TORONTO - May 26 - PRESS CONFERENCE, Thursday, May 27, 2004 10:00 a.m.
Trinity-St. Paul's Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
A growing number of Canadians are raising their voices to demand that the federal government make provision for US war resisters to have sanctuary in this country. These include David Suzuki, Naomi Klein and Anton Kuerti.
"From the time of the United Empire Loyalists who fled to Canada in the eighteenth century, to the draft resisters of the Vietnam era who came here more than thirty years ago, Canada has been providing refuge for Americans," says author June Callwood. "We have a moral obligation to continue to do so." There are currently at least two US soldiers, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who have come to Canada in objection to the US government's war on Iraq. Both are seeking refugee status.
"Regardless of the technical decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board, we believe Canada should not punish US war objectors for exercising their conscience and refusing to fight," says Bill King, a Vietnam-era war resister and musician living in Toronto. In the event that they are returned to the United States, US war objectors face incarceration and possibly even the death penalty. Canada must not facilitate the persecution of American war objectors by returning them to the United States.
Speakers at the press conference will include actor Shirley Douglas; Wayne Samuelson, President of the Ontario Federation of Labour; musician Bill King and representatives of different faith communities. The press conferencewill launch the newly-formed War Resisters Support Campaign.