Return Christianne Boudreau's Canadian Passport!
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Christianne Boudreau is a Canadian citizen and the mother of Damian Clairmont, a young Canadian who was indoctrinated with extremist ideology then recruited for “jihad” in Syria. He travelled to Turkey then Syria, where he died fighting for a terrorist organization in 2014.
After Damian’s death, Christianne Boudreau became active speaking out against extremism. She has helped many individuals and families to counter extremist ideology. Despite her tragedy, Ms. Boudreau helped to create the international organization Mothers for Life Network.
In early 2016, as Christianne and her son Lucas were visiting her mother and father in France, Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) revoked the Canadian passports of Ms. Boudreau and her son. They were left stranded stateless in France for the next 18 months.
CIC claims they took the extreme measure of revoking the passports of Ms. Boudreau and her son because she withheld information about dated (2004-2007) court orders involving Lucas’s biological father in the application for Lucas’s passport. However, Ms. Boudreau had a subsequent (January 2016) court order and signed agreement with the biological father. She has been the sole parental custodian of Lucas since his birth and the biological father, who initiated the complaints, died of cancer in December 2017.
Something is terribly wrong. Ms. Boudreau and her son Lucas were left stranded in a foreign country for nearly 18 months. Without a passport and unable to work there, Ms Boudreau was impoverished and forced to rely on the support of family in France. Now, after returning to Canada with emergency travel documentation, CIC is still withholding her passport.
It is ironic and tragic that the Canadian government provided a new passport for Damian to travel and join a terrorist group while they now withhold a passport from his mother who is educating people about the dangers of extremism.
Ms. Boudreau is being denied her right under the Canadian Constitution to travel internationally. She is unable to visit her ailing parents in France. Without a passport, her international work countering extremism and radicalism is severely hampered.
Christianne Boudreau is a mother who has suffered greatly but turned her grief into a force for good. As indicated in the testimonials below, she has been exceptionally effective in countering extremism and radicalism. For the sake of justice and the public good, we call on the Canadian government to immediately return her Canadian passport.
Testimonials regarding the counter-extremist work of Christianne Boudreau:
From Dr. Daniel Koehler
Director / German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies
“Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world: the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization. Christianne’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities I mentioned have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.”
From Dr. Amar Amarasingam
Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society, University of Waterloo.
“Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try and prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, Chris's activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I'm not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.”
From Sheikh Navaid Aziz
Director of Religious and Social Services, Islamic Information Society of Calgary
“Christianne Boudreau is a much needed voice in the countering violent extremism space. With her wealth of experience she is able to humanize the impact of radicalization upon families and communities. I am personally aware of several people and families she has been able to impact positively with her support.”
From Gail Mcintyre (producer) and Eileen Thalenberg (director)
Stormy Nights Productions, Toronto, Ontario
“Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC - TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it.
“Her work in this area was far-reaching - uniting mothers in North America and Europe. She was often a guest speaker at international conferences and her TED talk was broadcast nationally on PBS in the United States. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high profile work. This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.”
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