Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center
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December 4th, 2007 Picket line at the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center
Former US Soldier and War Resister Brad McCall (L), David Whittelesey (R) Veteran of the US Civil Rights and Antiwar Movements
Picketers outside the Canadian Armed Forces Recruitment Center (L), Andrew Barry (R) MAWO Executive Committee Member and a Co-ordinator of the Alison Bodine Defence Committee
Kerry Goodwin (L) from the Oji-Cree nation and MAWO organizer
MAWO Executive Committee Member, Kira Koshelanyk speaking at the picket
CANADA/NATO OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
Vancouver, BC -
For the 36th time in just over two years anti-war activists, organizers and supporters picketed the Canada Armed Forces Recruitment Center in downtown Vancouver demanding an end to the Canada and NATO military occupation of Afghanistan. The picket was part of the ongoing “Canada Out of Afghanistan!” campaign organized by Mobilization Against War & Occupation (MAWO) with monthly picket actions, petition drives and other actions against the occupation. Despite the rainy weather the picket saw many people from various backgrounds and age groups come together under one single, united demand: CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN NOW!
The picket began with Lindsay Clarke, a MAWO Executive Committee member and the coordinator of the Social Justice Committee at the Capilano College Students Union, issuing a statement on behalf of MAWO. The strong anti-war statement filled the streets with energy which helped lead a loud and spirited picket. Chants of “END THE OCCUPATION NOW!” and “TROOPS OUT NOW!” could be heard for blocks as picketers ignored the wet weather to demand an end to the occupation.
As picketers gathered again, Lindsay introduced the first speaker of the day, Brad McCall, a US war resister from Alabama who quit the US army in opposition to the occupation of Iraq and fled to Canada where he is waging a fight to gain refugee status. Next to speak was David Whittelesey, a MAWO organizer and a veteran of the US Civil Rights movement and antiwar movement in the Vietnam era.
After David’s powerful words the picketers took to the streets again for a second round of picketing. Andrew Barry, a MAWO executive committee member and a coordinator with the Alison Bodine Defence Committee, was the next to speak. Andrew spoke against the recent attacks by the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the government of Canada on antiwar and social justice activists, and in particular, Alison Bodine. Alison, a US-citizen and one of MAWO’s Co-Chairs and spokerspersons, was politically targeted by border officials when antiwar materials were found in her car and has since been banned from Canada for 2 years. Kerri Goodwin, a MAWO organizer and member of the Oji-Cree nation in Sandy Lake Ontario, followed Andrew’s talk by comparing the horrendous treatment by the government of Canada against the people of Afghanistan with Indigenous Nations here at home.
Kerri’s rallying speech again energized the already loud crowd as a third and final picket action followed. As the final picket came to a close Lindsay introduced the final speaker of the day. MAWO executive committee member Kira Koshelanyk wrapped up the picket by emphasizing the importance of consistent action and organization in building a broad and effective anti-war movement. The picketers closed with a final round of chants for this action, though it will not be the last, with voices that rang out clear: CANADA OUT OF AFGHANISTAN! END THE OCCUPATION NOW!