Media Release: Prominent Jewish Activists and Community Members Oppose Immigration Bill C-49

09 November 2010


Toronto -- Nearly two hundred Jewish activists, lawyers, writers, performers. medical professionals, academics and others have signed a 'Jewish Canadian Open Letter Against Bill C49' letter denouncing the 'Preventing Human Smugglers from Abusing Canada’s Immigration System Act' and chastising the Federal Government for engineering fake community support for Bill C-49 which will jail refugees, give Ministers the power to call anyone a smuggler, as well as revoke refugee status after it has been granted by the Immigration and Refugee Board.

"If this legislation passes, more refugees will be incarcerated, many will be deported and most will face torture, imprisonment or death upon their return." states the letter that was circulated on Wednesday, November 3, 2010 on email list-servs, facebook and twitter and has since garnered instant attention.

The controversial and condemned Bill C-49 was tabled in Parliament on Wednesday, October 21. The following day, dozens of organizations, most of whom receive Citizenship and Immigration funding released statements in support of the bill in an obviously engineered media campaign by the Federal Tories. 

Since then groups such as Amnesty International, the Canadian Council for Refugees, Canadian Civil Liberties Association and others have pointed out that Bill C-49 targets refugees and is contrary to the Canadian Constitution and multiple treaties that Canada has signed. None of these rights bodies were consulted prior to the tabling of the Bill.

"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." declared the Jewish Canadian Open Letter Against Bill C49, urging that the Bill C-49 be revoked. 

"This Federal Government mis-represents public opinion, and values fear-mongering over justice", says Jenny Peto, a Jewish activist in Toronto and one of the authors of the Jewish Canadian Open Letter Against Bill C49 explaining the reasons for penning the statement. "Once Kenney and Vic Toews were out lying about public support, it was necessary to show that in fact a majority of people, particularly the Jewish community does not want a closed border anti-refugee policy."

The full text of the bill and up to date signatories can be found at:

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For more information, please contact
Jenny Peto,