2.05.2009

olivia chow's response to our "let them stay" letters

Member of Parliament Olivia Chow has long been the patron saint of the War Resisters Support Campaign.

She has always been our most vocal and visible supporter in the House of Commons, sometimes while allowing other (less committed) people to take the credit for her work. She has guided us with advice about dealing with Parliament, helped us craft strategy, spoken at every event we've asked her to.

As incredibly important and essential as her legislative work has been, Olivia's personal commitment to Iraq War resisters in Canada goes beyond the political to the personal. She has opened her home for resisters and campaigners, arranged celebrations, stopped by our meetings to cheer us on. She has lifted our spirits.

This week many of us are receiving replies to our emails from Let Them Stay Week. Olivia's response was beautiful, and in case you didn't cc her on your email, I want to share it with you.
Dear friends of Iraq War resisters,

We have been campaigning to let Iraq war resisters stay in Canada for five years now. Many war resisters have established roots in Canada. They have children and families, and have built close relationships with friends in their neighbourhoods and communities.

For several weeks, I hoped that the Harper government would be defeated by the coalition government which promised to establish a program that would allow the war resisters stay in Canada as permanent residents. However, last week the Liberals once again refused change and derailed the possibility of creating a Canada that is fair, just and humane.

So where do we go from here? I have been talking to Dale, Joshua, Phil, Kim, Patrick, Jeremy and many other war resister campaigners and we are not about to give up. I will persist in doing my part and introduce Motions and Private Members Bills into the House of Commons. The various court actions will continue and I am confident that some of the decisions will be positive.

I have moved the same Motion* that passed last Parliament. It will be debated again next Tuesday, February 10, at 9 am at the Parliament's Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.

So take heart, let's journey on and continue to say to war resisters - we will fight hard to make sure that Canada is your permanent home.

Yours,

Olivia Chow, MP
Trinity Spadina
Immigration Critic for the New Democratic Party of Canada

* The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.

More soon about Tuesday.

8 comments:

Cornelia said...

I received that reply from her, too. She's great!!!

M@ said...

It's great that she's re-introducing the motion. I won't be able to watch the committee meeting but I'll bet the wonderful Kady O'Malley will be liveblogging it.

I don't know if the election led to any changes to the C&I committee. I'll have to look into that.

More soon about Tuesday.

You going?

Cornelia said...

Thanks so much, M@, that's really uplifting!

M@ said...

I looked into the changes to the composition.

Previous Chair Norman Doyle has been replaced by David Tilson.

Vice-Chair Andrew Telegdi is gone, replaced by Maurizio Bevilacqua.

Members no longer on committee:
Dave Batters, Colleen Beaumier, Robert Carrier, Wajid Khan, Ed Komarnicki, Andrew Telegdi.

New committee members: Paul Calandra, Jean Dorion, Rick Dykstra, Alexandra Mendes, Devinder Shory, Alice Wong.

Party composition: 6 CPC, 3 Liberal, 1 NDP, 2 Bloc.

Previous party composition: 5 CPC, 4 Liberal, 1 NDP, 2 Bloc.

Not good. One thing I'm not sure of is whether the chair votes except in the case of a tied vote.

L-girl said...

It's great that she's re-introducing the motion. I won't be able to watch the committee meeting but I'll bet the wonderful Kady O'Malley will be liveblogging it.

It is great! I didn't think Committee meetings were on CPAC. They are?

I don't know if the election led to any changes to the C&I committee. I'll have to look into that.

It did.

More soon about Tuesday.

You going?


The Committee meeting is at 9:00 a.m., so it means going the night before, and I'm doubtful I can do that. But we're not sure they're voting on it - it may just be the debate w/o a vote. In which case we will wait for the vote to make an Ottawa expedition.

But... what I meant by "more soon about Tuesday" was about another very important resister-related event on Tuesday: the judicial review of Jeremy Hinzman's case, which will decide if he will be granted a new IRB hearing. More on that soon!

L-girl said...

The chair doesn't vote.

L-girl said...

Correction: if Jeremy's hearing is successful on Tuesday, he would be granted a new H&C application, not a new IRB hearing.

M@ said...

Quick follow-up for anyone still following: one of the CPC members on the committee, as I mentioned, is Alice Wong. A little background on her here. Not good. I understand she's on the CI committee as part of the CPC strategy to increase their standing with minorities. Good luck with that, CPC.

Also, I never replied to you, Laura: I am probably thinking of committee hearings, not committee meetings; you're right, I don't think committee meetings are covered. And unfortunately Kady O'Malley doesn't seem to be liveblogging the meeting today. I hope it went well.