We attended a very good emergency community meeting in Toronto's Parkdale neighbourhood last night, which I'll write about later today.
When I returned home, I learned that war resister Cliff Cornell has decided to surrender himself to the US authorities, rather than face forcible removal. This means he is not officially deported from Canada, so he would be able to return at some point, on a visitor visa. There are also other reasons why leaving of his own volition is a better option for him.
Cliff's many supporters on Gabriola Island are planning a send-off. And it's our job to raise hell on the phone lines today.
I've heard from many supporters that this strategy - calling and emailing Jason Kenney and Stephen Harper - is useless. I understand that it may appear that way, because it does not produce immediate results, and the Conservatives do not appear to be listening.
But that's not true. They are listening. Jason Kenney's outbursts, calling the war resisters "bogus" refugee claimants, are only one important indication that we have gotten under their skin. We are seeing movement in many areas.
In fact, the Government rushing to deport war resisters before Parliament resumes is a testament to how effective our campaign has been. When we started, we only had the NDP on board. Then the Bloc came in. Then, at last, the Liberals. Now we have strong support from the Liberal Party, and it's been vital to the Campaign. All this was won with emails, phone calls, letters, lobbying meetings, demonstrations, community meetings, forums, and other public actions.
After all three opposition parties had declared their support, the Conservatives were still ignoring us, and they kept that up for a long time. But now they are paying attention. They are fighting us. And that means we're on the verge of winning.
We have most of the Canadian people behind us, and we must continue to demonstrate that in every way we can.
Your part is simple but vital. Please call and email Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Tell them you support war resisters.
Urge them to (1) stop the deportation proceedings against all US Iraq War resisters, and (2) implement the Parliamentary motion passed in June 2008 to allow war resisters to apply for Permanent Resident status in Canada.
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
613.954.1064 ministry office
613.992.2235 parliamentary office
If you email, please cc the opposition party immigration critics:
Borys Wrzesnewskyj (Liberal): email@example.com
Olivia Chow (NDP): firstname.lastname@example.org
Thierry St-Cyr (Bloc): email@example.com
The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Jam the phone lines! Two war resisters are being deported this week, and others are at risk. We are angry and disgusted. This is not what the Canadian people want. Say so!