|Canadian Prime Minister Martin
comments on US objectors
16 December, 2004
"I'M NOT GOING TO DISCRIMINATE" AGAINST US WAR RESISTERS WHO WANT TO COME TO CANADA - PM
(Toronto) - In the wake of U.S. war resister Jeremy Hinzman's hearing before the Immigration and Refugee Board last week, Prime Minister Paul Martin faced questioning regarding his attitude toward Americans who come to Canada seeking refuge because they refuse to serve in the Iraq War.
As reported in the Ottawa Citizen on December 15, Mr. Martin stated Canada is prepared to accept U.S. citizens who do not want to serve in Iraq. "In terms of immigration, we are a country of immigrants and we will take immigrants from around the world. I'm not going to discriminate," he said. Later, Martin spokesman Scott Reid added that Martin "was not commenting on any individual case and certainly was not sending a signal to the immigration board."
The War Resisters Support Campaign, which is working to convince the Government that Canada must again be, in the words of the late Pierre Trudeau, "a refuge from militarism" offering sanctuary to U.S. war resisters, welcomes the Prime Minister's comment.
Actor Shirley Douglas said, "I am glad that Paul Martin has chosen to follow in Pierre Trudeau's footsteps and allow US war resisters to remain in Canada. Hopefully he will follow through and they will soon have permanent resident status in our country."
"It would be important for Mr. Martin to act on this as soon as possible. It is clear that the vast majority of Canadians are against the war in Iraq," said Hassan Yussuf, Vice-President of the Canadian Labour Congress.
The Immigration and Refugee Board decision on the case of Jeremy Hinzman
is expected in February 2005.
For more information contact Lee Zaslofsky at 416.598.1222 or 416.369.0864, or email firstname.lastname@example.org