Monday, June 30, 2008

Coverage of Indigenous Solidarity Day in Sudbury

As I reported in advance, Sudbury Against War and Occupation organized an event called "Indigenous Struggles Solidarity Day" this past Saturday. Heavy rain meant that attendance was not as great as we'd hoped (though it was better than the article below indicates) but those of us who attended learned a great deal and were able to have some very important discussions that will build towards a larger event in the fall.

See below for the coverage of the event by The Sudbury Star, our local corporate daily paper. As always with coverage by the dominant media there are plenty of political criticisms one could make, but it does introduce some important ideas into a local mainstream space.

Apologies aren't enough: Group calls for justice, land claim settlements
By Angela Scappatura, The Sudbury Star

Indigenous and non-indigenous people gathered at Victoria Park to assert their support for the struggles of aboriginals in Canada on Saturday.

Heavy rain did not prevent more than a dozen people from attending the day-long event, which included a drumming workshop, personal stories and musical performances.

The event was organized by Sudbury Against War and Occupation and was designed to raise awareness of aboriginal issues.

Gary Kinsman is a member of Sudbury Against War and Occupation and said the inaugural event displays solidarity between both indigenous and non-indigenous people.

"I think it's important because what we're showing is that the government's apology around residential schools was not enough," he said while standing beneath a tarp protecting a barbeque and food from the rain.

"The government policies around indigenous people are, in general, pretty bad."

Many of the day's events highlighted the group's concern surrounding First Nations land claims. Kinsman, who is not an aboriginal, said there needs to be justice for the community.

"There has been attempts to criminalize, to throw in jail the various leaders of indigenous struggles," he said. "We're here to say that's not going to be tolerated, that people in Sudbury are going to join together and oppose those policies until there is justice for First Nations people."

The smell of burning tobacco wafted through the small room as traditional aboriginal drumming group, Sha Daa Kim opened the day's workshops.

Aboriginal elder Barb Riley addressed the gathering and said it is time for the Canadian government to settle land claims.

She said the day of solidarity signifies that settlers (Caucasians) are learning the value of land.

"I hold a mortgage to my residence here in Sudbury. If I didn't pay that mortgage, the bank would come after me and foreclose," she said. "I think that is what the First Nations should start doing. Foreclosing on the land. Not take the land back, but make them pay through royalties."

Riley said the government needs to reassess its "paternalistic" attitude toward First Nations.

"We are smart people, we don't need people making decisions for us," she said. "Maybe we did at one time when they put the residential schools in place, but many of our people now have law degrees and PhD's to run their own businesses and affairs."

Riley was a student at a residential school and said the recent apology made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is meaningless if they don't settle land claims.

"It's just words," she said. In soft, even tones, she described what she believes is a genocide being committed against First Nations people. She said the residential schools was part of it. Now, she said, the removal of children from aboriginal homes and placement with the Children's Aid Society is another version of it.

"It isn't helping our children," she said.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Mainstream Canadian Christians Naming and Opposing Empire?

Working on the current chapter of my book is prompting me to go all sorts of places that I normally wouldn't. I admit there are times this feels like a bit of a burden, but then I find some truly fascinating things. Like check out the report "Living Faithfully in the Midst of Empire" from the United Church of Canada -- a page linking to the report itself and various appendices is here, and the PDF of the core of the report can be downloaded directly here.

Now, I could go through that document and find ways that I don't think it goes far enough or that I think differently or places where it uses questionable language or whatever -- that's what we wordy types on the left do to each other, right? I could also probably present a case for skepticism based on an analysis of the institution that produced it. In doing so, I would not necessarily be saying much of anything that is terribly specific to the United Church of Canada, just moving forward from a recognition that mainstream churches of any size cannot help but be tightly integrated into relations of ruling.

But even with those caveats, I still find this to be a pretty remarkable document. This report was produced at the request of the highest decision-making body of the largest Protestant denomination in Canada. It has been accepted by that body and is currently the focus of a process of reflection within the church, with another report to follow some time next year. It explicitly names neoliberalism as a central problem of our times and explicitly frames the discussion in the language of empire. It calls for examining our complicity as individuals and the complicity of the church as a whole in empire, and for working to end that complicity and to transform the world. It makes heavy use of the insights and stories both of oppressed people within Canada and partners of the United Church in countries of the so-called Third World to support its call for Canadian Christians to reflect on and work against empire.

Obviously the ultimate meaning of this sort of document comes not from the words it contains but from the ability of people within the United Church to use it as a focus for popular education. And that, I'm sure, is an uphill battle, just because that sort of thing is an uphill battle in any mainstream setting in a privileged country like Canada. Will there be chatter in the pews of United Churches in Sudbury about Canada's complicity in empire at home and abroad? I'm not so sure. But I do wish luck to those who are taking on the task of using this document to engage in practices of transformative pedagogy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Indigenous Struggles Solidarity Day in Sudbury

Check out the media release that went out yesterday regarding a public education event on Saturday being held in support of indigenous struggles:


SUDBURY, ONTARIO, June 28, 2008 – The Government of Canada recently offered an apology to the indigenous survivors of the residential school system. But, according to some Sudbury residents, an apology is about more than words. "Really being sorry is about supporting indigenous peoples as they struggle against racism and for the land," said Alexis Shotwell, professor of Philosophy at Laurentian University. "And being supportive means educating ourselves."

To learn about current indigenous struggles, Sudbury Against War and Occupation (SAWO) is inviting all residents of Sudbury to a free public education event called Indigenous Struggles Solidarity Day on Saturday, June 28th, from 11 am to 5 pm at Myths and Mirrors community artspace in Victory Park, located off of Frood Road, north of Kathleen Street. The event will feature food, speakers, workshops, videos, drumming, and other music.

SAWO regards the Government's apology as an important step won through decades of struggle by indigenous people, but still just a single step on the long road to dignity and justice for indigenous peoples. "The powerful institutions that benefit the most from stolen land will only make genuine efforts to forge a new relationship with the original peoples of this land if they are pressured to do so, and it is the responsibility of settlers to join with indigenous people in applying that pressure," said SAWO member Clarissa Lassaline. "To do that well, we all must learn about struggles going on in the region and across the country."

Highlights of the June 28th event include:

  • Sudbury resident John Moore, of the Serpent River First Nation, will speak about his decades-long quest for justice from a racist criminal justice system, after a wrongful conviction for murder.

