Among other things, I learned two bits of Canadian history.
Trudeau called upon the government to change Canada's immigration policy, so that border guards could not ask about military status. That opened the door to Vietnam draft resisters and war deserters.
Those former fleeing young men are now in their late 50s and early 60s. They have been Canadians for some 40 years.
Canada can be a sanctuary again. Canada can shelter people who chose peace over war, democracy over the rule of force. I believe this speaks to the Canada most Canadians want to see.
Canada, much more a white country then than now, wasn't prepared to welcome tens of thousands of Southeast Asians. (Those refugees, of course, were fleeing the results of another US overseas adventure.) A Conservative MP (anyone know who?) appealed to the average Canadian to help, and changed a policy.
Using a sponsorship system, through which Canadian organizations and families could help immigrant families, 60,000 displaced people were re-settled in Canada between 1979 and 1981. They, too, are now Canadian.
I gleaned these two tidbits from a reliable source - the CBC's Andy Barrie, himself a Vietnam deserter - but I don't know any further details than what I've found online. If you know more, please help wmtc readers learn.
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Canada can once again be a sanctuary from militarism. Hundreds of former US soldiers who served time in Iraq, then turned their back on the war, are living in Canada. You can help them receive refugee status by helping to create the necessary political climate.
Tell your MPs, tell your neighbours, tell your blog readers, tell your co-workers. Three simple words: let them stay.
Here are some practical ways you can help.
The Support Campaign is an all-volunteer organization. 100% of your $20 will go towards legal and material aid for war resisters.
Let them stay.