With a federal election looming as early as next spring, Stephen Harper's Conservatives have stepped up their drive to force the remaining US Iraq War resisters out of Canada.
Since September, seven US war resisters have received negative decisions in their cases. Two veterans were given removal dates (i.e., dates by which they must leave the country). One resister received a stay of removal and the government rescinded the second removal order at the last minute. These reprieves are extremely good news, but war resisters and their loved ones continue to feel stress and uncertainty.
The timing of these initial negative decisions was odd. After no movement on any cases for over a year, seven cases—allegedly independent of one another—were suddenly announced as Harper was trying to increase Canadian support for the US's latest attack on the people of Iraq.
As the resisters continue their fight, they know that a majority of Canadians are on their side. Nearly two-thirds of Canadians support allowing US Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada. However, the Harper government continues to ignore both the will of the people and the will of Parliament, which has twice passed resolutions calling on Harper to allow war resisters to stay in the country.
The War Resisters Support Campaign, which has been working to win a provision for US war resisters to be able to stay in Canada, received some good news in October. Federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair reiterated his strong support for such a provision, highlighting the motions which the NDP caucus unanimously supported in the past.
One way Harper's Conservatives want to silence anti-war voices is by driving US conscientious objectors out of Canada. In the months ahead, we must resist the pro-war rhetoric and build a movement to stop the deportations and to let war resisters stay.
For more information visit www.resisters.ca