A final reminder: today in the U.S., and tomorrow in Canada, there are important events in support of Iraq War resisters in Canada.
In the US, Courage to Resist, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Military Families Speak Out, and the thousands of peace groups belonging to United for Peace and Justice will hold vigils and demonstrations outside Canadian Consulates in San Francisco, Seattle, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York, Minneapolis and Dallas.
In Canada, there will be events in: Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Marathon, Ottawa, Grand Forks, Nelson, Victoria.
If you can't attend any of these, you can still help the resisters. We need you to do one thing, and to do it now: write to Stéphane Dion.
Make it a handwritten letter. It doesn't have to be lengthy or especially eloquent.
Tell Mr Dion that you support US war resisters in Canada. Tell him you want an immediate end to deportation proceedings against all war resisters and conscientious objectors. Tell him you want the Liberal Party to support a resolution that will allow the resisters to gain legal status in Canada.
Then, if you have time, write the same letter to Stephen Harper, and to Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.
Names and addresses are here; you don't even need postage.
This letter-writing campaign is not an empty exercise. Through this concerted effort and the persistent lobbying of the Support Campaign, we have seen support for the war resisters among Parliamentarians steadily increase. Most of the key Liberals are now on board. We are waiting on Dion to give the official green light.
I urge you to write a letter this weekend.
Deportation proceedings have already begun against four resisters, two with young children. When the Canadian Parliament resumes on January 29, we want Dion to have received thousands of letters, all demanding one thing: Let Them Stay.
During the Vietnam War, at least 50,000 – possibly as many as 80,000 – Americans came to Canada to escape the draft or because they did not want to live in a country that was perpetrating such an immoral, needless war. What many people don't know is that Canada did not immediately allow the Vietnam resisters to stay. The Canadian peace movement campaigned on behalf of the resisters and pressured their government to do the right thing. Finally, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said, "Canada should be a refuge from militarism."
Once again, Canadians are calling on Canada to be a refuge from militarism. You can help make this happen.