Tomorrow, June 3, the Immigration and Refugee Board will hear the case of war resister Joshua Key for the second time.
Last summer, the Federal Court ordered the IRB to re-hear Josh's case with a new immigration officer.
In a strongly worded opinion, Justice Robert Barnes said, "Officially condoned military misconduct falling well short of a war crime may support a claim to refugee protection. Indeed, the authorities indicate that military action which systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates either combatants or non- combatants is capable of supporting a refugee claim where that is the proven reason for refusing to serve. I have, therefore, concluded that the Board erred by imposing a too restrictive legal standard upon Mr. Key.” This is the first of the war resisters' cases to make it this far, and we have been eagerly awaiting the hearing.
Josh Key, as you probably know, is the author (with Lawrence Hill) of The Deserter's Tale, a riveting book that exposes the heart of military resistance. I always say that if you want to understand everything about this issue - why people in the US join the military, what they find there, what happens when they try to leave - you should read this book. It's very compelling; once you start, you won't be able to put it down. I posted the book's introduction here, and blogged about it again here.
If you're a supporter of US war resisters in Canada, and you live in the Toronto area, please join us for a vigil outside the IRB tomorrow morning. You can also attend the hearing, as space permits.
Please note the address; this is not the Federal Court on Queen Street.
When: Wednesday, June 3, 8:00 a.m. vigil, 8:30 hearing
Where: 74 Victoria Street, east of Yonge, south of Queen
Why: LET THEM STAY!
Hope to see you there.