  • Local First Nations educator Ed Sackaney will use the Story Telling and Teaching Blanket to teach about indigenous struggles for the land.

  • Eric Landry, a local native performer, will offer a youth-oriented workshop on Native Music and will also perform some of his music.

  • Sadakii Drum from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation) will open and close the day.

  • A video will be shown of Andrea Smith, Cherokee feminist and acclaimed author, discussing the colonization of North America and sexual violence.

  • There will be other workshops, videos, and opportunities for discussion and participation.

This day of education and solidarity occurs in the context of recent attempts to criminalize indigenous struggles and indigenous activists at Six Nations, Tyendinaga, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug (or KI) First Nation, and Ardoch Algonquin Nation and in the context of the Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation) claim on mineral resources wealth in the Sudbury area.

Sudbury Against War and Occupation is a group of Sudbury residents, both indigenous and non-indigenous, concerned with all forms and consequences of war and occupation. While this includes working against Canadian involvement in war and occupation abroad, SAWO sees it as central to recognize that Canada itself exists as an occupation of indigenous land and that struggles by indigenous peoples against that occupation must be supported.

For more information about SAWO or the June 28th event, please call XXX-YYYY.

See also this advance coverage in Northern Life, a local paper, based largely on the media release:

Indigenous solidarity event to take place in Sudbury

Residents of Greater Sudbury are invited to participate in an Indigenous Struggles Solidarity Day June 28.

The event, organized by Sudbury Against War and Occupation, will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Myths and Mirrors community art space in Victory Park, located off Frood Road, north of Kathleen Street.

The group says the federal government's recent apology for the suffering caused by the residential school system is an important step, but many things still need to happen before indigenous peoples receive dignity and justice.

"Really being sorry is about supporting indigenous peoples as they struggle against racism and for the land," said Alexis Shotwell, professor of philosophy at Laurentian University.

Highlights of the June 28th event include:

Sudbury resident John Moore, of the Serpent River First Nation, will speak about his decades-long quest for justice from a racist criminal justice system, after a wrongful conviction for murder.

Local First Nations educator Ed Sackaney will use the Story Telling and Teaching Blanket to teach about indigenous struggles for the land.

Eric Landry, a local Native performer, will offer a youth-oriented workshop on Native Music and will also perform some of his music.

Sadakii Drum from Atikameksheng Anishnawbek (Whitefish Lake First Nation) will open and close the day.

A video will be shown of Andrea Smith, Cherokee feminist and acclaimed author, discussing the colonization of North America and sexual violence.

There will be other workshops, videos and opportunities for discussion and participation.

If you are in the area, please come on out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Review: Lydia's Impatient Sisters

[Luise Schottroff. Lydia's Impatient Sisters: A Feminist Social History of Early Christianity. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995.]

Yes, another work of feminist theology, reviewed from my non-Christian but politically sympathetic place as part of my social movement history work. This volume was of particular interest to me partly because I need to learn enough to be able to write a few paragraphs relating feminism in the context of 20th century Canadian Christianity to earlier Christian history, and partly because this book was translated from German by a colleague and political ally of the person whose words are the basis for my current chapter.

The book was not as useful to me as I'd hoped. Its feminist social history is done in the service of scriptural interpretation, which I knew in advance but did not completely understand. I found the unexpectedly tight integration of these two elements in the book to be politically admirable but practically challenging for my own purposes -- I would've found it more useful to have the history segregated out on its own. I also found the organization of the book to be difficult for me to understand. And it was hard to read in a lot of ways: it assumed knowledge of scripture that I don't have and it assumed knowledge of theological debates that I don't have. Because it came from the German context, the debates were not necessarily even the same ones that I have become at least a little familiar with in the last while due to my reading in this area.

And yet there was something very powerful about this book as well. Though it was not presented in a way that was pre-packaged and ready for my particular application, I found a lot of insight in her social history of the beginnings of Christianity. It gave me a sense of the social processes involved in those years in a way I've never encountered before.

And there is lots about the book that I find politically admirable. Her consistent effort to counter the tendencies towards theological anti-semitism (she describes it as "anti-Judaism") in much Christian theology, even today and even in some feminist circles, was impressive. Most Christian theologians talk about early Christianity as a break from Judaism, and then often in some way or other construct Christian virtues in contrast with supposed Jewish vices. She, on the other hand, argues that it makes much more sense to regard early Christianity not as arising in opposition to Judaism but as a religious and political movement within Judaism, with origins and practices similar to a number of contemporary movements and flowing from particular aspects of (the inevitably contradictory and complex) Jewish tradition.

I also appreciate the tight linkage Schottroff makes in her politics and her theology between feminist theology and liberation theology. Many people in both of those traditions do not particularly look to the other, or do so in ways that end up being largely nominal, and it has been strange and offputting to encounter that distance as I have done my recent reading. The commitment she has to integrating these has to do with her analysis of the roots of Christianity as a religious and political movement of the oppressed -- there were rich Christians even in the earliest years, but at that point the power within the communities/movements that comprised Christianity lay with the vast majority of people who were struggling against poverty and struggling against Roman imperialism. Many, of course, were also struggling to navigate gender oppression. And there are important ways in which the earliest Christian communities engaged in practices that were radically counter to these oppressions -- practices that are also radically counter to later dominant Christian practices and assumptions. She does not romanticize this origin, however. She recognizes that though there were important ways that the earliest Christian communities functioned counter to the very overt, legislated patriarchy of the ancient Mediterranean world, they were still sites of internal struggle around gender oppression. She does not pose them as sites of past perfection to be reclaimed, but as examples of possibility to inspire future struggle.

The thing I liked most about the book, despite the fact that I didn't find it totally accessible, was that it had fire. There was a powerful passion for justice motivating the author and pervading the text. That fire has not been nearly as common as I had expected in the works I've been reading recently, which has disappointed me. Even though it is not a tradition with which I can easily or completely identify, in the cases where I have felt that fire in the theology I've been reading, it has been inspiring.

