Saturday, August 20, 2005


September 24, 2005
Troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan
Let the War Resisters Stay in Canada

The Canadian Peace Alliance is calling on its member groups, individuals and supporters to mobilize for a pan-Canadian day of action against the wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and in support of US military war resisters on Saturday, September 24th, 2005. On that date, tens of thousands of people will participate in a huge anti-war demonstration in Washington, DC. We in Canada stand in solidarity with our American friends as we call on the Government of Canada to uphold international law by declaring the war of occupation in Iraq to be illegal under the charter of the United Nations. We are also calling for the removal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan as it is the largest contingent of support for the US led war of terror. It is more than two years since the invasion of Iraq and the violence there continues. Far from being in its last throes, the Iraqi resistance grows with each new round of violence coming from the occupying forces. With more than 100,000 Iraqis and 1,700 US soldiers dead, the international community will once again call for an end to this illegal and immoral war. Despite the virtual blackout on news involving the conduct of the US/UK forces in the country and the fa├žade of independence brought about by the elections in Iraq, more and more people all over the world and, crucially, in the US are opposing this war. In Canada, the federal government is moving in exactly the opposite direction. They have doubled the military budget and increased support for the US-led 'war on terror' by increasing troop levels in Afghanistan. As General Hillier's recent belligerent comments indicate, Canada provides increasingly open support for a broader campaign, led by the United States government, to assert control over the Middle East region. Also, Canadian corporations continue to profit from the war while people of Muslim and Arab backgrounds, such as the ‘Secret Trial Five’, face ongoing harassment, intimidation and racial profiling. In addition, the number of US war resisters coming to Canada is growing each month. They are refusing to participate in the illegal war on Iraq - just as the Government of Canada did. Yet the Canadian government has intervened to prevent these war resisters from raising the issue of the illegality of the war in their refugee claims. The Immigration and Refugee Board has already denied refuge to Jeremy Hinzman, a decision which is being appealed to the federal court. We need to challenge the Canadian government's hypocrisy and demand that today's war resisters, like those who came before them during the Vietnam War, be given refuge in this country. This is a crucial campaign for the peace movement. If we can open the border to US war resisters, we can very concretely undermine George Bush’s ability to wage wars of aggression. In the wake of the London bombings, this task becomes ever more crucial. As with September 11, 2001, the response from Western governments is to cynically exploit these tragic acts in an attempt to legitimize militarism, occupation and aggression. But the London bombings show that the so-called ‘war on terror’ makes our world a less safe place as this cycle of violence escalates. We will only have true security if our governments stop this cycle of violence.

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