Majority of Canadians Want Iraq War Resisters to Stay as Permanent Residents

Jun 13th 2016

For immediate release
TORONTO, ONTARIO – A majority of Canadians agree with allowing U.S. soldiers-who fled to Canada after refusing to take part in the Iraq War-to become permanent residents, a new Insights West public opinion poll reveals.

The War Resisters Support Campaign has been trying to help these conscientious objectors get permanent resident status since Jeremy Hinzman came to Canada, with his family, as the first U.S. Iraq War resister in 2004.

In the online survey of a representative national sample, three in five Canadians (63%) say they agree with allowing these U.S. soldiers to become permanent residents of Canada, while one-in-five (21%) disagree and 16% are undecided. The support is very similar regardless of sex (women 64%, men 62%), and there is little fluctuation among age groups (65% for both 18-34 and 55+, and 60% for 35-54).

Majorities in all regions of the country also support allowing the U.S. soldiers to stay, from a high of 74% in British Columbia to a low of 56% in Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Canadians who voted Liberal and NDP in October 2015 are more likely to support this course of action (71% and 75% respectively) than Conservatives (47%).

“I’m proud to be among the majority of Canadians who support the war resisters’ principled stance,” said Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for the electoral district of Beaches-East York in Toronto. “Finally granting permanent resident status is the right thing to do for these conscientious objectors and for Canada.”

“All of the Iraq War resisters have applications pending before Canadian immigration officials,” said Paul Copeland, CM, a prominent human rights and national security defence lawyer. “The Liberal government could easily resolve their precarious status by granting their spousal sponsorships and applications for permanent residence based on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”

In May, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quoted by The Canadian Press saying that this issue is, “one that we are looking into actively as a government.” But after seven months in office there is no evidence that the new government is moving to positively resolve this issue.

During a pre-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.”

Iraq War resister and veteran Rodney Watson remains inside Vancouver’s First United Church where he sought sanctuary almost seven years ago, after being ordered deported to the U.S. by the former Harper government.

Four other war resisters are scheduled to have a judicial review of their cases heard by the Federal Court in Toronto this fall. The government has been given a September 16 deadline to decide whether or not it will continue to pursue the Conservatives’ policy of opposing these conscientious objectors in court.

Since 2008, there have been 12 Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeals decisions in favour of Iraq War resisters. Unfortunately, the limited remedy available to the courts is to send back cases for reconsideration by immigration officials who are still subject to the instructions in the previous government’s prejudicial Operational Bulletin 202. The current government is re-litigating many issues that have already been found in the war resisters’ favour by the Canadian courts and is defending the Harper government’s position that it is acceptable to imprison conscientious objectors.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is asking the Trudeau government 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 directive that restores fairness for all U.S. war resister cases.

About this survey:

These results are based on an online study conducted from May 30 to June 2, 2016, among a representative sample of 1,001 Canadian adults. The data have been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender, and region. The margin of error-which measures sample variability-is +/- 3.1 percentage points.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

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. D.G.L. – October 2014

Conscientious Objectors Day – time to let U.S. Iraq war resisters stay

May 14th 2016

May 15th is International Conscientious Objectors Day. Please take a minute today to write to Minister of Immigration John McCallum and Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould. Ask them to let U.S. war resisters stay in Canada.

Amnesty International Canada recently wrote to the Minister of Immigration outlining their concerns about the unfair treatment of of U.S. war resisters.

You can make a difference by sending a brief message today. Here is a sample you can copy and paste into your email. Feel free to edit it or write your own message.

Email addresses to send to:

You can cc your own Member of Parliament. To find their contact info, click here and enter your postal code.

Sample letter:

Dear Ministers,

May 15th is International Conscientious Objectors Day. I am writing you today to ask that you take this opportunity to resolve the situation of U.S. Iraq war resisters in Canada and allow them to stay in Canada.

Many of these conscientious objectors to the illegal and immoral war in Iraq have been in Canada for 10 years or more. The previous Conservative government interfered in their cases and they have still not had a fair and impartial hearing. I urge you to address this situation by:

– withdrawing Operational Bulletin 202 which singles out U.S. war resisters
– halting the litigation in their cases which was initiated by the Conservative government

Canadians overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq war and want U.S. war resisters to stay, as they did during the Vietnam war. Please to the right thing and move quickly to resolve the unfair handling of these cases by the previous government and let U.S. conscientious objectors stay.