Reflecting on that has made me wonder more about the state of the Christian left in North America today. I know it exists. I know there are rumblings within the evangelical spaces that have in recent decades been a base for the right. These aren't yet coherent and they aren't likely to go everywhere that we on the left might like, but my sense is that they are real and important expressions of discontent with some aspects of an oppressive status quo. I also know there are hidden corners within mainstream denominations that are leftist and activist, including in Canada's two largest Christian denominations, the United Church and the Catholic Church. And there are the smaller denominations with long histories of activism, like the Unitarians and the Quakers. And there are the even smaller groupings with quite radical practice, like the Catholic Workers. All of these clusters of activity exist, and I know that there exists out there some amazing work by feminists, liberation theologists, and others that go far beyond the mainstream of liberal denominations like the United Church in challenging believers to become a force for justice and liberation. But I don't have a sense of those social conglomerations in motion. What are they doing? What are they achieving? Whither do they move? How are that fire and the insights of texts like this one being mobilized to challenge right-wing and liberal Christians in radically prophetic ways?

I think I know the answer, unfortunately. I think the Christian left in North America is as fragmented and disorganized as the secular left. But my encounters with texts like this one that really do have that fire give me hope that feminist and liberation theologies can still play an important role in energizing struggles for justice and liberation in North America.

[For a list of all book reviews on this site, click here.]

Monday, June 23, 2008

Homeless Women in Peril

There is something about the Toronto Star-liberal approach to writing stories about poverty that I don't like -- a sort of revelling in the stories of people living in poverty that is voyeuristic, that is about giving people whose lives are comfortable a chance to go "Oh! How awful!" with absolutely no danger of having to confront that fact that our comfort is directly built on that suffering (dramatized at a safely impersonal distance by the journalist) which therefore makes us complicit in producing that suffering. However, it is better than ignoring the issue completely, and this article, which is about a recent survey conducted in Toronto, raises some important issues about women's experiences of homelessness and poverty.

Highlites include:

  • Homeless women are 10 times as likely to be sexually assaulted as homeless men.
  • Homeless women are twice as likely to have a 'mental illness' as homeless men.
  • 84% of homeless women have at least one serious physical health condition.
  • Of the homeless women surveyed, "42 per cent didn't have a drug benefit card, 60 per cent weren't able to get prescription drugs to treat medical conditions and 56 per cent didn't have a family doctor."

It says nothing about root causes, and in fact I think this kind of article has the potential to be actively misleading about root causes in how it draws attention to issue that can be understood as about "health" rather than poverty and suffering produced by government decisions and the entirely predictable normal functioning of the economy. As well, I'm of the opinion that the stats they give for experiences of violence -- 37% experienced physical assault in the last year, and 21% experienced sexual assault in that time period -- are seriously undercounting the situation. But it is still worth taking a look.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Quote: Everyday Resistance

Women's resistance is resistance in everyday life and may remind men that men's resistance also belongs there. 'We want to break the spell of powerlessness and oppression and act responsibly toward ourselves and others by beginning to assume, where feasible, full responsibility and power.' Today that means defying the gender roles that collaborate to support the violent structures of our world. Resisting in everyday life also means taking the seemingly unimportant small steps toward liberation: recognizing violence in language and learning and teaching different speech, avoiding pointless consumption and reducing garbage, boycotting goods and manufacturers connected with arms production. In the Christian tradition, this lifelong resistance in everyday life is called 'conversion.'

-- Louise Schottroff (who in turn also quotes Christine Schaumberger)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Mohawk Grandmothers Attacked by Canadian Border Services Agency Guards

As reported by members of No-One Is Illegal-Montreal in this post:

This past Saturday, June 14, 2008, around 2:30pm, a vehicle with two outspoken Kanion’ke:haka (Mohawk) activists, writers and grandmothers was stopped at Akwesasne while crossing into "Canada" from the "USA". Akwesasne is a Kanion’ke:haka Indigenous community that includes parts of so-called Ontario, Quebec and New York, and community members routinely cross between "states" and "provinces”.

Katenies lives in Akwesasne, with her mother and near her daughter and three grandchildren, who reside on both sides of the "border". Kahentinehta, also a grandmother, is from Kahnawake. Katenies and Kahentinehta publish Mohawk Nation News and were delegates to the Indigenous Peoples Border Summit in San Xavier, Tohono O'odham Nation (Arizona) in November 2007.

Katenies was targeted for arrest by Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) guards on an outstanding warrant for allegedly "running the border" in 2003, and offenses resulting from her refusal to appear in court and validate the colonial justice system. Katenies has maintained since 2003 that border officials and the Canadian colonial courts have no jurisdiction over Kanion’ke:haka people or land.

[Background information to Katenies' struggle against border and court officials is linked HERE.]

This past Saturday, Katenies reiterated that she does not recognize the authority of the CBSA over Kanion’ke:haka land, as she has always done. She was then brutally arrested, with at least four male guards forcing her face down onto the ground, handcuffing her, and taking her into custody, where she remained for three days.

CBSA guards then demanded that Kahentinehta, 68, leave the car she was driving. She refused, and she too was brutally overpowered by at least four male CBSA guards and handcuffed tightly. Kahentinehta suffered a heart attack while handcuffed. However, due to the timely intervention of her brother – a local lawyer who was crossing the border at that time -- she was eventually taken to the local hospital in Cornwall, Ontario by ambulance, where she has spent the last three days in the Critical Care Unit. Her condition is stable and she will be transferred to a hospital in Ottawa for further treatment and possible surgery.

The CBSA had originally indicated that they would charge Kahentinehta with various offenses, but those charges were never brought forward, most likely to help cover-up the brutal way in which she and Katenies were arrested in the first place.

Meanwhile, Katenies was jailed after her brutal arrest, and was only able to have a bail hearing, at the Superior Court in Cornwall this past Monday (June 16, 2008).

Supporters from Six Nations, Sharbot Lake as well as Akwesasne attended court to be witnesses to Katenies' continued defiance of Canada's colonial courts. Several of the elders from the Akwesasne community referenced the bridge blockades undertaken in the 1960s and 70s to assert free movement of Indigenous peoples at the border. They consider Katenies' current stance as part of the same ongoing and long-term struggle for sovereignty.

At the hearing, the federal Crown lawyer objected to Katenies' release on bail. A senior investigator with the CBSA who seems to have launched a vendetta against Katenies since 2003, testified for the Crown. He outlined the various warrants and court dates in the case, and Katenies' continual and consistent refusal to recognize the authority of the colonial court system, or the jurisdiction of the CBSA over the border.

