Rodney Watson recently marked the second anniversary of his move to a one-bedroom apartment in the First United Church on East Hastings Street. As a former U.S. soldier and a conscientious objector to the war in Iraq, Watson took sanctuary in the building after Canadian immigration authorities ordered that he be deported in September 2009. Since then, he has made a life in the Downtown Eastside church with his wife, Natasha, and their two-year-old son, Jordan, as he awaits word on his application to stay in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds...Libby Davies, the NDP MP for Vancouver East, noted the previous Parliament passed two motions in favour of stopping the deportation of war resisters. “The expression of parliamentarians by majority in the last Parliament was very strong in favour of welcoming war resisters as we had during the Vietnam era, but we have a Conservative government that is blinded by politics on this,” Davies said in a phone interview with the Straight.
OTTAWA — Vancouver's controversial supervised-injection site should stay open indefinitely, the country's top court ruled Friday, calling the federal government's move to shut it down a violation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms...Shortly after the decision was released Friday morning, Davies said she felt "an incredible sense of relief and victory." "It's always been about saving people's lives," she said. "It's always been about a very important medical intervention to help people and the relentless opposition from the Conservative government has been just an incredible thing to take on. I feel so proud of all of the people who came together — whether they were academics, police officers, front-line activists, health professionals, and most of all, the drug users themselves — who were willing to stand up and have the courage to say they would fight all the way to make sure Insite continued its important work."
Xtra: What do you have planned for this fall? LD: I’m digging into the health file. I have three of my colleagues on the health committee with me, and we’ve been meeting regularly, and canvassing the health file overall. It’s a huge file with many different subsections, but obviously one of the things that we’re focusing in on is the Health Accord – both the 2004 accord, but also leading into the 2014 accord, and putting together a program about what we understand to be some of the issues from 2004 and what we need to do to address those issues in 2014, so we’ll be very active on that. That’s been taking up a lot of my time – just working on that.