On our way there, I wondered if we would be the only ones in attendance, or if the whole audience would be Campaigners. It was pouring out, and I wouldn't have been surprised if the room was empty but for people who already knew the speakers. Yet despite the bad weather, the room was packed.
The speakers were great, bringing three similar, but different, perspectives about the war and their personal struggles. One of the women, Jill Hart, was a very active military wife - so much so that when she learned her husband Patrick was AWOL, she reported him to his commanding officer. Jill still describes herself as "pro-military, pro-troops," but is now as against the war in Iraq and as disgusted by the US government as anyone you'll meet. Jill is also a very active, articulate person, a woman of leadership. If Canada lets her stay, I think we'll hear a lot more from her in the future.
There was a good little discussion afterwards, people wrote letters to Stéphane Dion, and a hat-pass yielded $150. I'm told that every speaking event, all over the country, is the same: rousing support from ordinary Canadians. Now we have to convince the Liberals that this is a winning issue for them.
Next week, the Standing Committee on Immigration will hold hearings on the war resisters. Soon after, they will vote on whether or not to recommend that Parliament pass a resolution to Let Them Stay. There are 12 Committee members: five Tory and seven Opposition. Of those seven, five are already in favour. Our job is to influence those two minds.
I'll be going to Ottawa to be part of the supportive presence there. Since our planned trip to Ottawa in the spring was cancelled, it seems very fitting that my first trip to the capital will be for activism.