In the words of the CBSA investigator, Katenies "has nothing but contempt for the Canadian judicial system." The investigator, who has lived and worked at the Cornwall border crossing for two decades, was forced to admit that it's "not uncommon" for Mohawks to cite the lack of jurisdiction directly to border officials, although he called Katenies "an extreme case."

Both Katenies and her mother, Nancy Davis, addressed the court. Nancy Davis refused to tell the court whether she lived in the "Ontario" or "Quebec" part of Akwesasne, stating clearly that she "lives on Kanion'ke:haka territory" and is a citizen of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. She remarked with a smile: "I'm the only one who has authority over my daughter."

Under cross-examination by the Crown lawyer, Nancy Davis stated: "We feel we have the right to travel where we want, to go where we want. [The border] is an imaginary line for Americans and Canadians, not Mohawks."

Asked outright if she recognized the authority of the court, Nancy Davis replied simply: "No."

Katenies also addressed the court, while reiterating from the start that she did not recognize its jurisdiction, and pointedly refused to accept all charges, declining to have them read to her. When the court clerk tried to swear her in, Katenies stated: "I can only tell what I know."

Katenies emphasized that she continues to demand that the courts address the jurisdiction question; that is, under what authority can colonial Canadian courts, agencies or officials claim to have jurisdiction over sovereign Mohawks. She stated forcefully: "I'm a passionate person, I'm a mother and I'm a grandmother. But, I've had no respect. No one has looked at what I've put forward."

Katenies already served the court with a Motion to Dismiss, and invoked the jurisdiction question, back on January 18, 2007, almost one-and-a-half years ago. Her complete motion is linked HERE.

Under cross-examination, Katenies was asked by the Crown lawyer if she would accept paying a cash bond; she replied: "That would be extortion at this point because jurisdiction has not been dealt with." She added: "I don't see why you should incarcerate me and beat me into submission without answering my question."

She threw the accusation of contempt back at the Crown, stating: “It is [your law] and your constitution that you keep talking about. Why do you continue to ignore me and our people, who have our own land and constitution?”

In his final submissions, the Crown argued that Katenies "has nothing but complete disdain for the laws of these courts." He also made the somewhat obvious point: "Quite frankly, your worship, both mother and daughter don't recognize our jurisdiction."

He asked the court to keep Katenies in custody, adding: "She's not interested in appearing in court and she doesn't recognize us."

Nonetheless, the presiding Justice-of-the-Peace, Ms. Leblanc, decided to release Katenies under some basic conditions: that Katenies reside with her mother and notify the Akwesasne police of any change of address (Katenies has lived with her mother for the past 8 years, since the passing of her father): that her mother post a surety (ie. a $1000 bond without any deposit); and that Katenies appear in court or designate counsel to appear in court for her. Her next court date was set for July 14, 2008 at 9am at Cornwall's Superior Court.

Both Kahentinehta and Katenies, despite the brutal attack on them by CBSA officials, maintain their defiance and vow to continue to challenge the jurisdiction of the courts and border officials.

-- reported by Nazila & Jaggi, members of No One Is Illegal-Montreal
info: or 514-848-7583

For more articles and interviews providing background and context, click HERE.

Review: Linking Sexuality & Gender

[Tracy J. Trothen. Linking Sexuality & Gender: Naming Violence against Women in The United Church of Canada. Waterloo, ON: Wilfred Laurier University Press, 2003.]

This is the most directly useful book I have yet read in my current pursuit of material related to feminist theology (engaged from my own particular non-Christian place) in the service my social movement history book project's current chapter, which focuses on an interview with a woman who was central to bringing feminism to the United Church of Canada.

Linking Sexuality & Gender intends to begin the process of unearthing the history of the United Church of Canada's treatment of the two issues named. In particular, this volume is interested in understanding the dynamics of these two with reference to how they shaped the Church's ability to respond prophetically to violence against women. The hope is, I think, that this understanding will help the Church, and feminists and their allies within it, to be a more effective voice for justice in the future.

The book uses two main primary sources in trying to realize this project. The first is the records of the highest decision-making body of the United Church since its founding in 1925. Trothen is quite explicit about the limitations of this as a primary historical source, since it is a record of the deliberations of those with power within the institution, and she strongly recommends pursuing a history-from-below of the Church as a next step. The second main source was the archival and publication records of three Church initiatives from the late 1970s and early 1980s, two of which focused on issues of sexuality and one of which was commissioned to look at issues of gender oppression.

As I said, this book is tremendously useful to me as a research tool. My interview participant was centrally involved in the anti-sexist intiative that was used as a case study and the history of that initiative presented by Trothen will be an important source, as well as some of her more general history of gender in the context of the United Church. As well, the picture of the political environment of the Church in that era will be quite useful. I think I will still need to consult some primary documents, but fewer than I had feared. I also think this book will be a useful tool in ongoing efforts by some of its clergy and members to transform the United Church of Canada into a more effective model of and social goad for justice. Regardless of the various supportively critical political observations I am about to make, it says things that are vitally important and that need to be heard.

I found this book to be a relatively difficult one for me to read, considering that it is quite short and written in a relatively accessible (though conventionally academic) way. But then, I always find it more work to read a text which is simultaneously one that has things to tell me -- things that I know on a certain level but still on another level rebel against and deny and actively forget and need to be told again and again -- while also being one that I have political critiques of that are, I think, important and valid.

One way to generalize some of my political concerns with the book is to say that they are not so much about where the book goes as about where it doesn't go -- its inquiry goes here and not there, in this way and not that, in ways that are sufficiently unmarked so as to appear natural. Part of this, undoubtedly, is because it is firmly within a particular feminist lineage. I can only guess, but I think these particular boundaries have been shaped by factors such as institutional location and orientation towards interfeminist dialogues about sexuality and about difference.

One product of this, for instance, is evident in the book's critiques of the two reports focused on sexuality. On the one hand, it is very important critique: it names the fact that the reports on sexuality mostly (though not uniformly) adopted an uncritical liberalism as their basis and they (for the most part) failed to adequately deal with sexuality as a site and tool for both the oppression and liberation of women. However, the specific choices made in doing this in the book resulted in an analysis that, probably unintentionally and certainly only in places, is relatively easily appropriable by conservative voices.

