Canadians call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to use his authority to act


OTTAWA—On Monday evening the House of Commons voted, for the second time in 10 months, to let Iraq War resisters live in Canada. The vote on a motion from the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration directs the Government of Canada to immediately stop the deportation of U.S. Iraq War resisters and establish a program to facilitate permanent resident status for the resisters and their families.

“It’s time for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and Prime Minister Harper to follow the will of the majority of Canadians and act as directed by Parliament,” said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. “It could be as simple as Jason Kenney using his discretion as minister to grant the resisters’ applications to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.”

The vote in Parliament comes less than a week after Members of Parliament from all three opposition parties held a press conference calling on the Harper government to stop the deportation of Kimberly Rivera, the first female Iraq War resister to come to Canada.

Kimberly Rivera, a former U.S. soldier, deployed to Iraq in the fall of 2006. While home on leave she decided she could no longer participate in the war. She and her family sought refuge in Canada in January 2007. Kimberly, her husband Mario and their three children – including a Canadian-born daughter – were ordered to leave Canada by March 26 or face deportation. They won an 11th hour stay from the Federal Court Wednesday evening. Though The Honourable James Russell’s written decision was not immediately released, his verbal ruling explained that war resisters who are deported to the U.S. face disproportionately severe punishment for being public about their objections to the Iraq War.

“This was the fifth time that the court ruled that Iraq war resisters face harsher punishment if they’re sent back to the U.S.,” said Robidoux. “The courts have spoken, Parliament has spoken and Canadians have made their views clear. These conscientious objectors should not be sent back to the United States to face jail time for opposing the Iraq War.”

A public opinion poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies last June found that 64 per cent of Canadians want the government to allow Iraq War resisters to become permanent residents of Canada.

For further information, please contact:
Michelle Robidoux, Spokesperson, War Resisters Support Campaign, 416-856-5008; or
Ken Marciniec, Communications Volunteer, War Resister Support Campaign, 416-803-6066,