Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Canada & Deserters

via Canada.Com - check out their site for more on this story

U.S. deserters can stay in Canada: Commons

Janice Tibbetts , Canwest News Service

Published: Tuesday, June 03, 2008

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.