tell michael ignatieff: you do not want war resisters deported, and you expect him to help

From the War Resisters Support Campaign:

Send a message to Liberal Party leader Michael Ignatieff

The defeat of Bill C-440 on Wednesday September 29th is a setback for US Iraq War resisters. There is a real danger that Jason Kenney will take the defeat of a bill as a green light to resume deportations.

Bill C-440 received significant support, but 7 more votes were needed to pass it at Second Reading. Stephen Harper voted against it, and the leaders of two of the three opposition parties – the Bloc Québécois and the NDP – voted for it. But the leader of the Liberal Party, Michael Ignatieff, left the House of Commons before the vote.

Last week, Mr. Ignatieff’s office told supporters of Iraq War resisters that “party leaders do not vote on Private Members’ Bills”. This is clearly not true, as the results of the vote demonstrate.

What is true, however, is that Mr. Ignatieff could have voted for the bill to allow it to be considered by a Parliamentary committee and shown leadership by proposing amendments that would have improved it. Mr. Ignatieff’s presence and his vote would have sent a message to Canadians that the Liberal party is indeed in support of finding a way to let war resisters stay as he publicly claims.

An overwhelming majority of Liberal MPs voted for both Parliamentary motions in support of war resisters, and for this Bill. Mr. Ignatieff himself supported the two motions.

Mr. Ignatieff needs to hear loud and clear that people across this country want him to reflect the views of the majority of Canadians, and the overwhelming majority of his own MPs.

Please write, call or email Mr. Ignatieff. Ask him to:
• demand that Stephen Harper’s government not deport any US Iraq war resisters
• press the Conservative government to enact a provision that would allow Iraq War resiters to stay in Canada, as the Trudeau government did with Vietnam draft resisters and deserters
• vocally support any Iraq War resister that is targeted for deportation by the Harper government
• commit to ensuring that Iraq War resisters will be able to stay in Canada should he become Prime Minister.

The result of last week’s vote is not an endorsement of Harper’s desire to punish these courageous men and women for taking a principled stand against the Iraq War.

Twice, in 2008 and 2009, a majority of MPs supported a motion that instructed the government not to deport war resisters, and to enact a provision that would allow them to stay in Canada.

Twice, the majority of Parliament expressed the views of the majority of Canadians on this question. A poll conducted by Angus Reid showed that 64% of Canadians want Iraq War resisters to be allowed to stay in Canada.

Tell Mr. Ignatieff that people who, like himself, changed their minds on the Iraq War have the support of Canadians. The consequences for the US soldiers who changed their minds are severe, if we allow the Conservatives to impose their minority views by sending war resisters back to face harsh punishment.

Michael Ignatieff
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
613.995.9364 Parliament Hill
416.251.5510 Constituency Office


Unknown said...

Tell Mr. Ignatieff that I a former card carrying Liberal and one who voted Liberal both provincially and federally will not vote for him and his cronies again. I am deeply disappointed that they walked out during the vote for the Bill which would have granted American Iraq war resisters the right of permanent residence in Canada. I was disappointed when Mr. Ignatieff was elected leader of the party and Mr. Dion resigned but I still intended to vote Liberal because not to do so would have benefitted the Conservatives. I would have been disappointed if the Bill banning the gun registry would have been defeated but since a great effort was made by the Liberals to vote in favour of it, I remained a Liberal but allowing the Bill giving permanent residence to Iraq war resisters to go down to defeat by walking out stunned me and I cannot in good conscience vote Liberal. What party will have my vote? I do not know. I may have to hold my nose and vote NDP although that party has disappointed me several times in the past. Or I may not vote at all.

laura k said...

Allan, you have to tell Mr. Ignatieff yourself. No one here can do that for you. I hope you will follow through.

Thank you for your passionate support of war resisters! I hope you'll write Mr. Ignatieff right away, and if you don't mind, cc resisters-at-sympatico.ca.

laura k said...

Excellent letters in today's Toronto Star: here.

PaulM said...

copy of a letter sent to Mr. Ignatieff:

Dear Mr. Ignatieff's assistant

Since Mr. Ignatieff himself will never see this, please add it to your meaningless statistical pile.

I am a 65-year-old Canadian who has always, at least until now, supported the federal Liberal Party.

I was extremely disappointed to learn that your boss walked out of the House prior to the second reading vote on C-440. Apparently he did not feel that party leaders should vote on private members' bills, though the NDP's Jack Layton disagreed.

