Tomorrow's historic vote in the House of Commons will be the product of years of patient hard work and dedication on the part of Campaigners, resisters and supporters - community organizations, labour unions, faith groups - peace activists, immigration activists and regular old concerned people.
One thing is extremely obvious: public support - letters, emails, phone calls, and petitions - has made all the difference. I can't emphasize this enough.
Some Members of Parliament have supported the war resisters all along. The NDP and the Bloc have been on board from the start. But although some Liberal MPs did personally support allowing Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada, the Liberal Party was noncomittal. Now they have made it their issue.
The Liberals didn't change their stance only because it was the right thing to do. They were persuaded that it was politically advantageous for them to do so.
So what I'm asking you to do today is not an empty exercise. It's how we have built this movement and how we will win.
Today, we need to ensure two things: that all of our MPs know how we want them to vote tomorrow, and that the Harper government knows how we feel.
Canadian readers, today, please take a few moments and make three phone calls. Please call and e-mail:
1. Your own Member of Parliament. Tell her or him that you want them to support the motion and appear for the vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Find your MP's contact info here or Google their name for their website and contact info.
2. Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Tell them you want the Government of Canada to:
As wmtc readers have said in comments, if you are not familiar with calling your representatives, it is very painless! You can say something like "I live in ____ and I'd like to leave a message for _____." (Sometimes the first person who answers has to transfer you to someone else.) Then say "I'm calling to urge ______ to _____."
The person on the other end is always friendly and will say nothing more than "thank you for calling, I'll pass on your concerns". You don't even have to leave your name if you don't want to.
Readers outside of Canada, you can call the nearest Canadian embassy and leave the same message. Here is a list of Canadian embassies in the U.S. In other countries, Google "Canadian Embassy in [your country]".
Thank you! Tomorrow I will be in Ottawa for the vote; Allan will update wmtc as we have info.