and Refugee Board acted improperly by not allowing arguments on the illegality and immorality of the war in Iraq.
Thus, the attempt to give these brave men and women and their families refuge in Canada through the judicial process is over.
Now it's up to the political process.
The NDP and the Bloc already support a resolution to allow US war resisters asylum in Canada. If the Liberals would get on board, a united Opposition would pass the resolution - and we would Let Them Stay.
Lobbying efforts by the War Resisters Support Campaign show that many, perhaps most, Liberal MPs personally support the idea. But to date, the official leaders of the Opposition have shown no leadership on this issue.
It's clearly a win-win issue. The Liberals, who seem to care a lot more about their own image and electability than about issues of real substance, are being presented with a golden opportunity. They can show their independence from US policy and agenda. They can distinguish themselves from the Conservatives, and align themselves with the values and actions of Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, whose memory they love to invoke.
They have nothing to lose. The majority of Canadians support asylum for US war resisters; those that don't mostly vote Tory. The US is unlikely to make a big stink over this, as it prefers not to advertise the fact that its own military is increasingly refusing to liberate the Iraqis (from their homes, limbs and lives).
Last night we demonstrated in front of the federal courthouse in Toronto; it was one of eight such demonstrations across Canada. There was a good turnout and rousing speeches, and I hope the resisters felt somewhat comforted by the show of support. They are living with a tremendous amount of uncertainty and stress. It's clear that the community, and especially the camaraderie among the resisters themselves, is helping them cope.
The focus of the rally was simple. Call your MPs. Call Stephane Dion's office. Email them, write them, call them. Tell them: support the resolution to let them stay. More information here. (Scroll down).
I'm taking some time off work this weekend to attend a strategy session. Deportation papers are just around the corner for some resisters, and after that, court martial and military prison. We cannot let that happen. We must Let Them Stay.