1.17.2008

let them stay: jan 25-26 days of action update

Plans for the January 25 and 26 Days of Action in support of US war resisters in Canada continue apace.

Unfortunately, so do the deportation proceedings.

Four resisters now face deportation, including two families with young children. I'll resort to cliche: it's a race against time. Will the united opposition adopt a proposal to Let Them Stay (as recommended by the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration) before the final deportation orders come down?

In the US, on January 25, Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out and other peace groups will hold vigils and demonstrations outside Canadian Consulates in several cities. You can join them in San Francisco, Seattle, Washington DC or New York, and possibly some other places. Details here.

In Canada, January 26 events are being added all the time, including Joshua Key, of The Deserter's Tale, speaking in Saskatoon, and a letter-writing campaign in Thunder Bay.

The Toronto event now includes Shirley Douglas, Bob Rae (our latest Liberal supporter!), Olivia Chow (patron saint of the resisters), Vietnam draft resister and musician Bill King, musician Chris Brown (this one, not this one), and authors Lawrence Hill and John Hagan.

Everyone who attends the event will be asked to write a letter to Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion, then we'll all march to the post office to mail them. Have you ever heard of a march on a post office? We think it's a fun, participatory and somewhat goofy idea.

It will also be very effective. By the time Parliament resumes on January 29, Dion will have received hundreds - possibly thousands - of letters about the resisters. Those letters will reinforce and support the Campaign's persistent lobbying efforts.

It's a very tense and scary time for these brave soldiers for peace, and for their families. But we believe we can get this thing done.

4 comments:

TheIronist said...

I definitely plan to attend the Ottawa event on the 26th.

By the way, has your organization ever contacted Jesse Winchester, the singer songwriter? He's an American who came to Canada as a draft resister during Vietnam. He's quite impressive, and I'm pretty sure he lives in Toronto. Here's part of a bio I found online:

"With a personal distaste for the US Government policies on the Vietnam War he moved to Montreal, Quebec in 1967 as a draft dodger. In a little over a month Winchester found himself playing guitar in the band Les Astronauts before going solo as a regular at coffeehouses around Montreal. During one such foray in Toronto, he was spotted by Robbie Robertson of The Band and was enticed into recording an album that Robertson would produce. His self-titled debut on Ampex Records featured guest performances by David Rea, Al Cherney, Ken Pearson, Bob Boucher, David Lewis, Gary Black, and fellow The Band member Garth Hudson. After releasing 1972's Third Down, 110 To Go' Winchester began getting noticed for his songwriting with hits such as "Isn't That So". He became a Canadian citizen in 1973 and released his most successful album 'Learn To Love It' in 1974 featuring the nominal hit "Third Rate Romance" (which was a major hit in the US the following year by the Amazing Rhythm Aces). With inconsistent gaps between albums, Winchester found fame behind the scenes writing material that was being made into hits for others - The Everley Brothers, The Weather Girls, Jimmy Buffett, Joan Baez, and The New Grass Revival to name but a few. In 1977 Winchester was able to return home to the US to promote his LP 'Nothing But A Breeze' when the U.S. government gave draft dodgers amnesty. He retreated from the spotlight after 1988's "Humour Me". In 1999, after an 11-year absence from recording, he returned in typically low-key fashion with the amiable "Gentleman Of Leisure".

His first two albums are quite beautiful and he sounds great live, so I'm told. That, and supposedly he's an all round stand up guy.

Ferdzy said...

I'm hoping to attend the Toronto event. It's a little tricky, because that is the same weekend as the Guelph Organic Conference, which I also want to go to. Also depends on weather etc. But I'm looking forward to it.

L-girl said...

I definitely plan to attend the Ottawa event on the 26th.

Excellent!

By the way, has your organization ever contacted Jesse Winchester, the singer songwriter?

Possibly, probably. I have no idea, as that's not my area, but I can ask when we're organizing a future event. Thanks.

L-girl said...

I'm hoping to attend the Toronto event. It's a little tricky, because that is the same weekend as the Guelph Organic Conference, which I also want to go to.

I hope to see you there! There are also events in K-W and London, if that's any help.