U.S. Iraq war resister Robin Long, arrested and deported by the Harper government this summer after living in Canada, has been sentenced to 15 months in prison and a dishonourable discharge – a felony conviction that will last his whole life. His only "crime" is that he opposed the Iraq war and came to Canada.
Justice MacTavish claimed he would not suffer "irreparable harm" if deported. How is a military jail sentence and a felony conviction not irreparable harm?
No soldier should face jail for opposing the illegal and immoral war in Iraq. And Stephen Harper must be held to account for deporting Robin Long when he knew full well the persecution and punishment he faced in Bush's America.
- David Fox, Toronto
Since it is now clear that deporting war resisters to the U.S. does indeed produce irreparable harm, the Harper government must enact the motion passed in Parliament to stop the deportations and let the war resisters stay.
- Jesse McLaren, Toronto
Thank you, David and Jesse! And thank you to the Star for running them. I sent this to the Globe and Mail.
To the editor:
When Federal Justice Anne Mactavish refused to stay the deportation of war resister Robin Long, she wrote that Long had not proved that he would suffer "irreparable harm" if deported.
Long was court martialed last Friday, August 22. He was sentenced to 15 months in a federal penitentiary and given a dishonourable discharge. In the U.S., this is the equivalent of a felony offence. Long will be ineligible for student loans, mortgages, and most employment opportunities. He will be unable to return to Canada, where his two-year-old son lives. I believe most reasonable people recognize this as "irreparable harm", especially when one considers that Long's only "crime" was refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war.
On June 3, a majority in the House of Commons called on the Government to allow Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada. When will Prime Minister Harper respect the majority's decision? Why does he insist on ignoring the will of the Canadian people?
If you agree, please feel free to use any part of this for a letter to your own local newspaper. Letters to the editor are great exposure, and the more letters a newspaper receives from one point of view, the greater their obligation to run a sample.