Remembering Jack Layton

Aug 21st 2012

On August 22nd, one year after the passing of NDP leader Jack Layton, the War Resisters Support Campaign joins with Canadians across the country to mourn our collective loss and to remember his great contribution to building a more just world. Jack has left a tremendous legacy and his support for social justice, equality and peace live on in so many different ways.

In this video, Jack and Olivia Chow joined U.S. Iraq War resisters on June 3rd, 2008 to celebrate the Canadian Parliament’s adoption of a motion that would – if it had been enacted by the Conservative government – have allowed war resisters to stay in Canada. It was a day filled with joy for all those who believe that soldiers have a right to conscience and to refuse to participate in illegal and immoral wars.

“In light of the many dimensions of this war which are contrary to the fundamental precepts of international law that we would want all countries to be adhering to, we felt that it was important to support those courageous individuals that stepped forward like the generation before them did…to come and help us build our country and find friends here with a different vision of the world’s future…”

– Jack Layton

US War Resister needs PTSD service dog

Jul 19th 2012

Urgent appeal for funds

Jeremy Brockway was a corporal in the United States Marine Corps. He deployed to Iraq in July 2006 and returned to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in February 2007.

BuddhaDuring Jeremy’s time in Iraq, he witnessed and participated in many traumatizing incidents. Upon returning to the U.S., he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Severe Depression. The Marine Corps did not give him adequate medical treatment, then, a mere seven months later, wanted to redeploy him back to Iraq.

Knowing that he was suicidal and likely could not cope with another deployment, Jeremy and his wife, Ashlea, sought refuge in Canada.

Since being in Canada, Jeremy’s previous diagnoses were confirmed, along with an anxiety disorder. The Brockways now live in Port Colborne, Ontario. They have two children, William (age 4) and Wesley (age 2-1/2), and are expecting a third in August.

Jeremy now receives therapy and proper medication, but he still finds it difficult to participate in daily life. Most days, he finds it difficult to even leave his bedroom for more than a few minutes at a time. He experiences night terrors on a regular basis, making it difficult to sleep and be well rested enough to interact with the family. He can rarely leave his home even just to take out the trash.

The Brockways are trying to raise funds to adopt a PTSD service dog through the Thames Centre. The dog – a German Shepherd-mix named Buddha – will be trained to wake Jeremy from his night terrors and calm him down. Buddha will provide Deep Pressure Therapy to help Jeremy stay grounded in the present, instead of flashing back to traumatizing experiences. Buddha will lead Jeremy out of stressful situations that would otherwise cause him to have panic attacks. Buddha will be a fully certified service dog, and able to go everywhere with Jeremy.

Through a donation from the War Resisters Support Campaign, the Brockways were able to pay a deposit to secure Buddha’s adoption. Now they need another $8,000 to adopt the dog and pay related expenses. (The Thames Centre trains dogs that have been rescued from shelters and has special rates for veterans. Other service-dog organizations charge five times as much, up to $40,000.)

Donations can be made online at this link: http://testbud.chipin.com/veteran-in-need

The Brockways believe that a service dog will help Jeremy be able to interact with his family, and greatly improve his quality of life. Every donation will bring them closer to their goal. Thank you in advance for any help you can offer.

Please note that this ChipIn is linked to the PayPal account of Laura Kaminker, a War Resisters Support Campaign organizer. Donations are converted to U.S. funds for processing.

If you would prefer to make a donation by cheque or money order, you can make it out to War Resisters Support Campaign (put ‘Service Dog’ in the memo line) and mail it to:

War Resisters Support Campaign
427 Bloor Street West, Box 13
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 1X7

Canadian Council of Churches asks government to let US war resisters stay

May 30th 2012

The Canadian Council of Churches’ Commission on Justice and Peace marked International Conscientious Objector’s day by delivering a letter to Citizenship & Immigration Minister Jason Kenney asking “the Government of Canada to either allow the US war resisters to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds or to create a mechanism, perhaps a revision of Bill C-440 that would enable them to apply for status from within Canada.”

The letter comes out firmly in support of conscientious objection to military service and war: “As churches, rights of conscience and religion hold a particular significance for us as we seek to encourage people to live faithful lives. We are of the opinion that when they have followed their conscience in the decision they made to refuse to serve in war and to come to Canada then their circumstances warrant humanitarian and compassionate relief. Their beliefs are protected under domestic and international law, and facilitating their punishment by returning them to the United States, in our opinion, is regrettable.”

Council of Churches deliver letter to Minister Janson KenneyDelivering the CCC-CJP letter to Minister Kenney’s office, left to right: Colin Grimmond, Orthodox Church of America; Bill Janzen, Mennonite Church Canada; Keith Helmuth, Religious Society of Friends. Photo: Jason John, Mar Thoma Church, North American Diocese

On May 15th:
Mark International Day for Conscientious Objection by writing to Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney

May 6th 2012

May 15th is International Day for Conscientious Objection. The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters to send a message to Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney to demand that he rescind Operational Bulletin 202 and respect the rights of conscientious objectors to the Iraq war.

Send email now

Operational Bulletin 202 was issued by Minister Kenney in July 2010 and singles out US war resisters who are seeking refuge in Canada. This controversial directive specifically references war resisters from the US armed forces and implies that their cases should be treated differently than deserters from other countries.

War Resisters speak in Fort Erie, 2010

This interference in what is supposed to be an independent process by immigration officers has already resulted in war resisters being denied applications for humanitarian and compassionate consideration. This even though immigration officers had already approved their applications in principle.

Peter Showler, former chair of the Immigration and Refugee Board, wrote that “Operational Bulletin 202 misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers.”

The decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to grant Conrad Black a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) in defiance of their own regulations has exposed a double-standard in the Conservative government’s treatment of US Iraq War resisters. In Black’s application, Kenney said that he instructed his officials in February “to deal with any such application on their own, without any input from myself or my office to ensure that it was handled in a completely independent fashion.”

The War Resisters Support Campaign is asking for the same non-interference in the cases of US war resisters as Mr. Kenney granted Conrad Black.

Yet Minister Kenney has put his thumbs on the scales in determining the fate of US conscientious objectors who refused to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

This is a case of one set of rules for the rich and powerful and another for ordinary people.

In a letter to Minister Kenney, Amnesty International Canada’s Secretary General Alex Neve stated that Amnesty International “considers it to be a violation of international refugee law to suggest that deserters are automatically inadmissible to Canada because desertion is an offence in their own country… We are concerned that the Bulletin strongly suggests a fettering of an immigration officer’s discretion prior to referral to the IRB.”

On May 15th, call or write to Minister Kenney telling him to rescind this discriminatory directive and allow US Iraq war resisters to stay in Canada.

Use the contact information below, or click here to send an email now.

Phone: 613-954-1064
Fax: 613-957.2688
Email: jason.kenney@parl.gc.ca, minister@cic.gc.ca
cc to: stephen.harper@parl.gc.ca, thomas.mulcair@parl.gc.ca, bob.rae@parl.gc.ca, jinny.sims@parl.gc.ca, kevin.lamoureux@parl.gc.ca, elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Conrad Black case underlines double-standard faced by Iraq War resisters

May 4th 2012

Supporters call on Jason Kenney to rescind discriminatory Operational Bulletin 202

May 4, 2012
TORONTO—The decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to grant Conrad Black a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) has exposed the double-standard in the Conservative government’s treatment of US Iraq War resisters who have sought asylum in Canada.

“Immigration Minister Jason Kenney claims that there was no political intervention in the decision to give Conrad Black a Temporary Resident Permit,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “But he has persistently intervened in the cases of US soldiers and directed immigration officers to red-flag them as potential criminals.”
Read full media release

Let them stay in 2012!

Jan 6th 2012

As the campaign to win asylum for U.S. Iraq War resisters enters its ninth year, there is much that has been accomplished but much that we must still fight for. The majority of Canadians want an end to deportations of Iraq War resisters, yet the Canadian government has succeeded in deporting two, ­Robin Long and Cliff Cornell. Twice in the past three years, a majority of Parliament voted to oppose deportations and to support a provision that would allow war resisters to stay in Canada. Yet Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney has instituted a discriminatory policy ­ Operational Bulletin 202 ­ that criminalizes Iraq war resisters.

With Parliament set to return on January 31st, the War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters to email the Minister of Immigration, as well as individual MPs, to demand that Operational Bulletin 202 be rescinded.

Below is a message from Don Davies, Immigration critic for the official opposition, in support of Iraq War resisters:

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