U.S. deserters can stay in Canada: Commons

jetsetter

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OTTAWA - U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada to escape the war in Iraq won a symbolic victory in the House of Commons Tuesday when a majority of MPs voted that the deserters should be allowed to stay permanently in the country.

But the motion, put forward by the NDP, is non-binding on the minority Conservative government. Tory MPs voted against the motion but were outnumbered by the three opposition parties in a 137-110 vote.

"The Harper Conservatives must respect this and immediately implement this motion," said Olivia Chow, the Toronto New Democrat who moved the motion. "Ordinary people want the Iraq war resisters to stay."

The Toronto-based War Resisters Support Campaign estimates as many as 200 American soldiers escaped to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq.

"This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq war," said campaign co-ordinator Lee Zaslofsky, a Vietnam deserter who came to Canada in 1970.

The motion called on the government to "immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members . . . to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada."

The Conservatives also should "cease any removal or deportation actions," the motion said.

Corey Glass, a 25-year-old deserter who came to Canada two years ago and has been ordered to leave or face deportation to the U.S. by June 12, welcomed the motion, although it will probably not make a difference in his battle to remain in the country.

"I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada," Glass said in a news release.

Conservative MPs voted resoundingly against the motion, with Edmonton MP Laurie Hawn arguing during a debate that "people do not join with their eyes closed."

Last fall, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeal of two men who had lost a bid for refugee status after the Federal Court of Appeal refused to declare the 2003 invasion of Iraq illegal.

Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were among the first U.S. soldiers who crossed the border rather than face possible court martial and imprisonment for refusing to serve in a war which they said they morally oppose and is illegal because it was not sanctioned by the United Nations.

Jeffry House, the lawyer for the two Toronto men, has estimated that about 40 Americans have sought refugee status to avoid the Iraq war. Another 150 or so are in Canada but they have not filed refugee claims.

The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the two men did not deserve refugee status in Canada because they come from a democratic country with an accountable and just system for dealing with deserters.

http://www.canada.com/topics/news/national/story.html?id=fe742134-a67c-4726-89ad-6c6874167c86
Deserters are criminals and as such they should be deported back to the United States for punishment. This is the same as saying that a rapist or a murderer who committed criminal acts in the United States can hide from punishment in Canada.

These deserters are even worse than those who deserted from the military during the Vietnam conflict, there was a draft then opposed to the all volunteer force now.
 

Firecat

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I believe they should be extradited. What is the prison term for refusing to serve? AFAIK it's around 2 years.
 

Quadrax

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Deserters are criminals and as such they should be deported back to the United States for punishment. This is the same as saying that a rapist or a murderer who committed criminal acts in the United States can hide from punishment in Canada.

These deserters are even worse than those who deserted from the military during the Vietnam conflict, there was a draft then opposed to the all volunteer force now.
You are not seriously putting deserters in the same category as murderers and rapists?
 

Hidden_Hunter

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I beleive they should be extradited also, they knew that when they signed on it was a possiblity that they would be sent to a war they didn't beleive in.
 

BerserkerCatSplat

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This is the same as saying that a rapist or a murderer who committed criminal acts in the United States can hide from punishment in Canada.
This is actually somewhat true, ish. I know of cases where we cannot deport someone because we know that they would be killed if we sent them back to their own country, so we cannot deport them for crimes they have committed in either country.
 

Viper007Bond

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Jesus jetsetter, did you lose a few marbles?

Anyway, this isn't Vietnam. They joined on their own choice. Retarded, unneeded war or not, they signed a contract to go to war if it ever came to that.
 

Blind_Io

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Actually, I'm with Jetsetter on this one. It's not like they are dodging the draft, they voluntarily signed up to serve in a military combat force - it's not like the possibility of going to war is the fine print.
 

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Deserters are criminals and as such they should be deported back to the United States for punishment. This is the same as saying that a rapist or a murderer who committed criminal acts in the United States can hide from punishment in Canada.
While I do agree that we shouldn't be harbouring deserters, the irony of you saying that somebody who doesn't want to kill is somehow the same as somebody who does isn't lost on me.
 
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Quadrax

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While I do agree that we shouldn't be harbouring deserters, the irony of you saying that somebody who doesn't want to kill is somehow the same as somebody who does isn't lost on me.
Exactly. I agree with jetsetter on principle, but not the extreme way he expresses his view. Deserting is dishonourable and criminal, and criminals should be punished and all that, but exaggerating the severity of a situation only diminishes the credibility of the argument.
 

