immigration critics to jason kenney: respect the will of parliament, do not deport war resisters!

I've mentioned that the Campaign, along with our Parliamentary supporters, are concerned about what will happen to U.S. war resisters in Canada this summer.

Several war resisters are at risk for deportation - Jeremy Hinzman, Dean Walcott, Patrick Hart and Kimberly Rivera, among others. There is good reason to fear that the Harper Government will use the Parliamentary recess as an opportunity to aggressively go after them - to send them back to the U.S. authorities, to face court martial and imprisonment - while there are fewer avenues of appeal, and less media to report on it. This has already happened twice, in the summer of 2008, and the winter of 2008-09.

As part of an ongoing strategy to support war resisters during that time, all three Opposition Immigration Critics have sent an open letter to Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration.

This is the text of the letter. Please feel free to circulate this and use it however you can.

[Official House of Commons letterhead]

June 26, 2009

The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism
325 East Block
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6

Dear Minister Kenney:

As Parliament rises for the summer break, we write to remind you of the House of Commons' direction to the Government of Canada regarding Iraq War resisters.

Twice now, on June 3, 2008 and March 30, 2009, Members of Parliament have voted to direct the government to immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may be commenced against Iraq War resisters and their families and to establish a program to facilitate these war resisters' requests for permanent resident status is Canada. In our consideration of this important issue we highlighted that the element of compulsion and the stop-loss provision in the U.S. are inconsistent with our sound values of fairness, understanding, compassion, and justice.

Therefore, we urge the government to show compassion for those who have chosen not to participate in a war that was not sanctioned by the United Nations.

When the House of Commons resumes sitting in the fall, we ask that you act in good faith in accordance with this direction from the majority of Canadians' elected representatives.
Mindful that at other times there has been an apparent increase in deportation activity when the House is not sitting, we urge you not to use the Parliamentary recess to disregard the expressed will of the House of Commons with respect to the fair treatment of Iraq War resisters in Canada.

Yours sincerely, [with signatures]

Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua
Immigration Critic, Liberal Party of Canada

Olivia Chow
Immigration Critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

Thierry St-Cyr
Immigration Critic, Bloc Québécois


[Official House of Commons letterhead]

Le 26 juin 2009

L’honorable Jason Kenney, C.P., député
Ministre de la Citoyenneté, de l’Immigration et du Multiculturalisme
325, édifice de l’Est
Chambre des communes
Ottawa (Ontario)
K1A 0A6

Monsieur le Ministre,

Nous vous écrivons en ce début de relâche du Parlement pour l’été pour vous rappeler les conseils don-nés au gouvernement du Canada par la Chambre des communes au sujet des résistants à la guerre en Irak.

À deux reprises, soit le 3 juin 2008 et le 30 mars 2009, les députés du Parlement ont adopté une motion demandant au gouvernement de cesser immédiatement toute action de renvoi ou d’expulsion entreprise contre les résistants à la guerre en Irak et leurs familles, et d’établir un programme leur permettant de demander le statut de résident permanent au Canada. Durant nos délibérations au sujet de cette question importante, nous avons souligné que la prolongation forcée de la période d’engagement en vigueur aux États-Unis est contraire à nos valeurs d’équité, de compréhension, de compassion et de justice.

Nous exhortons donc le gouvernement à témoigner de la passion à l’endroit de ceux et celles qui ont choisi de ne pas participer à une guerre qui n’a pas été sanctionnée par les Nations Unies. Lorsque la Chambre des communes reprendra ses travaux à l’automne, nous vous demandons d’agir en toute bonne foi conformément à la motion adoptée par la majorité des représentants canadiens élus.

Conscient de l’augmentation apparente du nombre d’expulsions à d’autres moments où la Chambre ne siégeait pas, nous vous exhortons à ne pas profiter de la relâche parlementaire pour faire fi de la volonté expresse de la Chambre des communes en ce qui concerne le traitement juste des résistants à la guerre en Irak qui vivent au Canada.

Veuillez agréer, Monsieur le Ministre, mes salutations distinguées.

Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua
Immigration Critic, Liberal Party of Canada

Olivia Chow
Immigration Critic, New Democratic Party of Canada

Thierry St-Cyr
Immigration Critic, Bloc Québécois

This summer could be dire for people of peace and conscience, people who are working and contributing to Canadian society, people who ask only one thing: let us stay.

Call, write, email. Show them we are watching.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney

If you email Jason Kenney, please cc the opposition party critics. Or email them to thank them for their support.

Liberal party immigration critic Maurizio Bevilacqua

NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow

Bloc Québécois immigration critic Thierry St-Cyr

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