Iraq War Resisters Speak Out

Apr 15th 2016

It has been 13 years since the launch of the Iraq war, a war that most nations including Canada refused to be part of. U.S. Iraq War resisters, who refused to participate in this illegal and immoral war, came to Canada seeking refuge much as tens of thousands of people did during the Vietnam War.

If returned to the U.S., they face harsh punishment including long jail terms and felony convictions which will follow them for the rest of their lives. Harper’s Conservative government singled out U.S. war resisters and directly interfered in their cases, denying them a fair and impartial hearing.

Please watch and share this video about the situation they now face and how you can help them to stay in Canada.

Write to Minister of Immigration John McCallum – Stop litigation against U.S. Iraq War resisters

Mar 31st 2016

Contrary to widespread hopes and expectations for a positive resolution for U.S. Iraq War resisters, the Liberal government is pursuing litigation against them that was initiated by the previous Harper government. The Federal Court hearings are scheduled for April 5 and 6.

We are asking every supporter to immediately email Minister of Immigration John McCallum, at and (model message below).

Please include your city and province after your name.

cc Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

Below is a model email message you can copy and paste – you can send as is, or personalize it:

SUBJECT: U.S. Iraq War resisters – Stop litigation initiated by Harper government

Honourable John McCallum
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

Dear Minister McCallum,

I am writing to ask that you immediately cease the litigation initiated by the former Conservative government against U.S. Iraq War resisters.

Our new government should not defend decisions made under the previous government and re-litigate matters the Court has already found on in favour of these conscientious objectors. As you know, Canadians overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq War and the Liberal government under Jean Chrétien made a decision not to participate in it.

The cases to be heard by the Federal Court on April 5 and 6 should be settled, and the matters sent back to be re-determined by new immigration officers.

I thank you for your consideration and look forward to your response.


cc: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Toronto film screening: WE ARE MANY

Mar 22nd 2016

We are many

Special Toronto film screening:
WE ARE MANY by Amir Amirani

Tuesday April 12th, 7pm
Steelworkers Hall, 25 Cecil St.

On 15 February 2003, over 15 million people in nearly 800 cities, throughout 72 countries, marched against the impending war in Iraq. We Are Many tells, for the first time, the story behind and legacy of the biggest demonstration in history.

Shot in 7 countries over 8 years, featuring first hand testimony from organisers and direct participants, We Are Many is a powerful story of resistance to war.

“The only film I have ever watched where the audience started clapping
half way through…”
Huffington Post

“It is a powerful and at times moving tribute to organised dissent
and the power of the people… It is admirably watchable and provocative…
Amirani is to be congratulated for this passionate and provocative film.”

Screen Daily / International

Film screening followed by Q&A with WAËL KABBANI, Executive Director of WE ARE MANY.

Suggested donation $10 or pwyc. Proceeds to War Resisters Support Campaign.

Watch the trailer:

It’s time to let Iraq War Resisters stay!

Feb 27th 2016

Following the federal election, there is hope that there can finally be a positive and speedy resolution to the cases of U.S. Iraq War resisters. Your help is needed to make sure they are allowed to stay in Canada. Watch our new video below and then take a moment to write a letter to your MP in support of war resisters. For more information, see our backgrounder on the situation of U.S. Iraq War Resisters in Canada.

Urge the Liberal Government to
Let U.S. War Resisters Stay

Nov 26th 2015

Let Them Stay Week 2015Following the federal election, there is hope that there can finally be a positive and speedy resolution to the cases of U.S. Iraq War resisters. Your help is needed to make sure they are allowed to stay in Canada.


Background: Canadians voted for change and expect the new government to do the right thing and let the war resisters stay. It was the strong response of Canadians that has kept most U.S. war resisters in Canada – and out of U.S. military prison – for the past ten years.

U.S. Iraq War resisters have lived through a decade of unfair political interference in their cases by the previous Conservative government. Some were deported by the Harper government, and received harsh jail sentences in the U.S. for opposing the illegal and immoral invasion of Iraq.

The new government should immediately heed the will of the majority of Canadians and stop any and all actions against U.S. war resisters, including halting the litigation against U.S. war resisters, as this litigation defends policies and decisions made by the previous Conservative government.

LET THEM STAY WEEK, Nov. 29 – Dec. 5

During “Let Them Stay Week”, let federal Minister of Immigration John McCallum know that you support a provision to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada, and that you want the current legal proceedings against them to cease.

Sunday November 29 – Profile Picture Day: Change your profile picture in support of U.S. Iraq War resisters, for the duration of Let Them Stay Week.