For example, Trothen points out that one of the United Church sexuality reports strongly supports sexual fantasy as healthy and natural, with no caveats or provisos. She counters with the reasonable observation that "the influence of our sexist culture needs to be taken into account when evaluating fantasy for ethical merit...we are a relational people and affect those with whom we are in relation. Even if objectification does not occur, fantasies can affect others negatively. We need to be aware of this possibility and instead of simply accepting sexual fantasy as a good, also be critically self-aware." Fair enough. However, leaving it at that -- saying 'it can be bad too' without exploring the issue -- leaves unspecified how to take up this insight, which by default invites it to be taken up in the context of dominant discourses and relations which use moral 'shoulding' around sexuality as a tool over women, over queers, over other Others. Instead of stopping the feminist critique of liberalism at a point easily picked up by conservatism, why not take it farther? Why not talk about the ambiguities and multiple ways that sexual fantasy, including conventionally shocking examples thereof, can function in the context of multiple oppressions and resistances? There were numerous other issues of this general form in the book.

Another curious-to-me pattern of speech and silence was around how marriage was discussed. The one area where the book was most consistent in moving from description in its case studies to critical judgment was, not surprisingly, in areas directly related to its understanding of violence against women. In light of that, it traced with approval the increasingly critical understanding of the family within the United Church, from something that was (almost) always and (almost) only good to something that could be a site of oppression and pain that must be evaluated based on the quality of the relations that constitute it. Yet in spite of the book's willingness to use feminist analysis to name certain conventions or practices as oppressive because they contribute to violence against women, there was no real discussion of the fact that there is substantial feminist argument that it is not the details of individual marriages but marriage as a social institution that contributes to conditions that foster violence against women. Perhaps this choice by the author is related to tactical considerations of palatability for United Church members? I don't know.

(I found this particularly interesting when juxtaposed with her discussion of the ways in which the case studies handled the issue of monogamy. One of the reports on sexuality suggested that 'faithfulness' did not have to include 'genital exculsivity', and was subjected to heated abuse by many from within and without the United Church for this position, among a handful of others. The subsequent report on sexuality dropped this as a possibly ethical way to do relationships. In discussing this issue, Trothen is, it seems to me, even more careful than in many other instances about not expressing a political judgment, and rather largely sticks to description. Yet it is politically curious to me that no reference was made to feminist theorizing about how ethical nonmonogamy as one possible, permissable relationship practice can be a way for some women to realize the sort of empowerment-in-community that is counter to situations which foster violence against them. Again, why just counter the liberal suggestion with the feminist observation that it isn't that simple, which seems to sanction the Church's decision not to consider it as an option, rather than go further with a feminist analysis of how it isn't that simple but for some people in some contexts it can be important and useful?)

Perhaps the most important political concern I had with the book is how it dealt with the intersection of gender oppression with the myriad of other oppressions (and resistances) which organize our society. The text certainly talked about how important it is to understand such intersections, but then, as far as I can tell, did very little with that insight. There are lots of ways in which an analysis of violence against women might be transformed by an openness to insight into the ways in which gender oppression and other sorts of oppression relate (see for instance this, this, and the relevant essay in this). One particularly striking way in which this lack of interest in linkages among oppressions manifested was around queerness. The two reports on sexuality were also attacked viciously inside and outside the church because they talked in relatively supportive ways about homosexuality, and in a way that was less visible to outsiders the anti-sexist taskforce was also staunchly supportive of justice for lesbian women and gay men. Since the three case studies dealt with the issue, would that not be a perfect excuse to introduce some of the insights that feminists, particularly lesbian feminists, have made on the relationship between heterosexism and violence against women, and how the discussions of homosexuality in church documents and processes have paved the way to seeing or obscuring those connections?

There are, as is almost always true of political criticisms of books, ways in which a lot of what I have said is a bit unfair. This was a project with specific goals and clear boundaries, and in staying within those it made an extremely useful contribution both to my own work and to the evolution of struggles for justice and liberation within the United Church of Canada. I admit there is an element of the critical things that I've said that are about me -- my favoured political lineages, my pet peeves, my personal life -- and who am I to push that into a consideration of violence against women. Fair enough, especially in the context of a document that has probably at least in part been shaped so as to make it a practically useful tool in institutional change efforts. Yet the best among the works of liberatory, mostly feminist, theology that I have read in the last couple of months reaffirm for me the importance of striving to speak 'prophetically' about one's visions of social transformation and transcendence, and it is in that spirit that I offer my opinions here.

[For a list of all book reviews on this site, click here.]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Review: Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church

[Loraine MacKenzie Shepherd. Feminist Theologies for a Postmodern Church: Diversity, Community, and Scripture. New York: Peter Lang, 2002.]

This book continues my reading (from a non-Christian place) of material related to feminist theology. Unlike the first half dozen titles, the most recent series of books are directly relevant to the interview participant whose chapter I am currently writing. This one was written by a minister and theological educator in the United Church of Canada who has some concern for issues of gender and sexuality in the context of that church, all of which is also true of my interview participant (though I have no idea if they knew each other).

I don't think the book identifies itself in this way at any point, but it is pretty clear to me that this is an adaptation of a dissertation, probably the author's PhD thesis. I say this partly because of clues in the text and partly because of the structure of the book. The text examines in detail, one per chapter, the approaches of four feminist theologians who are in one way or another critical of liberal and modernist approaches to theology. The four are Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, whom MacKenzie Shepherd categorizes as a "critical modernist"; Mary McClintock Fulkerson, who is a poststructuralist; Kwok Pui-lan, who takes a postcolonial feminist approach; and Kathryn Tanner, who is identified as a "postliberal" feminist. She then uses these detailed and exhaustive readings of the works of these four women to analyze the ways in which the United Church of Canada has dealt with gender and particularly with sexuality in theological documents. She goes on to propose a new approach that weaves together elements from all four of her main sources.

I found most of the parts of this book to be useful to me, but I found the whole package to be a bit strange.

Unlike a month ago, at this stage of my writing I am not putting a lot of effort into general reading to expand my awareness of feminist theology. However, despite that, I did appreciate this as a way to get a condensed version of four important thinkers in the field without having to read all of their books. Of course that comes with the inevitable drawbacks of relying on somebody else's summation, especially when in at least some instances it is decades of work being summarized and shortened into a single chapter. I found places where I suspect my emphasis would have been quite different, which is hardly surprising given the different places that myself and MacKenzie Shepherd are approaching the subject from. In any case, I found interesting ideas in all four, though I particularly appreciated the chance to learn about Kwok Pui-lan's work, since none of the feminist theology I had read up to that point came from a postcolonial perspective and because it seemed to me that some of the ideas shared by all four writers were combined in the most politically insightful and practically useful way in her work.

