The Electric Pencil

War Resisters: Parliament says yes, government says no

with one comment

In a significant – although ultimately symbolic – victory, American war resisters who have sought sanctuary in Canada received the support of parliament to stay. After an extensive and hard fought public campaign, U.S. soldiers who have fled their country over their objections to the war in Iraq saw 137 MPs vote to allow them to remain in the country, with only 110 saying they must go.

But the down side is that all 110 votes against came from the Conservative Party, who make up the government. Because the vote was not binding, whether the estimated 200 American war resisters are allowed to stay in the country still remains at the whim of the government, and that government has so far given a resounding no.

The motion in parliament, brought by the New Democratic Party, comes as war resister Corey Glass faces deportation on June 12th. Glass and other resisters have seen their application for refugee status refused, and the courts reject their request for appeal. A central reason for the rejection of their appeals has been the court’s refusal to hear arguments that the war in Iraq is illegal.

And yet, under United Nations guidelines, “Soldiers who refuse to fight in wars that are widely condemned by the international community as contrary to standards of human conduct should be considered as refugees.” It’s hard to believe that the war in Iraq doesn’t fall under this category.

The War Resisters Support Campaign is now asking backers to contact the offices of Immigration Minister Diane Finley and Prime Minister Stephen Harper directly in a last chance bid to let them stay. If deported, many face certain reprisal, including court martial hearings and possible jail time.

Canada has a significant history of providing asylum to American war resisters: Over 30,000 Americans fled to Canada to avoid serving in the Vietnam War, receiving refugee status and many eventually becoming citizens.


Written by Tim McSorley

June 3, 2008 at 7:19 pm

One Response

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  1. Corey Glass is a BUM and lier.

    I served during the first gulf war and there where bums like Glass and Key that said they only joined the military for what they though was free college money. They never dreamed they would have to do their actual MOS in a combat area.

    Glass is a real class act with his statement that he believed the National Guard was a humanitarian organization. The National Guard and Reserves were deployed during Vietnam and to an extent WWII. The big mistake he made was joining the military when he should have stayed at home flipping burgers. He’s one of the ones that should not have made it through boot camp without being weeded out and sent home.

    As long as he was able to show up for his monthly training and go home at night to his own bed, while getting college money he was all for the National Guard. But once he was called on to fulfill his obligation he wanted none of that. Don’t kid yourself he would have tired quickly even providing humanitarian aid in New Orleans during Katrina. But in that cause it would have been some other injustice that made him flee.

    If Canada lets them stay fine, but don’t ever let the bums back across the border. He’s blowing smoke up peoples asses and ttheir believing his crap.


    July 7, 2008 at 7:41 pm

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