Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Open Letter

[To find out why and how to sign this letter, click here]
[For media advisory and contact details, click here]

Prime Minister Harper, Minister Kenney and Minister Toews,

We are members of the Jewish community who are outraged at your government's proposed 'Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act'. As people of conscience, who care deeply about Jewish history, social justice and human rights, we are appalled that your government is claiming to have Jewish Canadian support for legislation that so blatantly criminalizes refugees and targets them for imprisonment and/or deportation.

Some of us are immigrants ourselves, while others are the children and grandchildren of people who came to this country fleeing persecution. We know either firsthand or through the lessons passed down to us, that Canada has longstanding tradition of refusing entry to immigrants deemed undesirable by the State. Today, Jewish immigration is no longer seen as a threat to the Canadian state, but it was not so long ago that Canada's attitude towards Jewish immigrants was 'none is too many'. Perhaps the best known result of this policy was the 1939 decision by the Canadian government to turn down a request for landing of the refugee ship, St Louis. Its nine hundred Jewish refugees were sent back to their deaths in Europe. The recent detention of nearly 500 Tamil refugees in British Columbia shows that Canada is proudly continuing its legacy of racist discrimination against people fleeing persecution and genocide.

If this legislation passes, more refugees will be incarcerated, many will be deported and most will face torture, imprisonment or death upon their return. We refuse to be silent as your government - under cover of support from B'nai Brith and other conservative organizations claiming to represent diverse communities - increases its attacks on migrants and refugees.

Your government cannot claim to have the support of the Jewish community as you launch your latest campaign against migrants and refugees.  We are honouring our history by denouncing this legislation and joining in the fight for the rights of refugees. We are declaring loudly that no one is illegal.


