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Change war resister rules, MP urges PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Thursday, 21 January 2010 07:47

Change war resister rules, MP urges

Darrell Bellaart - Bill proposing alteration to rules is in limbo due to suspension of Parliament

 Toronto Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy wants Canadians to tell their MPs to stop deporting  American Iraq war resisters, He has submitted a  private member's against the Deportation.

The bill is to allow immigrants to stay if they come here because they disagree with their government's reasons for going to war.

Bill proposing alteration to rules is in limbo due to suspension of Parliament

Darrell Bellaart, The Daily News
Published: Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A campaign to halt the deportation of war resisters from Canada has grown from the jailing of an American army deserter who spent three years on Gabriola Island.

Toronto Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy wants Canadians to tell their MPs to stop deporting all American Iraq war resisters, until his private member's bill is debated in the House of Commons.

The bill is to allow immigrants to stay if they come here because they disagree with their government's reasons for going to war.

Bill C-440 was slated to be debated early in the next session of Parliament, but all work in the House has been pushed back by Prime Minister Harper's proroguing of Parliament.

Cliff Cornell walked away from his post with the U.S. Army and ultimately spent three years as a grocery clerk on Gabriola before his residency application was blocked and the Conservative government ordered him deported.

That deportation order came despite a vote to allow war resisters to stay in Canada, which got the support of a majority of Parliament through all three Opposition parties.

Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney, a Conservative, could not be reached for comment.

There are an estimated 250 war resisters in Canada. Kennedy wants voters to send MPs the message to stop the deportation orders against them.

Cornell, who left Canada before his deportation took effect last year, returned to Fort Stewart, Ga., to face the music. He was sentenced to a year in prison for desertion.

He got an early prison release on Saturday. His sentence was reduced by a month, thanks to a letter-writing campaign spearheaded by Gabriolans who knew him from the Village Market grocery store.

Canada has a tradition of supporting war resisters who left the U.S. to avoid the draft during the Vietnam war, and Kennedy said today's situation is similar, with the U.S. employing what some consider a "poverty draft," by promising poor people with few job prospects work in the military.

Cornell, who is travelling this week to his adopted family in Mountain Home, Ark., said he was lured by a $5,000 signing bonus and a job, and the promise he would not have to go to war. Two years later news came that his 39th Artillery Regiment was about to ship out for Iraq.

A majority of Canadians opposed the Iraq war and Kennedy hopes that opposition translates into support for the fight to change the immigration law to protect people like Cornell.

"We'd like Canadians to say: 'Is this fair?' Should someone with a crisis of conscience, who turns to Canada when they're compelled to do something against their conscience, shouldn't we stop deporting these people until my bill is debated?"

Write to your MP to support this bill presented by Gerard Kennedy.  kennedy This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or tel: 613.992.2936.

Last Updated on Thursday, 21 January 2010 07:47
 

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