Monday November 30 – Contact the Minister Day: Watch and share this video and then phone or email Minister John McCallum to urge him to LET U.S. WAR RESISTERS STAY in Canada.

You can send an email here, or contact him at:

Telephone: 613-954-1064
Fax: 613-996-1289

Tuesday December 1 – Write a letter to the editor of your local paper.

Wednesday December 2 – Mail In Letters Day: Write a letter to the Minister of Immigration and mail it (postage required) to:

The Honourable John McCallum, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship
365 Laurier Avenue West
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 1L1

Thursday December 3 – Ten years’ worth of #TBT (Throwback Thursday) to share on social media! : Follow us on Facebook and share, post, disseminate information on Iraq war resisters in your networks.

Friday December 4 – Community Outreach Day: Call your local MP’s office to express your concern; circulate the U.S. war resister petition; post a window-sign at your home, workplace, community or faith organization.

Saturday December 5 – Help fund the Campaign to keep U.S. war resisters in Canada: make a donation to the War Resisters Support Campaign – you can donate online here or send a cheque or money order to: War Resisters Support Campaign, 427 Bloor St. West, Box 3, Toronto, ON CANADA M5S 1X7

After the Election – how you can help U.S. Iraq War Resisters

Oct 26th 2015

Following the federal election, which put an end to the Conservative government, there is hope that there can finally be a positive and speedy resolution to the cases of U.S. Iraq War resisters. The war resisters have lived with unfair political interference in their cases for almost 10 years. Now is the time to let the new government know that Canadians expect them to do the right thing and let them stay!

How you can help

1) Write a Letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau
Prime Minister of Canada
Office of the Prime Minister
Langevin Block
80 Wellington Street
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A2

2) Call, e-mail and write to your Member of Parliament:
To send a letter: address it to your MP, and send to House of Commons, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0A6

To find out your MP’s email and phone number, you can email
or call toll-free (Canada): 1 (866) 599-4999.

MP contact details will be up shortly at, under ‘Members of Parliament’.

Key points to mention:
• Resolve this issue swiftly as part of the change promised by the new government
• It is time to fix this issue – end over 10 years of unfair and unjust legal and political actions by the Harper government
• Stop the deportations
• Stop pursuing war resister cases in court, as doing so defends decisions and policies made by the former Conservative government
• Rescind Operational Bulletin 202
• Implement a new Operational Bulletin that restores fairness for all war resister cases and reverses the harm done

3) Donate to the War Resisters Support Campaign:

4) Please join and follow us – and share us on Social Media:

Film night fundraiser, Monday August 17th

Aug 14th 2015

Please join us for this summer screening of two important documentaries about U.S. war resisters who sought asylum in Canada:

Deserter (2007 – 30 min) follows the journey of US Iraq War resister Ryan Johnson and his spouse Jenna as they make their way across the U.S. to seek asylum in Canada.deserter-wt

The Path of Glory (2014 – 50 min) – a documentary featuring U.S. war resisters Kimberly Rivera and Jeremy Brockway.

There will also be a brief update on the federal election and the campaign to let U.S. war resisters stay.

Suggested donation $5-10 or pay what you can

UNMANNED: America’s Drone Wars – Fundraiser for War Resisters Support Campaign?

Mar 4th 2015


Film Screening and Discussion
Monday, March 9, 2015
Dinner 6pm
Film and Discussion 7 pm
25 Cecil Street (near College and Huron)
with special guest RUSSELL BROWN
U.S. peace activist, Upstate Drone War and
Veterans for Peace

In Unmanned: America’s Drone Wars, director Robert Greenwald investigates the impact of U.S. drone strikes at home and abroad through more than 70 separate interviews, including a former American drone operator who shares what he has witnessed in his own words, Pakistani families mourning loved ones and seeking legal redress, investigative journalists pursuing the truth, and top military officials warning against blowback from the loss of innocent life.

RUSSELL BROWN has been active in nonviolent protest at Hancock Field Air National Guard Base near Syracuse, N.Y, from where MQ9 Reaper drones are piloted. On April 28, 2013 he was arrested as he lay down to symbolize the death of drone victims.

A U.S. marine from 1965-1967, Russell testified at his trial that his participation in senseless killing and brutality in Vietnam informed his understanding of the Drone War Program. Russell was acquitted in August 2014.

Join us for this evening of food, film and discussion in support of U.S. war resisters seeking asylum in Canada.

Suggested donation $20 or pwyc

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