The effect of Mr. Ignatieff's action, and the actions of several other Liberal MPs, was to send C-440 to defeat and allow Mr. Harper to continue to flout the will of the Canadian majority, twice expressed in non-binding votes.

laura k said...

From NCF, who is a university professor:

Dear Dr. Ignatieff:

I’m writing to you today as an academic and possibly a former Liberal Party voter. I am not only disappointed, but deeply disturbed about how you absented yourself last Wednesday, September 29, before the Parliamentary vote on Bill C-440; thus ensuring its failure to pass. I am disappointed because in the past you voted for both Parliamentary motions on the issue of Iraq War resisters but have now suddenly reversed your position: a reversal that could result in the deportation and imprisonment of courageous young men and women who take the Geneva Conventions and Nuremberg Principles more seriously than you do and whom the majority of Canadians want to remain in Canada.

I am disturbed because your decided lack of leadership skills in ensuring the successful passage of what was, after all, a Liberal bill, now renders the fragmentation of the Liberal Party all the more obvious at a time when the party needs cohesion and strength in order to defeat the Conservatives in the next election. I would like to know why you chose this course of action and I would like to know how you differentiate yourself from Stephen Harper. From what I know about Private Members Bills, a successful vote doesn’t mean a bill automatically becomes law, but that it goes to Committee where amendments and adjustments can then be made. If you had reservations about the wording and implications of the bill, those could and would have been better addressed at that time.

As an educator, I am equally disturbed about the implications the failure of this bill has for Canada’s once lauded reputation as a peaceable kingdom, a haven from militarism, and leader in human rights. During the Vietnam era, Canada welcomed more than 50,000 Americans of conscience and now we can’t muster up the moral conviction to protect 50. I feel ashamed to be Canadian and ashamed to have voted for the Liberals for as long as I have. I feel no reason to keep your book, The Warrior’s Honor, on my reading list for a 4th-year undergraduate course I teach on representations of war. I am, however, adding a chapter from Joshua Key’s The Deserter’s Tale. I highly recommend you read it and learn what honour and courage in the face of warfare really mean.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Boyd M L Reimer said...

On Sep 29, Ignatieff, setting a leader's example for other Liberal MPs, walked out on a Bill that would give asylum to resisters to “armed conflict not sanctioned by the United Nations.” (quotation marks show wording from Bill)

Purely logically speaking, this indicates that he “sanctions” more wars than “the UN.”

He’s indicated that in the future he's again likely to walk out on votes which would again urge him to withhold support for “armed conflict not sanctioned by the United Nations”

Is that the kind of person we want leading our country, and controlling our tax dollars?

Think about how the above logic affects you and your tax dollars … tax dollars which could be recruited in such a war….without any referendum.

Lest We Forget ...... how the UN was formed right after the horrible suffering of World War II....with the mantra, "Never again."

laura k said...

Another great one from Paul Graham of Peace Alliance Winnipeg.

Nitangae said...

I have more respect for Alan Tonks than for the many Liberals who simply were not present. Alan Tonks at least treated the issue with the seriousness it deserves, even if he cast a vote in the wrong way.

I will send Iggy a little e-mail.

Nitangae said...

The previous comment is not to say that I would not vote against Tonks and for the NDP if I lived in York South-Weston. But I might have some respect for him, and I have none for Iggy, or Dominic Leblanc (who obviously is still planning to become leader, since the chances of him losing an election in his end of New Brunswick is pretty small, I think. I have lived in both Toronto and Sackville, NB, and I would love to return just to vote against them). What can you do with politicians who think that an issue of this sort is a minor matter?

laura k said...

Please know that Dominic LeBlanc does support war resisters and did support the bill. If the vote had been earlier, he could have been there and voted in favour. He had to attend a funeral in NB and had to get a flight.

Others were playing political games. I suspect that was Ignatieff's thing. Very bad.

Nitangae said...

Thanks L-Girl, and I apologize to Dominic LeBlanc, if he or his staff drop by this page.

Not that you need to know this, but I didn't vote in Sackville as my wife and I had a weekend relationship during that period of my life, with me working and voting in Halifax and my wife working and voting in Sackville. I spent three days a week and many holidays in Sackville, and so I felt it my duty as a voter to be very angry at Dominic LeBlanc, who was, to a certain extent, my representative in the House of Commons. I shall now redirect my anger in a better direction.