Some of you have already received this by email. But it needs to be said for all to hear.
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To all my friends in Canada, to all friends of peace:
The Immigration and Refugee Board has rejected the final appeal of Jeremy Hinzman, the first US war resister to apply for safe haven in Canada. Jeremy, his spouse Nga Nguyen, their six year old son and three-week-old daughter have been ordered to leave Canada by September 23 or be deported.
In the US, Jeremy will be court martialled for desertion. He will receive a prison sentence - anywhere from one year to life - and a dishonourable or bad conduct discharge. These discharges are the equivalent of a felony offense. Jeremy would be unable to get student loans, a mortgage, or almost any job.
His crime: he refused to kill innocent people in an illegal, immoral and unnecessary war.
On June 3, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the Government to allow war resisters to remain legally in Canada. All three opposition parties came together for this historic vote - but the Harper Government has ignored it.
Poll after poll shows that the majority of the Canadian people - people of all parties, in all areas of the country - support allowing Iraq War resisters to stay legally in Canada.
One war resister, Robin Long, has already been deported. Robin is now in military prison, and will soon be court martialled for desertion. (Robin also has a Canadian-born son.) We cannot let this happen to another person of conscience.
These deportations are not only inhumane. They are a slap in the face to Canadian democracy.
If you care about peace and justice, if you oppose the US occupation of Iraq, NOW is the time to get involved. Here's what you can do.
1. In Toronto: attend an emergency public meeting of the War Resisters Support Campaign on Wednesday, August 20, at 7:00 p.m. at the Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil Street. The meeting will be followed by a fundraiser at Grossman's Tavern, but the meeting is crucial and urgent.
2. Everywhere in Canada: come out for the September 13 National Day of Action. Check on this blog or at the Campaign website (click on "war resisters" category) for information on local actions or plan an action of your own. The War Resisters Support Campaign can give you materials, connect you with people, and help publicize your event. It's important that we show support for war resisters all across Canada.
3. Raise your voice! Tell Immigration Minister Diane Finley to use her power to stop deportation of war resisters and allow war resisters to stay in Canada. Tell Prime Minister Stephen Harper to Let The War Resisters Stay!
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
The Hon. Diane Finley
firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com / Minister@cic.gc.ca
Here are some pointers for your call:
- respect Parliament and implement the June 3 motion in support of war resisters staying in Canada
- 82% of Canadians oppose the Iraq war
- 64% of Canadians want war resisters to stay in Canada
- Jeremy Hinzman and his family have lived and worked here for over 4 years and made a real contribution; they should not be deported because they oppose the Iraq war
The call will take less than a minute. You only leave a message; there's no confrontation or discussion involved.
4. Circulate this information!