September 7th, 2012

Allow conscientious objectors to stay in Canada


– New Democrats are calling on the government to respect parliament’s commitment to allow conscientious objectors to the U.S. war in Iraq to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“U.S. war resisters in Canada have entered the country legally, after refusing to serve in the military for reasons of conscience. This is clearly a legitimate ground for protection,” said NDP Immigration critic Jinny Sims. “Parliament has adopted two motions in support of these people’s efforts to stay in Canada – a commitment which has been ignored by the Conservative government.”

Amnesty International has called on the Conservatives to rescind Operational Bulletin 202, which tells immigration officers that conscientious objectors may be considered deserters, guilty of crimes and inadmissible to Canada.

The NDP believes this bulletin runs contrary to Parliament’s motion to respect war resisters and should be rescinded.

Sims added that in the specific case of war resister Kimberly Rivera, a mother of four facing deportation, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has grounds to grant her application for permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

“Two of Ms Rivera’s children were born here in Canada, she has built a family here,” said Sims. “We are asking Minister Kenney to do the right thing, the compassionate thing and allow her to stay.”

A 2008 Angus Reid poll found that 64 % of Canadians believe the U.S. war deserters in Canada should be allowed to become permanent residents.