From the War Resisters Support Campaign:
MAJORITY OF MPs DO NOT WANT US IRAQ WAR RESISTERS DEPORTED
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.
House of Commons
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