- Dec 11, 2005
- Seren?sima Rep?blica de California
- 1997 BMW 528i
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.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.
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.