January 22, 2009

Canada Responds

This is one of the responses to the letter writing. It's probably the same one all of you received, but I thought I'd print it for those who didn't get to write letters. Not all the officials support Harper and Kinney - most of them don't. 

Here is the answer to your e-mail on behalf of Thierry St-Cyr, deputy of the Bloc Québécois in Jeanne-LeBer:

Thank you for your email concerning US resisters to the war in Iraq living in Canada.

The Bloc Québécois endorses the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration’s report on the issue of conscientious objectors. The motion that was adopted reads as follows:
“The Committee recommends that the government immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members (partners and dependents), who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations and do not have a criminal record, to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and that the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions that may have already commenced against such individuals.”

In the past three years, US resisters to the war in Iraq living in Canada have generated considerable debate. About 50 people are seeking refuge here. In their opinion, the war in Iraq is illegal and immoral. Some came to that conclusion after their experience on the ground in Iraq, while others came to that same conclusion based on what they read, namely accounts by other soldiers who have returned from Iraq.

We commend them on having the courage to uphold principles of international law, principles of solidarity and humanitarian principles. These are great values that I share.

Many points were brought up at the committee hearings to justify our position. First, in March 2003, the Canadian government decided not to take part in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. Second, Canada’s support for conscientious objectors during the Vietnam War created a historical precedent.

Since its creation, the Bloc Québécois has been defending Quebec’s values, which include respect for the rights of individuals and peoples, freedom, solidarity and peaceful resolution of conflicts. These values are deeply entrenched in Quebec and have been passionately expressed, for instance, during the debate surrounding the war in Iraq. We need only recall the 250,000 people who braved the cold to demonstrate in Montreal against the war in Iraq, and the polls that showed major opposition to the war.

We trust that this email will address your concerns.

Yours sincerely,

Thierry St-Cyr
Member for Jeanne–Le Ber
Bloc Québécois Citizenship and Immigration Critic

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