Courage to Resist. January 26, 2009 update
The Conservative government of Canada moving swiftly to deport five U.S. war resisters and their families by the end of next week!
Phone Canadian officials Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Stephen Harper to tell them you support war resisters. Please ask them to stop the deportation proceedings against all U.S. Iraq War Resisters; and implement the June 2008 Parliamentary motion to allow war resisters to apply for Permanent Resident status in Canada.
The War Resister Support Campaign (Canada) is currently in the midst of Canada-wide actions to support U.S. war resisters living in Canada. Please join these efforts. The idea is to keep those phones ringing!
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
Phone 613-954-1064 (Ministry office) and/or 613-992-2235 (Parliamentary Office)
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Resisters facing deportation this week
Cliff Cornell has been ordered to leave Canada today. An Arkansas native, Cliff left for Toronto, Canada in January 2005 to resist deployment to Iraq.
“In my heart I felt it’s wrong,” Cliff has said of his decision to resist deployment. “I’ve been hearing a lot of people talking about all the innocent people who are being killed and the prisons over there where they’ve been torturing people. I just didn’t want to be a part of it.”
A local Canadian supporter noted that, “Many supporters on Gabriola Island (in British Columbia) are planning a send-off, and it’s our job to raise hell on the phone lines today!”
Cliff is expected to return to his last duty station at Fort Stewart, Georgia to face a military court martial.
Chris Teske has been ordered to leave Canada tomorrow (Friday). After two tours in Afghanistan and an honorable discharge, Chris was recalled to the Army to train machine gunners in Iraq. At the time he refused citing “the racism against the Muslim culture in the army there.”
Chris is expected to return to his last duty station at Fort Drum in upstate New York to face a military courts martial.
Kimberly Rivera, her husband Mario and three children have been ordered to leave Canada by Tuesday, January 27. Kimberly grew up in Mesquite, Texas, a suburb east of Dallas.
If forced to leave Canada, she is expected to return to Fort Carson, Colorado for military courts martial.
On Friday, January 30, Dean Walcott has been ordered out as well. A Marine MP from Connecticut, Dean went AWOL (actually, “UA” for unauthorized absence in Marine lingo) in 2007 following an Iraq deployment and has lived in Canada since. “As far as I know there’s an FBI warrant out for my arrest,” Dean told a TV crew recently. “I reenlisted before I knew anything was wrong. (I) was with the military police and all we ever did was run convoys around a very little part of Iraq.”
Next steps in supporting U.S. war resisters in Canada
These “removal orders” mark a turning point for war resisters in Canada. Prior to today, Robin Long has been the only war resister to be deported from Canada since the Vietnam War. Robin was convicted by an Army court martial upon his forced return and sentenced to 15 months confinement. He is currently being held at the Naval Consolidated Brig at Miramar, just north of San Diego.
Courage to Resist will be working with these resisters and our allies nationwide in order to create communities of support for these courageous individuals, and to make U.S.-based civilian legal defense available.
Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven notes, “We must prepare to defend war resisters who are deported and court-martialed. We need to build communities of sanctuary in the U.S. And we need to demand that President Obama grant amnesty to all war resisters.”
After making the two phone calls, send an email
Follow up your phone message with a brief email to Minister Kenney (email@example.com) and Prime Minister Harper (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please CC your email to Canadian opposition party leaders:
Liberal party immigration critic Borys Wrzesnewskyj (email@example.com)
NDP immigration critic Olivia Chow (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Bloc Québécois immigration critic Thierry St-Cyr (email@example.com)
And finally, War Resisters Support Campaign (firstname.lastname@example.org)