Stop The Deportations - event preview

Thursday, September 11, 2008


Written by Scott Gilbert

The Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) and the Guelph Peace Alliance are partnering for a unique event being held on campus this Saturday, September 13th beginning at 2:30pm in Thornborough 1307.

The event will be held in solidarity with the War Resisters Support Campaign - a broad coalition of groups including community, faith, labour and others that seek to support the various U.S. soldiers seeking asylum in Canada.

Not only will an excellent documentary film on the subject be shown (see trailer below), but the organizers have arranged for one of the actual war resisters to attend the event in-person to speak and answer questions. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the plight of these soldiers, hear their perspectives on the war, understand the struggles they are facing here in Canada, and engage in dialogue with them about this issue.

The film featured at this event is currently being distributed by the National Film Board of Canada and through the website of the filmmakers. Please view the main film website here and watch the trailer here

The date of this event coincides with a pan-Canadian Day of Action to support U.S. Iraq war resisters in Canada and is being coordinated by the War Resisters Support Campaign.

On June 3rd, 2008, the Canadian Parliament passed a motion stating that US war resisters should be permitted to stay in Canada. Despite this, and the fact that Canada itself refused to participate in the Iraq War, our government has now begun to deport Canadian-based US war resisters.

The first case occurred earlier this year when Canada deported Robin Long, the first US war resister to be deported from Canada since the war broke out. Federal Justice Anne McTavish ruled he had not proven that he faced "irreparable harm" by returning to the US. On August 22nd she was proven wrong when Mr. Long was not only served a dishonourable discharge from the military but was then sentenced to 15 months at a military penitentiary. He is now considered a convicted felon which will haunt him for the rest of his life and prevent him from even voting in US presidential elections.

"The deportation of Robin Long is a gift from Harper to the Bush administration" said Gerry Condon, a Vietnam War resister.

But Mr. Long is not the only one. Right now another war resister living in Canada - Jeremy Hinzman - is scheduled to be deported later this month. You can see his YouTube video appeal to Prime Minister Harper below.

It is estimated that several hundred war resisters are currently living underground in Canada. Only a small number of them are willing to speak publicly for fear of reprisal.

The guest speaker at this event will be Steve Yoczik, an Iraq War resister currently residing in Toronto. He was an Army Private training in communications at Fort Gordon, Georgia. In November 2006 he went AWOL and moved to Canada as a last attempt to shake off the burden of US military rule.

His decision to leave was multifaceted, but was primarily because he discovered the job he was recruited for no longer existed and he was in fact destined for general infantry deployment in Iraq. He tried a series of attempts to get himself kicked out, including purposely failing up to 100 physical tests as well as other measures in an attempt to leave without going AWOL. When these moves were unsuccessful, he fled to Canada.

His personal story is deeper than this, and his insight into the plight of other war resisters in Canada is unique. To hear all he has to say and to have the opportunity to ask him questions, you can attend the event this Saturday on campus. Here is the basic event info:

Saturday, September 13, 2008
Time: 2:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: University of Guelph
Room: Thornborough 1307
Contact Info: 5198242190,

Watch Naomi Klein's Call Out for September 13:

Watch Maude Barlow's Call Out for September 13

Watch Jeremy Hinzman's Appeal to Stephen Harper:

Did you attend this event? Want to write a review or post a comment? We value your input at thecannon.ca and want to hear your feedback on the events we highlight. If you have an event you want featured, email us at or submit an event listing from our front page by going to "What's On" and clicking the "submissions" sub-menu.

NOTE ON POSTING COMMENTS! - You MUST use an "@uoguelph.ca" email address or your posting will not show up. You can keep your email private by not selecting the "show email" box, and you can use an alias name, but your email address MUST be valid. Having other problems posting? Email me at while we troubleshoot.

| More


Back to Top

No comments

Share your thoughts

Bookstore First Year