Blind_Io

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While I do agree that we shouldn't be harbouring deserters, the irony of you saying that somebody who doesn't want to kill is somehow the same as somebody who does isn't lost on me.
I have yet to meet a career soldier who wants to go kill people. Yes, they are trained for it; yes, they are conditioned to be aggressive on the battlefield; but these are the guys who have to go leave their homes and families for more than a year and sweat their balls off is some shit hole on the other side of the world. There is no one who is more opposed to that then the guys who actually have to go; but go they do, because they took and oath and signed up for that duty.
 

Interrobang

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Deserters are criminals and as such they should be deported back to the United States for punishment. This is the same as saying that a rapist or a murderer who committed criminal acts in the United States can hide from punishment in Canada.
Oh come on ... rapists, murderers and deserters ... sure, they?re all felonies, but one surely shouldn?t be named with the other two.

I know what you are trying to say, the men and women all had the choice to join or not join the Us-military ... it?s not right for them to just "change their minds" when they have a binding contract, just when things might get a little rough. They?ve signed in for military, they should have expected to go to war ...

But I also understand them a bit, and maybe you should try that too so you don?t put them in a line with murderers and rapists again. Just try to imagine yourself joining the military because you love your courtry and want to serve it(maybe you did?). And then try to imagine (consider it a hypotetical scenario if that helps) the political leadership (and the world situation in general) to change drastically and it to start wars that you consider bad for your country. If you signed up to do good for your country, and now you are going to perticipate in doing bad for your country ... you couldn?t have seen that coming because the situation was different when you signed that binding contract. If you think about it, you?ll see that something doesn?t fit here. Should you be forced to participate in something "bad"? And that what these Deserters think ... they don?t want to do something that is (from their point of view) bad and imoral as it would do the opposite of what they wanted when they joined the forces.

From my point of view, not even a soldier (with a binding contract:rolleyes:) should follow orders blindly. And that?s something you americans taught us germans ... when after WW2 all Wehrmacht-soldiers went "Oh, we were just following orders, we?ve done nothing wrong" ... your Grandparents taught them that wasn?t the right thing to do and they shouldn?t have done all those terrible things, even if they were orders ... and now Us-soliders don?t have a choice to say "No, this war is injustice - I will not participate"? I think there are some deficites in "learning of history" there, in 1945 youre people got it right ... it?s sad that some generations later, this seems to be lost. In Germany today, every Soldier has the right to say "No, I don?t want to participate in this war because of my concience" ... and we still have troops in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Libanon, are a Part of Operation Active Endeavour and Operation Enduring Freedom. It?s not like we?re short on Soldiers because they have a choice (apart from having a binding contract). We simply don?t force them to do something that they can?t because of their concience.
 

Firecat

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From my point of view, not even a soldier (with a binding contract:rolleyes:) should follow orders blindly. And that?s something you americans taught us germans ... when after WW2 all Wehrmacht-soldiers went "Oh, we were just following orders, we?ve done nothing wrong" ... your Grandparents taught them that wasn?t the right thing to do and they shouldn?t have done all those terrible things, even if they were orders
The Nuremberg defense. Which is covered by the Uniform Code of Military Justice and states that soldiers only need to obey lawful orders. The question becomes, is that something a soldier can decide on their own?
 

Interrobang

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[...] The question becomes, is that something a soldier can decide on their own?
In Battle, it is absolutley nessesary that soldiers follow orders ... I?m not trying to argue about that, that?s a given fact. The decision to "go to war" in the first place, is somewhat different. Like I said, things change and 2001 things changed quite rapidly. Someones descision to join the military might have been different before or after.

I personally wouldn?t want to fight next to someone who?s there although he doesn?t belive in what he?s fighting for. I would want for my fellow soliders to be there because they want to, because they belive in what we fight for. I?d be glad if there was a kind of "backdoor" to sort those out who are only there because they were ordered to. I belive that in a fight, resolve is everything ... without resolve you?ll lose. You don?t have resolve if you fight for something you don?t belive in ... or even oppose.
 

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Actually, I'm with Jetsetter on this one. It's not like they are dodging the draft, they voluntarily signed up to serve in a military combat force - it's not like the possibility of going to war is the fine print.
I agree with this entirely. What did they think would happen? If you sign up then you might go to war. If you go to war you might kill others and others might kill you.

In any case, I am still in favour of welcoming the deserters to Canada.
 
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jetsetter

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What is the punishment for desertion from the Canadian military? I assume that it is a crime and if that deserter from the Canadian military settled in the United States I would expect the government to send that person back to Canada for punishment.
 
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