'Let them stay' peace rally planned

Part of a Canada-wide week of action in support of war resisters

January 17, 2011 | Web First
Staff reports | Peace Alliance Winnipeg

Peace Alliance Winnipeg is staging a peaceful rally Wednesday, Jan. 19 at 1:30 p.m. called “Let Them Stay” outside Public Safety Minister Vic Toews’ office in Steinbach.  The organization is inviting local residents to “help an important humanitarian and social justice cause to help restore Canada’s tarnished international image.”

Peace Alliance, billing itself “a strong broad-based coordinated voice for peace,” aims to facilitate the development of an organized movement that has its own profile on issues of national and international peace and human security and Canada’s role in the world.  Its goal, at this rally, is to urge the government of Canada to welcome U.S. war resisters as courageous heroes and tostop violating international law by deporting them to endure lengthy jail sentences for making the right moral decision.

They urge local persons interested in their cause to “come out to support Joshua Key, a veteran of the illegal Iraq war who is at a critical stage in his refugee claim process. (In violation of international law and against all logic, the latest refugee tribunal decision by Ken Atkinson, a former M.P. in Brian Mulroney’s Conservative government, has rejected Joshua’s claim.)”

The program, part of a Canada-wide week of action in support of war resisters, will end by 2:30 pm. The group will sing a few anti-war songs (music provided), hear from supportive groups and hold up a banner.  Steinbach is 30 minutes by car from Winnipeg’s perimeter. If rally attenders can stay an extra hour or two, the group will be distributing leaflets door to door after the rally.

Public Safety minister Vic Toews, born to a Mennonite family in Paraguay, is the Conservative government’s senior representative in Manitoba.  Known for his zeal, as Prime Minister Harper’s first justice minister, to stack the federal bench with Conservative appointees, Toews has, in the description of Marci McDonald in her recent book “The Armageddon Factor” appointed half of the 200 new superior court judges with Conservative connections.”

In his role as justice minister he has taken a hard line on the recent Tamil refugees coming into Canada in the Vancouver port, calling them “terrorists” and subjecting them to strident legal procedures, including deportment, before acceptance into the country. 

Canadian war resisters lost a pivotal battle in parliament on Sept. 29, 2010 when Bill C-440 was defeated on its second reading by a vote of 143 to 136, impacting the roughly 200 war resisters living here

Peace Alliance will deliver a letter to Toews with questions about the deportations and to request a later meeting.

Transportation: Please call if you have room in a car or need a ride – (204) 792-3371!

Information: Keep Resisters in Canada Campaign – (204) 792-3371 or keepresisters@mts.net

--Jan. 17, 2011

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