4.15.2009

jason kenney hides from supporters of war resisters in his hometown

Collette Lemieux, Campaigner and peace activist from Calgary, writes:
Jason Kenney was supposed to be in Calgary today [Tuesday, April 14] to speak to members of the Chamber of Commerce during the lunch hour. We organized a picket outside of the building.

About 10 people came out on a very wintery feeling day (I had to brush snow off my car and the wind was gusting to 50 km/h). We all had signs and we handed out all 150 of our leaflets from 11:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. A few people stopped and signed the petition as well.

There was a lot of media who showed up: CBC radio, Calgary Herald, Metro, CTV, CityTV, Canadian Press and 660 News (local right-wing radio). . . .

So you'll note I said "supposed to be". Well, he didn't actually show up while we were there. He was supposed to speak at 12:30 and do a media scrum at 1:00 but his plane was delayed and he didn't make it. I think he didn't want to meet with us. : )

They asked if we had tried to arrange a meeting with him... I have a good story about calling his constituency office and the woman who answered was rude and dismissive.

This story on CTV Calgary focuses on the protest; this Canadian Press story from the Winnipeg Free Press also mentions the issue.

13 comments:

Stephanie said...

CTV is also polling about resisters on their front page:

"What do you think should happen to American war resisters who have fled to Canada?
Let them stay 30%
Deport them 40%
Immigration officials should decide on case-by-case basis 30%"

http://calgary.ctv.ca/

L-girl said...

Thanks Stephanie, I thought the poll was over, or I would have mentioned it.

Everyone in our Red Sox game thread (late night west coast game) voted in it last night.

Soldier Say No! said...

Another reason why Jason Kenney should resign is that he LIES and tries to confuse Canadians about why the Conservatives insist on deporting U.S. war resisters and their families.

For example, here are a couple of his comments in Calgary yesterday.

"'Being a deserter from voluntary military service in a democracy does not, in anyway, meet the standard international definition of a refugee...we're not going to contort the refugee laws to suit some people's political agenda," says Jason Kenney.

"Kenny says there is a big difference between signing up for the military and being drafted.
He also says it's not the government's responsibility to change immigration laws based on ideology."
[http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090414/CGY_Kenney_Protestors_090414/20090414/?hub=CalgaryHome]

This statement contains multiple lies.

First of all, the UN Handbook on Refugees clearly states that "Soldiers who refuse to participate in wars that are widely condemned by the international community as contrary to accepted standards of human conduct should be considered as refugees."

Does the UN Handbook on Refugees say anything about how a soldier was conscripted (draft v. "volunteer")? No, it does not.

Does it say anything about whether or not the nation waging this war is considered a "democracy?" No, it does not.

So Jason Kenney is intentionally obfuscating the issue (and/or he is ignorant).

Secondly, Jason Kenney tries to confuse people about what we are asking the government to do. We are not asking the government to provide wholesale refugee status for war resisters. That would be impossible anyway.

We know that the Immigration and Refugee Board has established a very skeptical, case-by-case process that turns away many people who are facing severe persecution in their homelands.

We know that even if one war resister is granted refugee status, that the next 10 or 20 might be refused.

What we are asking the government to do is simply to make a way for Iraq War resisters to immigrate to Canada. This has been done for nannies from other countries who have come to Canada to provide household help to (guess whom?)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney could easily provide a path for Iraq War resisters to immigrate to Canada. The majority of Canadians and the Parliament are asking them to do so.

Instead, the minority Conservative government stubbornly insists on deporting Iraq War resisters, while lying about the reasons why.

Harper and Kenney were early supporters of U.S. war and occupation of Iraq. They wanted Canada to join George Bush's "coalition of the willing."

And Kenney has the NERVE to say that WE are asking him to change the rules because of OUR ideology.

Hopefully, these Neocon ideologues will be swept away soon. But it may not be soon enough for Iraq War resisters.

We must prepare to resist this government's racist, pro-war policies with all our might and all our creativity. Our efforts will not just be for the war resisters, but for all immigrants and for all the people of Canada.

Maybe we can even help to speed the departure of the right-wingers who have somehow captured the helm of the Canadian government.

See you on the barricades!

Cornelia said...

Wow!!!

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Kenney speaks of "standard international definitions." Below is one he "forgot" to mention:

The international definition of conscientious objection officially broadened in 1998, when the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights document called “Conscientious objection to military service, United Nations Commission on Human Rights resolution 1998/77” officially recognized that “persons [already] performing military service may develop conscientious objections.”

Thus, for more than a decade, the so-called Electoral College style "democracy" of the US has failed to re-adjust their definition of “conscientious objection” to fit that official international definition.