The chapters dealing more specifically with the United Church were also useful to me. They weren't as comprehensive as I might have liked in providing a history of the Church's processes around gender and sexuality over the years, but then this is not a history book so I can hardly complain. Certainly the insight into the nature of the institution gained by the author's analysis of certain key documents is something that will be useful to me.

I am not sure what to make of the book as a whole, however. In large part that is probably because I am not its target audience. But then, it isn't entirely clear to me who its target audience is. On the one hand, she starts from a place of being highly critical of liberal approaches to theology and to the evolution of church doctrine based on her own experience: She found that during the height of the United Church debates about ordination of gay and lesbian ministers there was an emphasis on liberal inclusion and dialogue from the Church authorities, but that because hateful and bigoted voices were put on a par with those seeking fairness and acceptance, this ended up putting herself and other queer ministers and congregants in painful and even unsafe situations. So she is explicitly not approaching this book from a place of uncritical inclusion and "let's all get along-i-ness." However, there still seems to be a tension that I found hard to understand between her commitment to creating tools for feminists and other progressives within the church and a desire to be all-encompassing. It is not clear to me how useful the approach she outlines would be in situations -- presumably most of them, though I don't know church politics that well -- where conservative and reactionary elements within the church would just flatly refuse to accept the assumptions of her method despite the efforts at accommodating them, because it is obvious that they are intended to move the church in directions that conservatives and reactionaries would oppose. So why should they accept those starting points, regardless of whatever theological merits MacKenzie Shepherd happens to see in them? But it may be that her intended audience is really progressives with power within the church to make real changes happen, which in the case of the United Church of Canada has some potential to be a significant constituency -- it may be the largest Protestant denomination in the country, but it also has a long history of being the most progressive of the mainstream Christian groupings (though within definite limits, as the history of residential schools shows). If that is the case, the text makes a bit more sense to me, since it seems that she wants to further progressive change in ways that are less likely to lose conservative members completely while keeping the goals of that change intact, and to do so in ways that are less unsafe for members who experience the oppression(s) in question. Something still felt unresolved about it, though, and I'm not sure whether that was an intended and necessary tension or a product of not quite hitting what she was aiming at.

And though in this recent, new-to-me, theological reading I have often found more material that is useful for contexts that are not explicitly religious than I have expected, a lot of the institutional/political insights in this specific book are less generalizable than I might have wished. Her study, in the end, is not directly about processes of institutional change but about different ways of relating to authoritative texts (especially scripture) in the context of politically contentious issues within a liberal church. That is harder to apply to secular contexts, especially since I am not likely to put myself into secular left spaces that have that kind of reverence for a particular foundational text. However, I still found this a useful book in terms of my writing, and that is after all why I read it.

[For a list of all book reviews on this site, click here.]

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Help CUPE Local 3906

I found this item via this post on Molly's Blog. I feel particularly moved to repost it here because my partner was a member of this local for a number of years (though in its other unit) and I attended as a student the institution where it represents workers. So please let McMaster University president Peter George know that alumni and the general public oppose the casualization of the work of sessional instructors!

Help us stop the casualization of sessional instructors. Please take a moment to tell Peter George, president of McMaster University, that you support CUPE 3906 members’ fight to stop casualization of their work.

Visit this page to send a letter in support of CUPE 3906 at McMaster University.

The letter (which you can customize) reads:

I support McMaster University’s sessional and music instructor’s fight to stop management from casualizing their work.

I am appalled the University wants to turn instructors into one-month employees.

McMaster University works because of faculty staff like sessional and music instructors.

It’s time you showed them the respect they deserve.

I urge you to drop your concession demands and offer sessional and music instructors a fair contract to prevent a strike that will hurt the very students McMaster educates.


Aidez-nous à mettre fin à la précarisation des emplois des chargés de cours à temps partiel. Veuillez prendre un moment pour écrire à Peter George, président de l’Université McMaster, pour lui laisser savoir que vous appuyez les membres de la section locale 3906 du SCFP dans leur lutte contre la précarisation de leur travail.

Visitez cette page pour appuyer les membres de la section locale 3906 du SCFP à l’emploi de l’Université McMaster.

La lettre:

J’appuis les chargés de cours à temps partiel et de musique de l’Université McMaster dans leur lutte contre l’intention de l’administration de précariser leurs emplois.

Je suis outré(e) d’apprendre que l’université cherche à limiter le service de ses chargés de cours à un seul mois.

L’Université McMaster offre une éducation de qualité grâce à la qualité de son corps professoral, qui inclut les chargés de cours à temps partiel et de musique.

Il est temps pour vous de leur témoigner le respect qu’ils méritent.

Je vous implore d’abandonner vos demandes de concessions et de proposer aux chargés de cours à temps partiel et de musique un contrat de travail équitable pour éviter une grève qui nuirait aux étudiantes et étudiants qui fréquentent l’Université McMaster.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Callout for Writing on Gender, Queerness, and Fathering

The 'zine rad dad has recently published this frank and honest callout called "Where Hope Is Found -- Transgendered Fathering" for their upcoming issue. It asks people to "Send in your stories of what it’s like to be a transgendered parent, a queer parent, a queer ally and a parent." I don't currently have a subscription to the 'zine but I have in the past, and it is a pretty cool publication.

Here are the first couple of paragraphs:

From the start I knew I was in trouble. I understood that there lurked a Pandora’s box waiting within the pages of rad dad that would ultimately have to be opened releasing, as the myth states, chaos and confusion into the safe easy gender dichotomy that defined men as fathers and women as mothers. But to extend the metaphor, opening that box would also release hope, release the belief that in the end despite the difficulties of walking this parental path, we will make it out alive.

In issue one, I joked about feeling excluded from the mama club at parks and playgrounds. I wrote: Damn my cock! Although I know cocks don’t always make men and men don’t always have cocks, but that’s an essay for another time. But issue after issue, I skirted that essay, avoided it; however, in each consecutive zine, it kept rearing its pretty little head: someone wrote an article exploring the relationship sperm donors have to their biological children. I also considered how my vasectomy changed my perception of myself as being able to “father.” So now what kind of man was I? Does biology make the man or the father? Absolutely not. I know this, but how to write about it, how to explore it; and of course what does challenging gender do to how we define fatherhood; one dad pondered how, as a bisexual father, he should discuss sexuality with his growing pre teen child? But finally a friend flat out told me: I love rad dad but you gotta talk about queer issues, about how fathering is constructed there?

