VICTORY! ROBIN LONG RELEASED, DEPORTATION STOPPED – FOR NOW.
War resister Robin Long, who was arrested on October 1, and who faced a deportation hearing on October 3, has been released. He will stay in Canada for now, subject to the possibility of deportation later.
Robin’s release came about in large part to the quick and massive mobilization of support that was mobilized by the War Resisters Support Campaign and its many friends and supporters in Canada and the United States. We thank all those who took part in this effort, from the individuals who phones or emailed the Nelson Police, to the people who rallied on short notice in Vancouver, Ottawa, and Toronto; to the politicians who joined with us in calling for Robin’s release. We thank in particular the active Campaigners in Nelson and Vancouver whose leadership was the key to this success. We thank the organizers of the events in Nelson, Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa. Most of all, we thank the war resisters for their courage in coming to Canada rather than fight in an illegal, immoral war.
Robin was arrested in Nelson, BC, on an immigration warrant issued when he failed to attend a meeting at Thunder Bay Immigration. He had not heard of the summons, because of miscommunication.
His release, on $5000 bail provided by Robert Ages, of the Campaign’s Vancouver Chapter, is conditional on keeping Immigration Canada informed of his address, and on completing a Pre-Removal Risk Assessment form.
Robin, who came to Canada in 2005 to seek sanctuary because of his opposition to the Iraq War, was in the US Army. He has been living mostly in Northern Ontario with his partner Renee, and their Candian born son.
Robin’s application for refugee status was denied earlier this year. His attempt to appeal the denial to the Federal Court was also rejected. He was thus subject to being removed from Canada because of his lack of status here. He remained here, though, to be with his partner and son, and because he has strong hopes that war resisters like him will in the end be allowed to settle here.
The arrest came as the result of a routine ID check by the Nelson, BC Police. This is the same police force that tried unsuccessfully to deport war resister Kyle Snyder earlier this year. This time, Robin was transferred within hours to the custody of Canada Immigration, and flown to Vancouver for a deportation hearing on October 3.
Had it not been for the quick response of the Nelson Chapter of the War Resisters Support Campaign, soon followed by the rest of the Campaign’s chapters in BC and elsewhere, Robin would be sitting now in a military prison in the US.
That response was quick and massive. The Nelson Police were swamped with calls and emails calling for Robin’s release. The Federal NDP and the Bloc Quebecois both issued strongly worded statements demanding his release, and calling on the Government to make a provision that would allow all US Iraq War resisters to settle in Canada. Emergency rallies were organized in Vancouver, Toronto, and Ottawa to demand his release. In Nelson, over 25 people gathered for a vigil outside the police station in support of Robin.
The cross Canada response, supplemented by action by supporters in the US, was decisive in ensuring that Robin was not quickly and quietly deported from Canada into the waiting arms of the US Army.
The War Resisters Support Campaign thanks all those friends and supporters who took part in the outpouring of support for Robin Long. We are grateful for the quick action of both the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois in issuing strongly worded statements demanding Robin’s release, and calling for a provision that would enable US Iraq War resisters to settle in Canada.
Canadians have shown how quickly and forcefully they react when their cherished values are threatened by authorities more concerned with pleasing the Bush Administration than upholding our tradition of welcoming those who refuse to fight in illegal, immoral wars like Vietnam and Iraq. We call on our Government to uphold those values and traditions, in accordance with the wishes of Canadians.
We call on the government to place a hold on any proceedings against US Iraq War resisters until the Supreme Court of Canada, now considering whether to hear an appeal by Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, has its say.
We call on our politicians, of all parties, to immediately create a provision, similar to other that have been made in the past, which will allow US Iraq War resisters to settle in this country.
We call on Canadians and Americans to contact the Prime Minister, the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, the Leaders of the Parties in the House of Commons, and their local MPs, to act immediately to make it possible for US Iraq War resisters to settle in Canada.
We call on all those who support our goals, as set out in our Declaration (www.resisters.ca) to take part in the work of the War Resisters Support Campaign, as volunteers, as donors, as supporters.
Thanks to all who helped in this successful effort. Please help us keep up the fight in the weeks and months ahead.
For the War Resisters Support Campaign
War Resisters Support Campaign