For further reading, see these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeremy_Hinzman#Arguments

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Here is a sample letter which I hope many people more than myself will send to Minister Kenney:

Greetings Minister Kenney,

On April 14, the CTV (see footnote) quoted you as saying the following:

"Being a deserter from voluntary military service in a democracy does not, in anyway, meet the standard international definition of a refugee...we're not going to contort the refugee laws to suit some people's political agenda," says Jason Kenney.”

POINT ONE: “VOLUNTARY MILITARY SERVICE”

The “standard international definition of a refugee” as stated in Paragraph 171 of the Handbook on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees states:

“Where … the type of military action, with which an individual does not wish to be associated, is condemned by the international community as contrary to basic rules of human conduct, punishment for desertion or draft-evasion could … in itself be regarded as persecution.”

Notice that the handbook deliberately mentions BOTH draft-evasion AND desertion, thereby deliberately and specifically including MORE than draft-evaders in its definition.

That deliberate statement is the “standard international definition” of “persecution,” which, in turn, determines the “standard international definition of a refugee.”

Directly contradicting your quote, this means that “voluntary military service” DOES, in fact “meet the standard international definition of a refugee” in such cases.

POINT TWO: MILITARY SERVICE IN A DEMOCRACY

To meet the Handbook definition of a “condemned” “military action” it is not stipulated that such an action be carried out by an undemocratic state. That stipulation, Mr. Kenney, is your own invention. Your invention is not an appeal to international standards, because it is not found in the international standards.

POINT THREE: WHO DO YOU GET PAID TO REPRESENT?

In the quote by CTV, you made indirect reference to the “democracy” of the US, and “some people’s political agenda.”

Which “democracy” and which “agenda” are you being paid to represent: the democracy/agenda of the US, or the democracy/agenda of Canada, or both?

Only you can answer that question because I don’t see the cheques you get now or will get in the future.

If your answer to that question is “the democracy/agenda of Canada” then please do the job that we taxpayers pay you for, and follow the recommendation/agenda of the majority of the elected representatives of the “democracy” of Canada as passed in Parliament June 3, 2008 and again March 30, 2009.

The CTV also reported you saying that “it's not the government's responsibility to change immigration laws.” If the majority of our elected representatives recommend that you change them, then it definitely is your responsibility to do so. That’s how democracy works.

This recommendation is not merely “some people’s political agenda.” It is the agenda of the majority of the elected representatives of the people who pay you to represent them.

Footnotes:

Paragraph 171 in Handbook

http://www.unhcr.org/publ/PUBL/3d58e13b4.pdf

CTV article

http://calgary.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20090414/CGY_Kenney_Protestors_090414/20090414/?hub=CalgaryHome

Cornelia said...

Thanks so much, Boyd, it's lovely and right to the point! Arguments made in a great way!!!

Cornelia said...

Only you can answer that question because I don’t see the cheques you get now or will get in the future.

Cool!!! Do you think he might get some additional money from the Bush and Cheney gang or...?

Cornelia said...

Do you think he might have a secret second job with those whose agenda it was to damage the democracy of the US and who might hope to be still able to damage the democracy of Canada, as long as the Harper Government is still in office?

Boyd M L Reimer said...

In an effort to provide people with sample letters that they can copy and send themselves, here is another one: I sent this one to the Prime Minister via registered mail. It was received April 8, as you can see at the Canada Post website: tracking number 79353043615

April 5, 2009

Greetings Prime Minister Stephen Harper:

On December 4, 2008, just after a Parliamentary crisis, and just after successfully asking the Governor General to prorogue Parliament, you indicated a renewed desire to, in the future, be more conciliatory, and respect Parliament.

I am now asking you to make good on that promise by following the will of the majority in Parliament as it occurred on March 30, 2009.

I am referring to the following the majority vote recommendation:

“The Committee [and Parliament] 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.”

Since actions speak louder than words, I will be watching for evidence to back up your Dec 4, 2008 claim of renewed respect for Parliament.

Will you follow the will of Parliament in this case?

Awaiting your reply, and evidence of your sincerity,

Boyd Reimer

Cornelia said...

Wow! That's good, too! And may we really copy them into our emails to the two guys?

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Yes please use anything I wrote.. That's the whole reason I posted it.

By the way, hard copy letters are much more effective than emails--I have found this to be true in my own experience. ... And speaking with someone in person is much more effective than a letter.

And cc a newspaper or an opposition MP.

And get more than one signature....

....(you get the idea)....

Cornelia said...

Thanks Boyd. I just emailed the guys, cc'ing the Opposition critics...