[To find out why and how to sign this letter and for media details, click here]
  1. Aaron Lakoff, Montreal 
  2. Aaron Morrell, Toronto 
  3. Abby Lippman, MontrĂ©al 
  4. Ada Mullett, Kingston 
  5. Adam Policzer, Vancouver 
  6. Adam Saifer, Toronto 
  7. Adele Diamond, Vancouver 
  8. Alisa Gayle-Deutsch, Toronto 
  9. Alison Sawyer, Gibson 
  10. Alon Weinberg, Winnipeg 
  11. Amy Gottlieb, Toronto 
  12. Amy Katz, Toronto 
  13. Andrea Summers 
  14. Andy Lehrer, Toronto 
  15. Anita Block, Toronto 
  16. Ariel Troster, Ottawa 
  17. Asher and Esther Zapf, Vancouver 
  18. Ashley Chimovitz, Hamilton 
  19. Avi Dolgin, Vancouver 
  20. Avi Grenadier, Kingston 
  21. Avril Orloff, Vancouver 
  22. Ayden Isaac Scheim, Toronto 
  23. Ben Saifer, Ottawa 
  24. Ben-Zion Shek 
  25. Bernard Katz, Toronto. 
  26. Bob Bluman, Vancouver 
  27. Bob Rosen, Vancouver 
  28. Bobbie Ogletree, Nelson 
  29. Bonnie Baker, Nelson 
  30. Bonnie Klein, Vancouver 
  31. Brenda Cossman, Toronto 
  32. Cara Goldberg, Toronto 
  33. Carol Pearlstone, Vancouver 
  34. Carole Dahan, Toronto 
  35. Caroline Sand, Toronto 
  36. Cathy Gulkin, Toronto 
  37. Celina Dycke Toronto 
  38. Charlie Lior,Toronto 
  39. Cheryl Gaster, Toronto 
  40. Clayton Ruby, Toronto 
  41. Corey Balsam, Toronto 
  42. Corey Levine, Ottawa 
  43. Daniel Fine, Toronto 
  44. Daniel Levinson, Calgary 
  45. Daniel Radin, Toronto 
  46. Daniela Escolar Bach, Vancouver 
  47. Daniella Moss, Toronto 
  48. Danielle Bobker, Montreal 
  49. Dara Culhane, Simon Fraser 
  50. David Cohen, Hamilton 
  51. David Florkow, Toronto 
  52. David Mandelzys, Toronto 
  53. David Shulman, London UK 
  54. David Taub Bancroft, Vancouver 
  55. David Zinman, Toronto 
  56. Deborah Guterman, Montreal 
  57. Deborah Rachlis, Toronto 
  58. Debra S. Lary, Toronto 
  59. Denise Glasbeek, Ottawa 
  60. Diane Meredith 
  61. Dr. Barbara Landau, Toronto 
  62. Dr. Ben-Zion Shek, Toronto 
  63. Dr. Mark Federman, Toronto 
  64. Eden Nameri, Toronto 
  65. Eileen Gross, Guelph 
  66. Elaine Carol, Vancouver 
  67. Elana Geller , Windsor 
  68. Elise Eisenkraft Klein, Toronto 
  69. Elizabeth Block, Toronto 
  70. Elizabeth Shefrin, Gabriola 
  71. Ellen Buchman, Toronto 
  72. Ellen Eisenberg, Toronto 
  73. Ellen Shifrin, Toronto 
  74. Ernie Yacub 
  75. Evan Dycke Toronto 
  76. Frank Guttman, Montreal 
  77. Frank Segal, Vancouver 
  78. Freda Guttman, Toronto 
  79. Gabriel A. Gorman, Toronto 
  80. Gene Simon 
  81. George Pope, Richmond 
  82. Gilda Katz, Toronto 
  83. Gilda Outremont, Montreal 
  84. Gillian Reiss, Toronto 
  85. Gordon Doctorow, Toronto 
  86. Greg Starr, Port Moody 
  87. Griffin Epstein, toronto 
  88. Hannah Wizman-Cartier 
  89. Harold Shuster, Winnipeg 
  90. Harry Glasbeek, Toronto 
  91. Helen Aqua, Vancouver 
  92. Helen Mintz, Vancouver 
  93. Helga Mankovitz, Kingston 
  94. Herman Rosenfeld, Toronto 
  95. Independent Jewish Voices (Canada) 
  96. Ingrid Philipp, Toronto 
  97. Jacob Bayless, Toronto 
  98. Jacob Dycke Toronto 
  99. Jacob Nerenberg, Toronto 
  100. James Deutsch, Toronto 
  101. Jane Heyman, Vancouver 
  102. Janis Alton, Mississauaga 
  103. Jason Kunin, Toronto 
  104. Jeannie Kamins, Vancouver 
  105. Jeff Carolin, Toronto 
  106. Jenny Katz, Toronto 
  107. Jenny Peto, Toronto 
  108. Jeremiah Gaster, Toronto 
  109. Jeremy Finkelstein, Toronto 
  110. Jesse Salah Ovadia, Toronto 
  111. Jessica Lyons, Toronto 
  112. Jessica Roher, Toronto 
  113. Joanna Zilsel 
  114. Joanne Naiman, Vancouver 
  115. Jonathan Fedder, Toronto 
  116. Jordan Topp, Montreal 
  117. Jordana Greenblatt, Toronto 
  118. Jordy Cummings, Toronto 
  119. Josh Lane, Toronto 
  120. Joshua Wiener, Toronto 
  121. Judith Deutsch, Toronto 
  122. Judith Weisman, Toronto 
  123. Judith Weisman, Toronto 
  124. Judy Haiven, Halifax 
  125. Judy Hellman, Toronto 
  126. Julia Horel-O'Brien, Toronto 
  127. Karen Guttman, Montreal 
  128. Karen Schucher, Toronto 
  129. Ken Klonsky, Vancouver 
  130. lan Sears, Toronto 
  131. Larry Butkowsky, Toronto 
  132. Laura Mandelbaum, Toronto 
  133. Lauren Goodman, Toronto 
  134. Lawrence Boxall, Vancouver 
  135. Leah Gold, Toronto 
  136. Lee Tenenhouse, Toronto 
  137. Lindsay Czitron, Toronto 
  138. Lindsay Shane, Toronto 
  139. Liora Johnson, Kingston 
  140. Lisa Feinberg, Ottawa 
  141. Lisa Forman, Toronto 
  142. Louise Waldman, Winnipeg 
  143. Lynn Worrell, Montreal 
  144. Madeleine Gorman, Toronto 
