Canadian Bill C-440 would allow U.S. Iraq War Resisters to stay legally in Canada
See below for how you can help.
In June 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion calling on the government to cease deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters and allow them to stay legally in Canada. All three opposition parties joined together to pass this historic motion, which reflected the wishes of the majority of Canadians.
The motion was non-binding, and shamefully, the Conservative Harper government ignored it. The following month, war resister Robin Long was deported from Canada. Robin was court-martialed and incarcerated in a military prison for 15 months. The lengthy prison sentence meant that Robin – who has a son in Canada – cannot return to the country for up to 10 years.
In February of 2009, war resister Cliff Cornell was deported from Canada. Cliff served nine months in the brig at Fort Lejeune.
In March of the same year, Canada’s Parliament passed a second motion, re-affirming its support for U.S. war resisters. Again, Stephen Harper’s Conservative government ignored the will of Parliament.
Now there is an opportunity to put the weight of law behind these two non-binding motions. Gerard Kennedy, a Liberal Member of Parliament, has put forth a “private member’s bill” – Bill C-440 – calling on the Harper government to stop the deportations and allow U.S. war resisters to stay.
A private member’s bill is legislation coming from an opposition party (i.e., not the government). Such bills face many hurdles and are not easily passed – but C-440 stands a better chance than most.
The War Resisters Support Campaign (WRSC) is working with M.P. Kennedy to demonstrate the wide support for war resisters throughout Canada, and to ensure that a majority of Members of Parliament vote for the bill.
Debate on Bill C-440 begins on May 25, 2010. A vote in the House of Commons will take place some months later, then the bill will go to the Senate. If this bill becomes law, Iraq War resisters will be able to apply for permanent residence in Canada.
Meanwhile, while working on this political campaign, the WRSC must continue to fight each individual war resister’s case in court. This has been a long, arduous battle. The Conservative government has tried to exhaust the Campaign’s resources. Undaunted, the WRSC has won several significant victories: a second Immigration and Refugee Board hearing for war resister Joshua Key, a court-ordered review of a decision in war resister Kimberley Rivera’s case, and many stays of removal. However, many war resisters are still at risk of deportation, including Patrick Hart and Jeremy Hinzman and their families.
Many U.S. supporters have asked what they can do to support the our efforts. As a U.S. citizen, the most important thing you can do to help war resisters in Canada is donate funds. The WRSC is constantly fundraising for legal defense, refugee application fees, work permits for war resisters and other necessary expenses. Our entire effort depends upon the donations of volunteers and supporters.
There are three ways to donate. No amount is too small (or too large!).
1. To mail a donation, please make a check or money order payable to the War Resisters Support Campaign. Mail it to:
427 Bloor Street West
M5S 1X7 CANADA
2. To give online, follow this link:
3. Regular donations provide stable funding for the Campaign which allows us to plan ahead and deal with emergency situations as they arise. Please consider making a commitment of $5 or more per month to help sustain the ongoing work to win asylum for war resisters. To set up a monthly donation, fill out the form here --
-- and send it to:
427 Bloor Street West
M5S 1X7 CANADA
The War Resisters Support Campaign (Canada)