We expect the resolution to go before the House of Commons sometime in April. We don't know what the outcome will be, because we don't know how the Liberals will vote.
If you are new around here, this the English text of the resolution we need to see passed. It was passed by a united opposition in the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration in December.
In accordance with its mandate pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), your Committee has considered the issue of Iraq
The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.
In these final weeks before the vote, we are leafletting and lobbying and trying to drum up more positive media attention.
This story in the New York Times Magazine was very honest and positive, and has been picked up by the International Herald Tribune and many local papers.
This CTV piece was also very good, please check it out. There have been positive op-eds in several local Canadian newspapers, such as the Kingston Whig-Standard and the Sudbury Star.
We also saw our first negative editorial, from the Calgary Sun. I'm linking to it because it might help if you are talking to anyone about war resisters in Canada. The editorial is based on two misconceptions: that the Vietnam War resisters who came to Canada were all avoiding the draft, and that service in the Iraq War is voluntary. Neither is true. Many Vietnam veterans who came to Canada had enlisted, then deserted. And, while initially enlisting in the US military is now (technically) voluntary, service in Iraq is not. Ask Phil McDowell.
The movie "Stop-Loss" opens this weekend, and Campaigners will be leafletting outside the theatre in Toronto. The release of this movie is very good timing for us, as it will highlight how very involuntary serving in the Iraq War is.
If you're in Toronto and would like to see some testimony from Winter Soldier, as well as some live testimony from war resisters in Canada, join us at Winter Soldier II on Monday, April 7. It's taking place on the University of Toronto campus; email me for details.
I also have a special shout-out. If you live in Montreal and want to help Iraq War resisters stay in Canada, please email me. There is something very short-term and fairly painless you can do, that will help our movement in a very concrete way.
I have an update on war resister James Burmeister, but I'll put that in a separate post.