TORONTO – "Kim Rivera's deportation is an international tragedy," says Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers (USW) National Director.
"This gives Canada a black eye on the international stage. Our country's once-proud tradition as a safe haven for conscientious objectors has been destroyed with Kim's deportation," says Neumann.
"Kim should have been able to count on her safety by coming to Canada. I, along with her Steelworker supporters, decry her deportation to the U.S. today," says Neumann.
"Immigration Minister Jason Kenney had the opportunity to show compassion and do the right thing, and he refused to act," says Neumann. "Two of Kim's children were born here, yet the process for deporting her failed to consider the wellbeing of her family."
Rivera presented herself at the Canada-U.S. border in Gananoque, Ont., today, complying with her deportation order issued by the Harper government. In the U.S., the mother of four children faces a prison sentence of two to five years.
The USW has supported U.S. Iraq War resisters since 2004 when the first war resister arrived in Canada. The Toronto Steelworkers Hall is offered for the War Resisters Support Campaign's public meetings.
During the Vietnam War, 100,000 war resisters came to Canada and more than half of them remain here today. Many of them served in the military, and like Kim, later developed moral objections to the war that they could not ignore. In the 1970s, conscientious objectors who had voluntarily joined the U.S. military were accepted as permanent residents here without distinction from those who were drafted.
Public opinion polling shows that a majority of Canadians want our government to continue that tradition today. A 2008 Angus Reid poll found that 64% of Canadians would let U.S. military deserters stay in Canada.
Ken Neumann, United Steelworkers National Director, 416-544-5951
Bob Gallagher, United Steelworkers, 416-434-2221, firstname.lastname@example.org