War Resisters Support Campaign

War Resisters Support Campaign

May 17, 2016 10:14 ET

Andy Barrie Asks Trudeau to Stop Harper's Vendetta Against Conscientious Objectors

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 17, 2016) - Vietnam War resisters along with human rights, faith, and labour leaders, are calling on Justin Trudeau to end the former Conservative government's efforts to deport American Iraq War resisters.

In an opinion editorial published by Canada's largest daily newspaper marking International Conscientious Objectors Day, retired CBC radio broadcaster Andy Barrie, CM, urged the prime minister to, "embrace his father's legacy in honouring, rather than deporting, these men and women of conscience" and "tell government lawyers to call it quits to Harper's deportations."

Barrie joined a chorus of voices including Amnesty International Canada, the Canadian Council of Churches, and the Canadian Labour Congress, that have recently written to the Liberal government in support of the Iraq War resisters' struggle to get permanent resident status.

Since 2008, there have been 12 Federal Court decisions won by U.S. Iraq War resisters. The new government is currently re-litigating many issues that have already been found in the war resisters' favour by the Canadian courts and defending the Harper government's position that it is okay to imprison conscientious objectors.

John Hagan, the Co-Director of the Center on Law & Globalization at the American Bar Foundation and author of Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada (Harvard University Press, 2001), wrote for NOW Magazine last Remembrance Day:

"It took several years before the Liberal government in 1969 completely opened the doors to all U.S. Vietnam War resisters, regardless of whether they were leaving the military or fleeing the country before being drafted into military service."

"Then prime minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau famously remarked in a speech to Mennonite and United Church leaders that 'those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war… have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada.'"

During an election campaign stop in Winnipeg, Manitoba on July 4, 2015, Justin Trudeau said, "I am supportive of the principle of allowing conscientious objectors to stay. I am committed ... to restoring our sense of compassion and openness and a place that is a safe haven for people to come here."

It has been 12 years for Jeremy Hinzman, the first Iraq War resister to seek refuge here in 2004, and the better part of a decade for many of the other resisters who are still seeking status here.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is asking the Trudeau government to move quickly to:

1. Stop the deportation of U.S. war resisters;

2. Stop pursuing war resister cases in court, as doing so defends decisions and policies made by the former Conservative government;

3. Rescind the prejudicial Citizenship and Immigration Canada Operational Bulletin 202; and

4. Implement a new operational bulletin that restores fairness for all U.S. war resister cases.

Federal Court/Federal Court of Appeal decisions in favour of U.S. war resisters

1. Joshua Key - July 2008

2. James Corey Glass - July 2008

3. Jeremy Hinzman - September 2008

4. Matthew Lowell - September 2008

5. Dean Walcott - January 2009

6. Kimberly Rivera - March 2009

7. Kimberly Rivera - August 2009

8. Jeremy Hinzman - July 2010 (Federal Court of Appeal)

9. Dean Walcott - April 2011

10. Chris Vassey - July 2011

11. Jules Tindungan - February 2013

12. Dale Landry - October 2014

Contact Information