10.16.2009

"a bill that will let iraq war resisters live here is long overdue"

From the Hamilton Spectator.
Canada as haven for war resisters; We should not be U.S. 'enforcement agent' for those who won't fight in Iraq

by Ed Corrigan

Members of Parliament Gerard Kennedy and Bill Siksay introduced a private member's bill last month in support of Iraq War resisters. Bill C-440 would make binding on our government very specific directions -- to immediately stop the deportation of Iraq War resisters and to allow them to apply for permanent resident status from within Canada.

Since then, conservative pundits have likened veterans of the Iraq War who have refused to participate in atrocities on Iraqi civilians, and conscientious objectors who cannot morally let themselves kill another human being, to anti-abortion extremists who shoot doctors. Some have even suggested the bill should be contorted to include sanctuary for the criminally indicted U.S. financiers that caused the current recession.

For any rational Canadian, these comparisons are ludicrous at best. Along with Immigration Minister Jason Kenney's spokesperson's hyperbole about "rapists and murderers," they are part of a campaign by the Harper minority to distract from, distort and deny the reality that Bill C-440 responds to a demand by the majority of Canadians in every part of the country, reflected in a similar motion that has already been debated and passed twice in Parliament.

Nonetheless, these criticisms have been levelled and they deserve a response.

The term "conscientious objector" doesn't refer to anyone who objects to anything for any random reason; conscientious objector specifically and only means a member or former member of the military holding certain sincerely held beliefs.

The bill only covers soldiers who refused to participate in wars not sanctioned by the United Nations. Iraq is such a war.

There are good reasons why the majority of Canadians, including Conservative voters, supports these U.S. soldiers who are opposing the Iraq War.

Please read the essay here, and send supportive letters to letters@thespec.com.