I could hear the box opening, all those questions wanting to get out.

Read the rest of the callout and then write something!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Blogroll Updates

I've just purged my blogroll, mostly of sites that are gone or on hiatus. Just to prove that I am nothing if not inconsistent, I've kept a couple that are just as inactive in hopes that they get back to blogging.

Meanwhile, I have added some sites. Three of those are by people I know in real life:

  • Check out Notes for a More Coherent Article, written by Brian Burch, who is a Christian anarchist and longtime anti-poverty activist in Toronto. I don't know Brian all that well, but we've been involved in some of the same things over the years, and back when I was in the interviewing stage he made some great participant suggestions for my social movement history project. (I also just noticed as I type this that his blogroll links to my movement history site. Thanks Brian!)

  • Next, have a look at When the Mayor Smiles by Bob Wood. I got to know Bob when he was the executive director of a housing-related agency in Hamilton, Ontario. The focus on municipal politics and the solidly social democratic approach of his blog makes it a bit different than most that I link to, but I did spend a period of time following (and reporting on) municipal issues in Hamilton so I have a soft spot for that, and I'm interested to see what Bob has to say.

  • Last in this group is The Red Toque Diaries, whose author chooses to go by the pseudonym of "The Red Toque" in this context. I first got to know Red Toque when I was recently graduated from university and he was still a student. We've done lots of political things together and were part of an informal affinity group of sorts for a period of time. He currently works as an outreach worker. He doesn't blog often, these days, but I still like to see what he has to say when he gets the chance.

And here are a few more I've stumbled across and want to make a point of checking more regularly:

  • Molly's Blog by Pat Murtagh, who is based in Winnipeg. It is "A blog devoted to anarchism, socialism, evolutionary biolgoy, animal behaviour and a whole raft of other subjects."

  • Troy's Scribbles by Troy Thomas, who identifies himself as "a young radical left-wing Secwepmec Canadian, and member of the cynical, ironic and hip-hop generation."

  • Canadian People of Colour, which at the moment does not seem to feature original writing but is a regular compilation of links to articles, including blogs and the mainstream media, about race and racism in Canada.

Okay. That's it for the moment, but I will continue to tinker over the next little while.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Review: No Room for Grace

[Barbara Rumscheidt. No Room for Grace: Pastoral Theology and Dehumanization in the Global Economy. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998.]

As regular readers might remember, I recently read and reviewed a series of books on feminist theology, despite not identify as Christian myself, in the service of the current chapter I'm writing for my social movement history project. My initial selection of books was pretty random. I wanted a range of stuff to give me a general impression of the field and to stimulate my own thinking in preparation for writing, which is now well underway. I had no delusions of developing a comprehensive understanding. The last couple of reviews I've posted have been on books unrelated to this topic, but it is now time for me to return to things theological, or at least churchy. The next half dozen or so books have been chosen much more deliberately because of some sort of connection to my interview participant. The work that is the subject of this post was written by a former colleague of my interviewee, and in the interview she specifically named and recommended this book.

The book begins from a recognition of the devastation wrought by "unfettered capitalism on a world scale" [ix] and investigates how to "address a faith dilemma that arises out of awareness and experience of the dehumanizing, exclusionary effects of the global economy" [x].

Readers of this book are invited to an exploration that is essentially one of critical faith development. The global reality of escalating dehumanization indicts any process of faith formation that denies, condones, minimizes, rationalizes, legitimizes, or is otherwise innocent or ignorant of mass human suffering. The specter of corporate capital acquiring legal power to preempt laws designed to protect the common good is ominous.... Christian theologies become apostate if they foster acceptable powerlessness in the face of such idolatrous expropriations of God's creation. [xi]

The book seeks to deal with these issues in the context of "pastoral theology", which is the branch of theology that is most practically concerned with the activities of ministers and others acting in the world and amongst ordinary people. The book's basic thesis, as far as I understand it, is that the current context of the global economy is dehumanizing to both its "winners" and "losers." In the context of a rich country like Canada, Christian faith often functions in ways that helps parishioners avoid or deny their active or passive complicity in this process of dehumanization through fostering a sense of uncritical "good conscience" that serves as a kind of immunization from responsibility. Rumscheidt argues that the key to fostering conscientization among privileged Christians is dialogue among the privileged and the oppressed, whether in the form of direct encounters between people under the unifying banner of Christianity or in more vicarious form through engagement with texts both by Christians and others. She is very firm on the point that realizing the Kingdom of God means transforming social relations, therefore social analysis, including secular analysis, is fair game for Christians to take up, learn from, reflect on in a critical theological context, and act on. Such encounters, she believes, are the basis for fostering critical faith development and collective practices that can result in rehumanization for all.

I experienced No Room for Grace as kind of a peculiar book. It contains a lot of powerful and important political ideas. Its integration of these into a staunchly Christian context is quite encouraging to me, even though that context is not mine. There is even something about it that feels like a challenge to me and some of my practices. Yet I found its writing hard to follow at times, and not always as engaging as I might like.

Part of the issue with the writing is probably a product of a political decision I actually quite approve of: the use of many lengthy quotes from a variety of voices well worth listening to, from secular radicals like Walter Rodney and Eduardo Galeano to critically engaged theologians from Latin America and Africa. Another part of the problem probably also had to do with the fact that, my recent reading notwithstanding, theology is not something I know a lot about and I am not completely up to speed in theological terminology. However, that is certainly not the whole problem, and it was a recurring disappointment that the delivery was not as compelling as many of the ideas being delivered.

