War Resisters in Canada
Today there will be a vote in Parliament on a non-binding resolution which asks the government to allow war resisters to say in Canada. There are a small number of individuals who have chosen to leave the US rather than continue to participate in an illegal and criminal war on Iraq.
There numbers would be much larger if Canada had not changed it's immigration policy since the Vietnam War era when some 50,000 war resisters came and were welcomed in Canada.
I am not hopeful the present Conservative government while listen to this call for Canada to honour its historic role of offering refuge to those fleeing a country because of war. Sadly, our present Conservative government seems more interested in pleasing the Bush administration on a wide range of issues.
It is Canada's official position that the War in Iraq is an illegal war of agression (which we resisted US pressure , under a Liberal government, to join. By definition, (since Nuremburg) such a war is the worst of all war crimes.
Canada has a long history of offering refuge to Americans who have wished to flee the US. Much of East and Central Canada were settled by United Empire Loyalists who left, or were driven out, the the US after the War of Independence. Later fugatives slaves, "looked to the North Star" to find their way to refuge and citizenship in Canada at the time that slavery was legal in the US and the Fugative Slave Act was the law of the land to have fugative slaves returned to their masters. During the Vietnam War many young men found a welcome in Canada as a refuge from involuntary military service in another unpopular American military adventure. And now we again have an opportunity to make it easier for American War Resisters to come to Canada.
These and others who have sought to make a new life in Canada have made Canada what it is today, a country in stark contrast to our American neighbours.
Below is Bob Rae addressing a support for War Resisters meeting in Toronto. Bob Rae, a former Premier of Ontario and now a member of the Liberal Party opposition in parliament.
Below is Elizabeth Chow the partiamentary Immigration critic of the New Democratic Party.
For further information one could read a recent editorial article in the Globe and Mail.
Here is a blog devoted to the War Resisters in Canada issue. http://www.soldiersayno.blogspot.com/
There is a effort to lobby the government to pass the resolution and change the immigration regulations to allow war resisters to easily stay in Canada.