The National Union asks Immigration Minister to allow Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
Ottawa (12 Sept. 2012) - The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) has added its voice to the growing number of individuals and organizations calling for Jason Kenney, federal Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, to stop the deportation proceedings against Iraq war resister Kimberly Rivera.
In a letter (full text below) to Kenney, National President James Clancy notes that "Canada has a proud history of providing refuge to conscientious objectors to war. Our country has been a refuge for many whose religious or political beliefs could not allow them to participate in war."
Clancy goes on to urge Kenney to "show compassion, and to respect the wishes of the majority of Canadians who want Canada to allow Iraq war resisters to stay."
The Honourable Jason Kenney, P.C., M.P.
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
Dear Minister Kenney,
I am writing on behalf of the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) to add our voice in support of Kimberly Rivera, the former United States soldier who has been living in Canada since 2007.
I was dismayed to learn that Ms. Rivera's application to remain in Canada has been denied and that she is to leave Canada by September 20. I urge you to allow Ms. Rivera, her husband, and their four children (two of whom were born in Canada) to remain in Canada.
Canada has a proud history of providing refuge to conscientious objectors to war. Our country has been a refuge for many whose religious or political beliefs could not allow them to participate in war. These conscientious objectors include the Doukhobors, Mennonites and the more than 50,000 Americans who came to Canada during the Vietnam War. Many of these people went on to make invaluable contributions to Canadian political and social life.
Similarly to Ms. Rivera, many Vietnam-era war resisters originally had volunteered for the military. However, they came to understand the reality of what was an unjust war and decided that they could not in good conscience continue to participate. Canada accepted them then as it should accept Ms. Rivera now.
Ms. Rivera faces court martial, a felony conviction and military prison in the United States. In my opinion, a mother of four should not face prison for her refusal to participate in an immoral war. It would further add an injustice to an unjust war.
I urge you to show compassion, and to respect the wishes of the majority of Canadians who want Canada to allow Iraq War resisters to stay. Please allow Ms. Rivera and her family to remain in Canada by granting their application to stay on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.
The National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE) is one of Canada's largest labour organizations with over 340,000 members. Our mission is to improve the lives of working families and to build a stronger Canada by ensuring our common wealth is used for the common good. NUPGE