The War Resisters Support Campaign and Veterans For Peace (Buffalo Chapter) are co-sponsoring an event in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on October 16th. You will have a chance to meet some of the war resisters who have chosen to go to Canada rather than participate in the illegal occupations. Most of them have been to either Iraq or Afghanistan or both at least once.

Come and spend a few hours with them and their families. Find out who they are and why they made the choices they did.

These are wonderful men and women - the kind of people you would like to have as neighbors, but they can't come to the US to meet you or live in your neighborhood. If they return to the states they will be imprisoned. Find out about the personal and legal struggles they face.

I believe you will leave confused about why these people face prison for refusing to kill innocent people. We would like people to leave this event knowing some resister families and searching for a way to support them and other GI resisters whether they are in Canada, underground in the US, in prison, or where ever they may be. Hopefully we will be inspired to make an even stronger commitment to end the occupations and the ever increasing militarism all around us. -Russell Brown

Sunday, October 17, 2010

American GI resisters gather in Fort Erie, Ontario, across the Niagara River from Buffalo, NY

Articles on the Operational Bulletin:
National Post

Article on yesterday's event:

-thanks to Christine Beckermann for the two newspaper links

Sunday, October 3, 2010

C-440 dies, but the campaign to keep war resisters in Canada lives and thrives

The following post by Laura on We Move To Canada:

As you know, on Wednesday, Bill C-440, the private member's bill that would have allowed US war resisters to stay in Canada, was defeated in second reading by seven votes.

It was a terrible shock to everyone who had worked so tirelessly to get the bill through, including MP Gerard Kennedy. Kennedy did everything he could to see this bill pass, and he was blindsided by the results.

We were angry, and hurt, and sad. Many of us were especially angry at a dozen Liberal MPs who were in the House of Commons for the vote on the long-form census, but left before the C-440 vote.

This is understandable, and I initially shared that anger. But now I've refocused my sights on the real culprit: the Harper Government.

* * * *

First, let's review what we were up against.

Most private member's bills do not pass. That's a given. This one sought to change the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, a pillar of Canadian law - a tall order. The political atmosphere in Parliament is, to put it mildly, highly fractious. We've heard some reports on what went on behind the scenes during the five votes in Wednesday's House of Commons - the political infighting, the vindictiveness, the accusations and threats. It was intense - and in the larger picture, quite sad and scary.

Given all those obstacles, C-440 was defeated by only seven votes. The war resisters have a lot of political support.

It's still a defeat; I obviously understand that. But it's not a repudiation of what we're fighting for. 136 Members of Parliament, from all three opposition parties, voted in favour of allowing US war resisters to stay in Canada, and several who were not present for the vote also support the idea. That 136 is actually a greater number than voted for the second motion in favour of war resisters, passed in March, 2009. Our support has not decreased: it has increased.

The bill had some obvious flaws - and the reason it was flawed, the roots of the problem, are Stephen Harper, Jason Kenney and the rest of the Conservative government, who ignored two recommendations passed by a united Opposition, calling on the government to stop deporting war resisters and let them apply for permanent residence. The motions were clear, focused and direct. They contained none of the pitfalls that had to be written into the bill; they required no reconfiguration of IRPA. It doesn't take a law. All we need is a provision.

Our obstacle is the arrogant, hypocritical, undemocratic, war-loving, fear-mongering Harper government. That's what we should focus on. That is our fight.

If you live in a Liberal, NDP or Bloc riding, I encourage you, as citizens and as voters, to learn how your MP voted: look here. Then contact your MP and either thank her or him, or ask why she or he didn't vote. If you're a Liberal voter - or if you might ever be one - I encourage you to contact Michael Ignatieff, and express whatever you need to express. That's your right as a resident of Canada and I hope you will exercise it.

At last night's meeting, I heard some stories about how key votes have been influenced by constituent pressure, and by MPs learning that they do have support, that they will not be hung out to dry if they vote in favour of any given bill. Your voice makes a difference.

But in the larger picture, the entire issue of deporting war resisters and refusing to implement the two motions lies at the Conservatives' doorstep.

On the one hand, they have forced the war resisters to fight their battles individually through the refugee system - a drawn-out, expensive process, conducted with Minister Jason Kenney's thumb squarely on the scales, as he has politicized the process so thoroughly that all decisions are tainted and no justice can ever be attained. The Canadian courts have consistently affirmed this, most recently in the positive decision in Jeremy Hinzman's humanitarian and compassionate application.

And on the other hand, when a majority of Parliamentarians seek to remove the resisters from the refugee system and courts, by passing a simple provision that would allow them to stay, the government ignores it. The same way they always ignore the will of the majority of Canadians.

The bottom line is: we are not giving up.

If you believe Canada should be a peaceful nation - if you want to live in a Canada that provides a refuge from US militarism - if you believe Canadian policy should reflect Canadian sensibilities, not be a lapdog of the Pentagon - then stand with us.

In the coming weeks and months, the war resisters will need your support more than ever. The Campaign will need phone calls, letters to MPs, letters to newspapers, public actions, and we will desperately need funds. This is about the fate of people and families, but it is also about what kind of country we want Canada to be.

Let Them Stay!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Q & A: 'private memeber's bill' & Bill C-440

What is Bill C-440?

Bill C-440 is a private member’s bill that, if passed, would allow U.S. Iraq War resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada. It was introduced by Member of Parliament (MP) Gerard Kennedy and seconded by MP Bill Siksay on September 17, 2009. The complete text of the bill is at the bottom of this page.