  145. Malcah Friedman, Kingston. 
  146. Marion Pollack, Ottawa 
  147. Mark Golden, Winnipeg 
  148. Marty Roth, Vancouver 
  149. Mary Adlersberg Vancouver 
  150. Mary Adlersberg, Vancouver 
  151. Marylin Kanee 
  152. Max Silverman, Montreal 
  153. Maya Thau-Eleff, Kingston 
  154. Melissa Drutz, Toronto 
  155. Melissa Harendorf, Montreal 
  156. Mia Amir, Vancouver 
  157. Michael Blazer, Toronto 
  158. Michael Bossin, Ottawa 
  159. Michele Landsberg, Toronto 
  160. Mira Khazzam, Montreal 
  161. Mira Khazzam, Montreal 
  162. Miriam Eguchi, North Vancouver 
  163. Miriam Garfinkle, Toronto 
  164. Miriam Kramer, Toronto 
  165. Miriam Spies, Hamilton 
  166. Moira Canes, Toronto 
  167. Mordechai Wasserman, Toronto 
  168. Morris Mass, Delta 
  169. Naomi Angel, Toronto 
  170. Naomi Klein, Toronto 
  171. Naomi Rankin, Toronto 
  172. Natalie Kouri-Towe, Toronto 
  173. Natalie Zemon Davis, Toronto 
  174. Neil Naiman, Vancouver 
  175. Neil Naiman, Vancouver 
  176. Neil Naiman, Vancouver 
  177. Nikki Gershbain, Toronto 
  178. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, Ottawa 
  179. Noa Shaindlinger, Toronto 
  180. Noah Fine, Vancouver 
  181. Ofira Roll, Vancouver 
  182. Olga Liberchuk, Vancouver 
  183. Paul Copeland, Toronto 
  184. Paul Harrison, Toronto 
  185. Penny Goldsmith, Vancouver 
  186. Peter Driftmier, Vancouver 
  187. Philip Pinkus, West Vancouver 
  188. Rachel Berger, Montreal 
  189. Rachel Corber, Montreal 
  190. Rachel Gotthilf, Montreal 
  191. Rachel Gurofsky, Ottawa 
  192. Rachel Rosen, Toronto 
  193. Raoul Boulakia, Toronto 
  194. Rebecca Applebaum, Toronto 
  195. Rebecca Main, Montreal 
  196. Renata Fuchs Militzer, Montreal 
  197. Robert Eisenberg, Toronto 
  198. Roberto Carrasco 
  199. Robrt Silverman, Val David 
  200. Roslyn Doctorow, Toronto 
  201. Ryan Katz-Rosene, Ottawa 
  202. S. Drysdale, Sudbury 
  203. Sally Thorne, Vancouver 
  204. Sam Bick, Montreal 
  205. Sam Znaimer, Vancouver 
  206. Sandra Rose, Vancouver 
  207. Sandra Glasbeek, Toronto 
  208. Sandra Ruch, Toronto 
  209. Sara-Marni Hubbard, Toronto 
  210. Sarah Jane Saska, London 
  211. Schuyler H Smith, of Halifax 
  212. Shaindl Diamond, Toronto 
  213. Shannon Salisbury, Toronto 
  214. Sharry Aiken, Toronto 
  215. Sheryl Nestel, Toronto 
  216. Shlomit Segal, Toronto 
  217. Sid Shniad, Surrey 
  218. Simone Brightstein, Kingston 
  219. Smadar Carmon, Toronto 
  220. Stephen Aberle, Vancouver 
  221. Stephen Hellman, Toronto 
  222. Stephen Sheps, Edmonton 
  223. Sterling Stutz, Toronto 
  224. Suzanne Weiss, Toronto 
  225. Tamar Kalfa, Toronto 
  226. Tamara Herman, Toronto 
  227. Tov Mason, Toronto 
  228. Tyler Levitan, Ottawa 
  229. Vlada Bilyak, Kingston 
  230. Yom Shamash, Toronto 
  231. Yom Shamash, Vancouver 
  232. Zach Fleisher, Winnipeg 
  233. Zvi Gaster, Toronto

Why sign this letter?

Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney have proposed a new Immigration Act, Bill C-49. It would allow the Minister of Public Safety to declare any group of migrants coming in to Canada, a 'smuggling incident'. There is no definition of a 'smuggler' in this Act.

For the asylum seekers who are declared part of an incident (which could be anyone making a refugee claim in a groups of 2 or more), the Conservative government wants to:
  • Jail them for a minimum of one year
  • Deny access to health services
  • Deny monthly detention reviews, allowing migrants in jail a chance to gain freedom only once every 6 months
  • Be able to revoke people's refugee status after it has been granted by the refugee determination process
  • Ban applications for permanent residence for five years after gaining refugee status
  • Bar people from reuniting with their families for five years after gaining refugee status
  • Stop people from leaving Canada for five years after gaining refugee status
  • Deny the right of appeal to a rejected refugee claim
  • Put in an ex-CSIS director and the man responsible for police brutality during the G20 as a special advisor on human migration
  • B'nai Brith has come out in support of this legislation - the government is using this support to claim that it has the endorsement of the Canadian Jewish Community. We are encouraging members of the Jewish community to speak out against Harper, Kenney and B'nai Brith, and to stand up for the rights of refugees.

    Please read the open letter and sign on by sending an email with your name and city to: