Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Military refusers plan Canada-wide demonstration for January

The Standing Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration heard testimony from war resisters and their supporters on December 6, 2007 in Ottawa. The committee passed a motion (7 to 4), tabled by Olivia Chow, that calls for a provision to allow US War Resisters to live and work in Canada for a period of two years, with the possibility of becoming permanent residents after that time.

The motion allows the provision to be introduced to the House of Commons.

Kimberley Scot of the Nelson War Resister Support Campaign calls it "a true victory."

She reports that "The resisters and their supporters were treated with dignity. Kimberley Scot reports that the comraderie that usually exists within the campaign was extended to include members of Parliament and their supporters. Before the celebration began, there were tears and cheers in the halls of Parliament."

Jim Karygiannis called for the amendment and the motion.

Scot felt that the campaign of emails and letters had worked because Karygiannis "was passionate that all conscientious objectors of all wars should be welcomed to Canada."

Now the National Campaign is calling for a demonstration on January 26. The date commemorates the day four years ago when Jeremy Hinzman first applied for refugee status in Canada.

The Nelson event, which is planned for the United Church, will be held inside because of the harsh January weather.

Ryan Johnson suggests "some light refreshments and a time to write hand written letters with someone delivering them to the post office afterwards... It would be a huge statement to have a box full of letters going to parliament. In Toronto they are marching to the Canada Post to drop them in the box."

The local campaign asks supporters to please consider contacting every member of the Committee on Citizenship and Immigration who voted for this provision (that would be every Liberal, NDP, and Bloc member), and thank them for their vote! Special thanks must go to Oliva Chow and Jim Karygiannis for their leadership, and to Alex Atamanenko, who does not sit on the committee, but who showed up, as always, to provide his support.

For more information call Kimberly 250-352-0740 or Ryan 250-505-5348 or visit

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