What is a “private member’s bill”?

A private member’s bill is a bill introduced in the House of Commons by an MP who is not a cabinet minister – that is, a member of one of the opposition parties, not a member of the government (the administration). It follows the same legislative process as a government bill, although less time is allocated for debate.

Very few private member’s bills become law. However, C-440 has the support of all three opposition parties, which is very unusual. It stands a better chance of passing than most private member’s bills.

Why is the private member’s bill being brought?

Despite two motions already passed in Parliament asking the government to stop deportation proceedings and allow US Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has completely ignored the will of Parliament – and a majority of Canadians.

Hasn’t Parliament has already voted to allow war resisters to stay in Canada?

On June 3, 2008, Parliament passed a motion (137-110) calling on the Harper government to immediately cease all deportation proceedings and to allow war resisters to stay in Canada with their families and begin the process of becoming permanent residents.

That motion was affirmed and passed again on March 30, 2009.

In between those two motion, Stephen Harper’s Conservative party gained more seats in Parliament. The second motion passed by a vote of 129-125.

So why do you still need a bill?

The two motions, while passed by a majority of the House of Commons, were non-binding. They do not have the force of law – and the sitting government (even a minority government) can choose to ignore them.

In April 2005, while he was the leader of the opposition (that is, before he was Prime Minister), Stephen Harper stated: “The Prime Minister has the moral obligation to respect the will of Parliament.” Now that he is Prime Minister, that “moral obligation” has vanished.

Thus we must work to pass a private member’s bill giving legal weight to the two previous Parliamentary motions.

How does the Canadian public feel about war resisters?

Canadians overwhelmingly oppose the war in Iraq and they oppose sending young men and women to jail for refusing to participate in it. An Angus Reid poll from June 2008 shows that 64% of Canadians want U.S. Iraq war resisters to stay.

Where in the legislative process is Bill C-440?

Bill C-440 was introduced by Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy in September 2009. The second reading of the bill was held on May 25, 2010, followed by an hour of debate in Parliament.

Another hour of debate is scheduled for Monday, September 27, 2010, and we anticipate a House of Commons vote a few days later. Because all three opposition parties strongly support C-440, if every member of Parliament shows up for the vote, it will pass.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is working with Mr. Kennedy to ensure that every opposition Member of Parliament shows up to vote!

Then what happens?

If the bill passes second reading, it would then “go to committee” – be submitted to the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. We believe a majority of committee members support the bill.

And then does it become law?

Not yet. There is a third reading, considered more perfunctory than the previous two. The bill is then forwarded to the Governor General for “royal assent” – and then it becomes law.

What happens to the war resisters during this long process?

Until a law allowing all Iraq War resisters to stay in Canada is passed, the War Resisters Support Campaign must fight for each war resister on a case-by-case basis. Since 2004, this has involved a long, complicated, expensive battle through the Immigration and Refugee system and a series of court appeals.

To date, two war resisters have been deported by the Harper government. Robin Long was sentenced to 15 months in military prison, and Cliff Cornell served 12 months. Another deported war resister, Rodney Watson, took sanctuary in a church in Vancouver, where he remains.

Other war resisters, after living under the threat of deportation for months or years, voluntarily surrendered to the U.S. military and were also given prison sentences.

All the other war resister cases remain in progress.

+ + + + +

Bill C-440, An Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (war resisters)

Her Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate and House of Commons of Canada, enacts as follows:

1. Section 25 of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is amended by adding the following after subsection (1):

War resisters

(1.1) A foreign national in Canada shall be deemed to be in a situation in which humanitarian and compassionate considerations justify the granting of permanent resident status to that foreign national — and his or her immediate family — or shall be exempted by the Minister from any legal obligation applicable to that foreign national — or his or her immediate family — that would prevent them from being allowed to remain in Canada, if that foreign national

(a) left the armed forces of his or her former country of habitual residence or refused obligatory military service in that country because of a moral, political or religious objection to avoid participating in an armed conflict not sanctioned by the United Nations;

(b) is subject to stop-loss orders to report for active duty; or

(c) upon return to the former country of his or her habitual residence, could be compelled to return to service.

2. Section 50 of the Act is amended by adding the following after paragraph (a):

(a.1) until a decision is made on the permanent resident status of the foreign national referred to in subsection 25(1.1) and his or her immediate family;

-thanks to Allan Wood for the summary.

Friday, September 3, 2010


The Veterans For Peace and the War Resister Support Campaign will be honoring the veterans who refuse to participate in the killing of innocent people and the illegal occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Most of the men and women, GI’s who chose to go to Canada, have been to Iraq and/or Afghanistan at least once. They need your support.

If you are planning to attend the “Refusing Orders / Crossing Borders” event in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada on October 16th, it is essential that you act immediately to make sure your passport or ‘enhanced’ license is in order. If you don’t have one - apply immediately - or it won’t be available in time for you to cross the Peace Bridge and join us in Fort Erie on October 16th.

For more info contact Bruce Beyer at 716-854-1659

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

We put up this blog so people will have a place to go for information about the event in Ft. Erie on October 16th. We'll organize it in the next few days. We needed to have an address for some newsletter deadlines.

thank you,

If you are planning to attend this event with the war resisters, make sure you have your passport (or enhanced license) in order. If you wait until the last minute, you may not have it in time to celebrate their choice with us.