Life's better over here
With 3,929 U.S. soldiers confirmed dead as the Bush administration's quest to secure oil reserves in Iraq nears its fifth year, Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign is mobilizing for a Pan-Canadian Day of Action on Saturday, January 26.
The purpose, says Victoria organizer Valerie Lannon, is to persuade the federal government to halt deportation proceedings against U.S. army deserters already in Canada, and pass legislation that would allow future resisters to stay in the country as refugees once they cross the border.
A rally and letter writing campaign will take place at the Fairfield United Church Hall at 1303 Fairfield Road between 10 a.m. and noon to mark the occasion.
"Now is the time to up the ante on Tory MPs, especially Prime Minister Stephen Harper and citizenship and immigration minister Diane Finley," says Lannon. She is also urging letters be penned to Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion.
Keynote speakers at the Saturday event include Victoria MP Denise Savoie, whose New Democratic Party, along with the Bloc Quebecois, have officially endorsed the movement to allow U.S. military deserters to claim refugee status in Canada.
Also taking the stage will be American war resister Brad McCall, who has lived in Vancouver since leaving his army company in Colorado Springs in September. McCall has been vocal in his distaste of America's current role in Iraq, telling the Georgia Straight he didn't want to participate in "war crimes." McCall allegedly spent two days in a Surrey detention centre when he crossed the Canadian border.
The above is from Jason Youman's "The Week" (Canada's Monday Magazine) and from NOW magazine, Vince notes "Q+A" with Lee Zaslofsky:
LET THEM STAY The War Resisters Support Campaign holds a rally in support of American resisters, with speakers Shirley Douglas, Lawrence Hill and Olivia Chow. Saturday (January 26), 1 pm. Free. Bloor Street United Church (300 Bloor West). 416-598-1222, www.resisters.ca.
Why this rally?
The is one of a number being held across Canada because we believe we are close to a decision on two issues: that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada.
On December 6, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration passed a motion recommending that the government immediately implement a program to allow war resisters and their families to stay in Canada. We want it brought before a full House of Commons, which is back in session on January 26. We believe the three opposition parties are united in support of this. How often does that happen?
From the Iraq snapshots: On November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email@example.com -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26. The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:
The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure : 1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada. For listings of local actions, see our Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.
Courage to Resist notes:
Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada. Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter "Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!" and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.
There are actions in Canada, there are actions in the US and Canadian embassies are around the world so this can be a global action as well.
Turning to England where there's a chance some of the lies that led to the illegal war may come out -- as opposed to the US where, for all of Nancy Pelosi's talk of subpeona power in the lead up to the 2006 elections, the Democratic led Congress has refused to explore the illegal war, Gareth notes Richard Norton-Taylor's "Foreign Office told to give up WMD draft" (Guardian of London):
An early draft of the government's discredited Iraq weapons dossier written by John Williams, a former journalist and head of the Foreign Office news department, must be released, the Information Tribunal ordered yesterday.
The government has said the dossier was entirely the work of the intelligence agencies. Williams' role in the affair was not disclosed to the Hutton inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of David Kelly, the government weapons expert who questioned the way the dossier was drawn up.
[. . .]
Carne Ross, a high-flying diplomat who resigned in protest at the way the Blair government led to the country to war, told the Guardian last night that the decision should pave the way to the publication of the later dossier drafts drawn up inside Whitehall. The FCO said it would be "studying the tribunal's decision".
Last night, Kat's "Over in England" covered this topic in great detail.
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