harper govt steps up campaign against u.s. war resisters, your help is needed

The latest Harper-Kenney attack on U.S. war resisters broke while we were on vacation. Here's the campaign response, a call to action, and some relevant media. Please take a moment to send an email; links below.

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New immigration directive targets US Iraq war resisters

Aug 3 2010

A new Operational Bulletin published on Citizenship and Immigration Canada’s website is singling out Iraq War resisters seeking refuge in Canada.

The directive states that “persons who have deserted the military in their country of origin may be inadmissible to Canada under section 36(1)(b) or 36(1)(c) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.… The current inventory of military deserter cases is comprised primarily of members of the United States armed forces who have claimed refugee protection in Canada.”

The bulletin goes on to instruct immigration officers to contact their Regional Program Advisor for guidance when processing applications for permanent residence in Canada made by military deserters. It also instructs them to notify Case Management Branch of any new refugee claims or updates to these claims, “using the existing guidelines on processing high profile, contentious and sensitive cases.”

This directive comes on the heels of a unanimous decision July 6th by the Federal Court of Appeal which ruled that immigration officers cannot ignore a soldier’s beliefs and motivations when deciding on applications for permanent residence on Humanitarian and Compassionate grounds.

It also comes only weeks before a vote on second reading of Bill C-440, the War Resisters bill, introduced by MP Gerard Kennedy. If passed, the bill would allow US Iraq War resisters to apply for permanent resident status from within Canada. The introduction of Bill C-440 is a significant step in the fight to allow U.S. Iraq war resisters to stay in Canada. The Bill, which follows on two concurrence motions which were passed in the House of Commons, represents the will of Parliament and the democratic will of Canadians.

The new directive from Citizenship and Immigration Canada is a worrying sign that the federal government is preparing to throw more obstacles at US Iraq War resisters as the bill moves forward in Parliament.

Urge your Member of Parliament to support Bill C-440

Please take a moment and use our online form to send an email to your Member of Parliament, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney.

You can also phone or fax them at:

The Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 1L1
Phone 613.954.1064 (Ministry office)
Phone 613.992.2235 (Parliamentary office)
Fax 613.992.1920

The Right Hon. Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa K1A 0A2
Phone 613.992.4211
Fax 613.941.6900

To find contact information for your MP, go to the House of Commons search page and enter your postal code.

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Worth looking at:

CTV: Ottawa to make Canada less inviting for U.S. deserters.

Windsor Star: Group slams immigration rule - Prevent admission of military deserters.

Excellent editorial in the St. John's Telegram: Walking Away from War. If you're in Newfoundland, supportive letters can be sent to letters@thetelegram.com.

Toronto Sun: No welcome for deserters. Alykhan Velshi: “I find it hard to believe that Barack Obama is persecuting American citizens." Yeah, well Americans find it hard to believe Canada is no longer a safe haven to soldiers fleeing unjust wars. Welcome to reality, Mr Velshi. Obama is the Commander in Chief of a military currently fighting at least two wars. The guy has a nice smile, but that doesn't change the facts.

Interview with MP Bill Siksay - seconder of Bill C-440, all-around cool MP and great guy - in Xtra!: Bill Siksay on Pride, war resisters, the census, and privacy issues.

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