CTV-BC has an excellent photo gallery of the First United Church of Vancouver, where war resister Rodney Watson - and about 150 homeless people - have found sanctuary. Go here for photos.
Later today, MP Gerard Kennedy will visit Rodney, who now has lived in the church for 12 weeks.
From the War Resisters Support Campaign:
On September 17, one day before Watson took refuge in the church to avoid deportation to and certain jail time in the United States, Kennedy introduced private member’s Bill C-440: An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (war resisters). If passed, Kennedy’s bill would allow U.S. Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada making our government’s actions consistent with Canadian sentiment.
Bill C-440, which was seconded by Vancouver Member of Parliament Bill Siksay (Burnaby—Douglas), would make binding on the government the direction that Parliament has already given twice (on June 3, 2008 and March 30, 2009) by way of motions that resulted from studies of the war resisters’ situation by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration (CIMM).
Watson arrived in Canada in 2006 and was ordered to leave Canada by September 11, 2009 following a negative Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. His application to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds remains outstanding.
“Parliament has voted twice directing the Harper minority to stop deporting people of conscience like Rodney,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “Cliff Cornell, another BC war resister, is in jail today because Prime Minister Stephen Harper has neglected his responsibility to act as directed by Canadians and our representatives. The majority of Canadians and our MPs want Iraq War resisters to stay here and the Prime Minister has an obligation to act as directed by Parliament.”
A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies in June 2008 following the first vote in the House of Commons found widespread approval (64 per cent) for Parliament’s direction to the minority Harper government: to immediately stop deporting Iraq War resisters and create a program to facilitate the resisters’ requests for permanent resident status.
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Support Bill C-440!