The book brings together some important ideas and combines them in ways I have not previously encountered. For instance, the book talks about the material, cultural, and discursive phenomenon of "triage" whereby certain segments of the world's population are simply written out of the definition of humanity and made expendable, especially in the dehumanizing conditions of neoliberalism. This resonated for me with the idea of "disposability" I've encountered in writing by Henry Giroux and "exterminism" as discussed in various places by Stan Goff. Though it could have been more completely developed, the book also contains some important gestures towards opposing understandings of the world that reify everything and obscure the fact that social relations are all about human beings, which I have come to see as being quite important. This carried into the more general framing of the book's argument in terms of dehumanization and rehumanization, which I think is quite a powerful way to get at many of the major problems in the world today and one that is quite broadly understandable. There was also quite a clear embrace of the importance of standpoint, not as essence but as created by differential placement within social relations, though that precise vocabulary was not necessarily used. And I also liked the idea of "good conscience" as a barrier to developing critical consciousness, which made me think of things that Sherene Razack has written about people with privilege taking refuge in a mindset of "innocence, [or] a determined non-involvement in the social relations being analyzed."

My most significant political concern with the book is around the place that it gives to dialogue across power differentials as a key to fostering rehumanization and critical consciousness. I can't deny that this is absolutely essential for those of us with privilege in various areas to developing critical and politicized understandings, particularly with respect to areas in which we hold privilege -- without the generosity of friends and the glorious technology of texts that have introduced into my local reality things which would otherwise have no presence here, I would not have whatever modestly critical consciousness of the world I've managed to develop thus far. But I think any discussion of such dialogue as pedagogical tool has to involve a lot of reflection on how people who are differently positioned enter into it in very different ways. Those of us with privilege have much more to gain from it, while those whose oppression will be discussed are much more at risk. The book drops the ball on this point, I think.

The most unexpected aspect of reading this book was the sense that it was challenging me. I think I have noted in one or two other recent reviews how feminist or other socially critical and engaged theology can contain a sense of cohesion across different scales of analysis and between analysis and action that is all too often missing from secular left writings. I think I could probably write a lot about how I feel challenged by this, and I may do so in another post, but for the moment I will make just a couple of points. I think one thing that the secular left can learn from at least some parts of the Christian left has to do with what we expect from people -- that is, I think many elements of the secular left are too quick to have low or no expectations of people who are not already politicized, while the best of the Christian left combines an acceptance of people where they are at with the expectation that all of us have it within ourselves to reach towards some kind of very immediate, material transcendence or transformation or surpassing of/resistance to the circumstances that constrain us. Because of those higher expectations, I think the kind of Christian left approach discussed by Rumscheidt leads to trying harder to facilitate the kind of pedagogical engagement with others that can result in mutual challenge and transformation. Not that we/I don't do that at all -- I think my book writing, for instance, takes great pains to try and meet interested non-activists where they are at. However, in my on-the-ground activist work, though I can see ways in which we do this, I can also see lots in which we could but don't. And with this blog space, I could make much greater use of it as a place to practice and rehearse and experiment with ways to engage. I do that occasionally but not often. Not that there is anything wrong with using at I most frequently do, to refine my own thinking using the discourse that feels like it fits best to me regardless of how accessible that might be to others. But I think maybe I should do more of that other kind of writing too.

It is hard to know exactly how to recommend this book. I think if you are undergoing certain kinds of questioning about the world and you tend to understand things in Christian terms, this could be a very useful book. I think it also might be useful to people concerned with social change and fostering critical consciousness more generally, and not necessarily just Christians, though there are also lots of reasons why some in that group might find it offputting. In any case, because of the enthusiasm with which my interview participant spoke of it, I'm pretty sure I shall return to it and flip through it as I continue to write the chapter.

[For a list of all book reviews on this site, click here.]

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Victory for Grassy Narrows!

From this post at Intercontinental Cry:

After more than a decade of direct action, the Asubpeeschoseewagong community at Grassy Narrows can finally rest easy. The industrial logging giant AbitibiBowater announced yesterday that they are retreating from the Whiskey Jack Forest, three-quarters of which is Grassy Narrows’ traditional territory.

Great news! See the whole post for reproduction of a media release from GreenPeace and links to various other coverage, with reaction from Grassy itself not yet present but to be linked or pasted in as soon as it's available.

The Impact of Secret Trials

Check out this report from Nick Spicer, Ottawa correspondent for Al-Jazeera, on the ongoing detention of Mohammed Harkat via Canada's secret trial process. Harkat is one of five Muslim men of colour who are currently being subjected by the Canadian state to indefinite detention and threat of deportation (despite an acknowledged risk of torture) based on secret allegations, secret information, and little or no due process.

Click here for more background on secret trials and the struggle against them.

(Hat-tip to B.O. for drawing my attention to the video.)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Let U.S. War Resisters Stay in Canada!

I am told that on Tuesday, June 3 there will be a vote in Parliament on the motion to allow U.S. war resisters who have come to Canada -- that is, U.S. military personnel who have decided that their consciences no longer allow them to serve and who have sought refuge in this country -- to remain here. The motion was introduced by Olivia Chow, NDP Immigration Critic, I think on Thursday. The Conservatives apparently tried to derail the motion by a procedural maneuver, but were defeated by a vote of 121 to 97. There was then debate on the motion. From what I have been told, it comes up for a vote on June 3 at 3 pm.

Please give your MP's office a phone call some time tomorrow to encourage them to be present when the vote occurs and to stand up in favour of allowing U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada. Without soldiers, wars could not happen, so this motion would contribute in a significant way to undermining current and future wars of aggression by the United States. (We will need to engage in other sorts of action to undermine the ongoing Canadian participation in war and occupation, including occupation of indigenous lands in northern North America and the occupation of Afghanistan, of course!)

Here is the latest information from the War Resisters web site:

War Resisters Day of Action - Monday, June 2nd
On Tuesday, June 3rd, at 3 p.m., Canada's Parliament will vote on an historic motion to support U.S. Iraq War Resisters in Canada.

The motion calls on the Government of Canada to stop removal orders against those who refuse to fight in Bush's illegal war in Iraq, and has the support of all three opposition parties. We have an excellent opportunity to win this motion, but we still need your help.

Calls and e-mails are making a difference—and we need to continue to put pressure on the Government to ensure that this historic motion passes.

On Monday June 2nd:

Call and email your local Member of Parliament
Tell them you expect them to support the motion and appear for the vote in the House of Commons on Tuesday.
Click here to find your M.P.'s contact info.

Continue calling and e-mailing:

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley
phone 613.996.4974
fax 613.996.9749
email and

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
phone 613.992.4211
fax 613.941.6900

Tell them you want the Government of Canada to
• rescind the deportation order against US war resister Corey Glass
• support US war resisters, not Bush's war in Iraq
• support the motion to allow Iraq war resisters to remain in Canada