TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - July 22, 2016) - Supporters of US Iraq War resisters are renewing their call for the Canadian government to stop pursuing litigation against the resisters that was initiated by the Harper government.
Four American veterans and resisters of the Iraq War 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.
"This litigation continues Harper's policy of targeting US war resisters," said retired CBC broadcaster and Vietnam War resister Andy Barrie, CM. "It's time to tell government lawyers to call it quits to Harper's deportations."
In early 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." Yet the litigation is still going forward.
"Back in 2008, I was elated when the Liberals voted in Parliament to let us stay in Canada," said Dean Walcott, a former Marine and one of the four US war resisters who are part of the litigation. "I hope that they soon make that stand concrete by halting this litigation."
"The recent Chilcot Report confirmed what millions of people around the world knew - that the 2003 Iraq War was unjust and led to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians," said Jenny Kwan, MP for Vancouver East and the NDP Critic for Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees. "A resolution for these people of conscience is long overdue."
Jeremy Brockway, a former US Marine, came to Canada in 2008 after he was ordered to re-deploy to Iraq, despite a medical board recommending he be honourably discharged. "Coming to Canada saved my husband's life," said Ashlea Brockway, Jeremy's spouse. "But the stress of knowing he could be deported or go to jail is affecting all of us. I am hopeful that if the government finally lets us stay so our family can truly begin to heal."
A recent Insights West poll found that three in five Canadians (63%) say they agree with allowing these US soldiers to become permanent residents of Canada.
"I'm proud to be among the majority of Canadians who support the war resisters' principled stance," said Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for Beaches-East York. "Finally granting permanent resident status is the right thing to do for these conscientious objectors and for Canada," he concluded.
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.
Federal Court/Federal Court of Appeal decisions in favour of US 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. G.L.S. - October 2014
Office of Jenny Kwan, MP (Vancouver East)
Office of Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP (Beaches-East York)