Mr. Speaker, I move that the second report of the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, presented on Wednesday, February 25, be concurred in.
She said: Mr. Speaker, I was in my riding last night and there was an emergency meeting where supporters of a war resistors movement gathered in solidarity for Kimberly Rivera. These important meetings happen regularly, but last night's emergency meeting was particularly important because Kimberly, a 26-year-old mother of three and a former soldier in the United States army, was scheduled to be deported back to the United States this morning where she faces harsh punishment.
Kimberly is a veteran of the Iraq invasion. She escaped to Canada after witnessing the horrors there as a soldier. Her time spent in Iraq sobered her to the realities of life for the people of Iraq and the immorality of the whole operation. Life for her and her family here has been very difficult because her status has been in constant limbo. She is basically living out of a box. Recently, she received a deportation order and faces the prospect of being separated from her four-month-old baby and the rest of her family, including her husband, Mario, and two other children.
She faces being thrown into a military prison in the United States simply for conscientiously objecting to an illegal and immoral invasion of a sovereign country. As I mentioned before, her deportation was scheduled for this morning but at the 11th hour yesterday she received an emergency stay as the federal court re-evaluates her condition for deportation. The small victory was bittersweet as the stay only allows her to stay for a few weeks. The deportation could be reordered, at which point she will face the trauma of being separated from her family and being thrown in prison.
This kind of insecurity takes its toll on an individual and even more on a family that is simply trying to live a very peaceful life in Canada. However, even taking into account the stress and insecurity, Kimberly, for the time being, is one of the luckier ones.
Similar to Kimberly, there are many war resistors who sought refuge in Canada. Canada is known for its history of welcoming those who seek a peaceful life. Some are still fighting to stay but one has been deported by the Conservative government even though the majority of Parliament expressed its real view that war resistors stay on June 3 of last year by adopting the motion that I am reintroducing today.
Last June, the Conservative government refused the will of Parliament but it cannot continue to ignore the lives being destroyed by deporting those like Kimberly to face harsh prosecution due to their peaceful convictions.
Robin Long was not as lucky as Kimberly. He was deported last year, a month after Parliament approved a motion to not deport war resisters. He is now sitting in prison because he refused to fight in an illegal war. Last weekend I had the experience of visiting Robin in the military prison. Robin has a one-year-old son who is in Canada and e desperately misses his son.
I thought I would read into the record of the House some of the notes that he has made and explain why he decided to come into this country. Before I read his notes, I want to say that there are other war resisters in Canada, including Chuck, who has been in Canada for a few years. He was in the army for 18 years, fought in many wars and was a decorated soldier. However, when he went to Iraq, he said that he could not continue to fight there.
As I mentioned earlier, Kimberly was in Iraq but she saw how homes were being destroyed and, as a good Christian, she said that she could not do to her neighbours what she would not do to herself. She said she would not want to see her family's home being destroyed, and that morally she could not continue to fight in Iraq. She also saw children and families separated and their lives being put in harm's way. She would not want to do that to her children. She faced a moral dilemma. At the end of it, because she had a two-month break, she said she decided to keep driving north, and she came to Canada.