July 8, 2008
Hon. Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6
RE: The detention of Robin Long, U.S. Iraq War Resister
Dear Minister Day:
On Friday, July 4th Robin Long, a U.S. Iraq war resister, was arrested by police in Nelson BC on a Warrant for Removal issued by Canada Border Service Agency July 2nd and faxed to Nelson BC Police on July 4th. He is scheduled for a hearing today.
It is our understanding that CBSA has claimed that Mr. Long did not report for his June 5th monthly check in with CBSA in Kelowna, and that he was "couch surfing" with various friends, and had not reported a change of address.
Mr. Long has been openly residing in Nelson, after coming to Canada rather than deploy to Iraq with his armoured unit. He is well-known to many residents in town, and it is interesting to note that the police had no trouble finding him on Friday. Indeed, according to the information I have, the CBSA does not dispute that he reported in on schedule July 3rd.
Various members of the War Resisters Support Group in Nelson have related accounts of Mr. Long having difficulty having phone calls answered when trying to report to CBSA in Kelowna, and an incident where it took several days for Mr. Long to report in, in person, to CBSA in Kelowna, when this was still required.
* the July 4th federal court ruling for the Immigration and Refugee Board to re-examine Mr. Joshua Key's refugee claim;
* the House of Commons majority vote to allow U.S. soldiers of conscience to stay in Canada and for your government to stop further deportations, and
* poll after poll showing that a majority of Canadians agree that U.S. Iraq War resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada,
the serving of the Removal Order for Mr. Long on Friday raises additional concerns in this context.
I ask that you stay all deportation orders of war resisters and work with your colleague Immigration Minister Diane Finley to normalize their status in Canada. Most ordinary Canadians believe there are better uses for their tax dollars than to detain and hold war resisters in jail.
Thank you for your consideration of this request. I look forward to your reply.
Alex Atamanenko, MP
BC Southern Interior
We already know what happened at the hearing: Robin received his deportation order.