For Immediate Release Contact: Gerry Condon
June 5, 2008 (206) 499-1220
Peace Activists to Hold Vigil at Canadian Consulate
Peace activists will hold a “Celebration Vigil” outside of the Canadian Consulate in downtown Seattle on Thursday from 12 Noon to 1 pm. They will be celebrating the historic vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday, June 3, which calls on the Canadian government to allow U.S. war resisters to immigrate to Canada. The motion, which was supported by all the opposition parties and opposed by the minority Conservative government, passed by a vote of 137-110. It also calls for a halt to any deportation actions against the AWOL GIs.
“This is a great victory for our war resisters in Canada,” says Gerry Condon, director of Project Safe Haven, an advocacy group for Iraq War resisters.
“Canada’s Parliament has recognized that our young men and women who refuse to fight in the illegal war in Iraq should not be punished.”
The motion is nonbonding, however, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his minority Conservative government have indicated they may choose to ignore it.
In the meantime, U.S. war resister Corey Glass has been given until June 12 to leave Canada or face deportation. Glass, 25, came to Canada in August 2006 after serving as a military intelligence sergeant in Iraq.
“This deportation must be stopped,” says Gerry Condon. “It would go against the will of the Canadian Parliament and the Canadian people.
“We are here today to thank the Canadian people for providing shelter to our war resisters. You have provided them with homes, with food, with friendship, with legal representation and with political support. We especially want to thank the Canadian unions, churches, artists and activists who make up the War Resisters Support Campaign, which has worked so hard to ensure that war resisters are treated as refugees and not as criminals. Peace-loving people in the United States will be forever grateful.”
“But this will be a hollow victory if the Conservative government is allowed to flaunt the will of the Canadian people and act more like a surrogate for George Bush,” says Condon. “We demand an end to deportation proceedings against Corey Glass and all war resisters.”
Project Safe Haven plans to present the Canadian Consul with a cake that says, “Thank You, Canada,” and a t-shirt reading, “Support Our AWOL Troops.”
“George Bush does not support our troops”, says Condon. “He has lied to them, and he is using them as cannon fodder in a war that never should have happened. The taxpayers are paying billions of dollars for this war, much of it going to U.S. corporations. But George Bush says we cannot afford a decent GI Bill.
“Is it any wonder that opposition to the war is growing among active duty GIs? These brave Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen have the power to bring an end to the illegal U.S. occupation of Iraq.”
Two hundred AWOL GI’s are estimated to be in Canada. Thousands more are thought to be in the U.S.
Iraq Veterans Against the War is establishing active duty chapters on bases throughout the U.S.
For more information, contact Gerry Condon, 206-499-1220
or the War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada, 416-598-1222.