2.19.2009

is the harper government erasing canadian history to justify attacks on war resisters?

Media Release from the War Resisters Support Campaign:

CIC Website Tries to Erase Canada's History of War Resisters

Both Draft Resisters and Deserters Welcomed During Vietnam War

OTTAWA — Until very recently, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website included a page that accurately presented Canada's history of accepting Vietnam War resisters during the 1960s and 70s, some of whom were draft resisters and many others who had signed up voluntarily and later deserted as conscientious objectors.

Within the last two weeks, this history has been removed from the ministry's website, but evidence of its existence still appears on popular Internet search engines such as Google.

"Just because this part of the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website has been removed does not mean that the history of Vietnam War deserters coming to Canada can be dismissed," says Dick Cotterill, a former U.S. Marine and a successful businessman in Truro, Nova Scotia. "I am evidence that it did indeed happen. I enlisted voluntarily and served three years before I came to the moral decision that the Vietnam War was unjust and I could no longer participate. Many of the Iraq War resisters enlisted in good faith, have served in combat, and have chosen to oppose this war by coming to Canada. They, too, should be allowed to stay."

In January, Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney revealed the federal government's blanket opposition to U.S. Iraq War resisters by labelling them "bogus refugee claimants." The Minister's blatantly prejudicial comment was promptly denounced by Amnesty International Canada and the Canadian Council for Refugees.

The government webpage about Vietnam War resisters (a cached copy of which is available as a PDF file) was part of a section of the CIC website called "Forging Our Legacy". It was based on a book of the same title (ISBN 0-662-28983-8) that was published in 2000 by Public Works and Government Services Canada, in conjunction with private-sector partners, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Canadian Citizenship Act (1947). The book and section of the CIC website traced the evolution of Canadian citizenship and the role played by immigration in the development of Canada from the end of the nineteenth century until 1977. The information about war resisters was still available on the CIC website as of February 4, 2009.

Last June a motion was adopted by Parliament directing the Government of Canada to establish a program to facilitate permanent resident status for American Iraq War resisters and immediately stop removal proceedings against them. Since then, three resisters have been forced back to the U.S. by the Harper government to be punished for their conscientious objection to the illegal war. The resisters' objections are notably similar to Canada's refusal to participate in the war, and polls that show a large majority of Canadians oppose the Iraq War and support Iraq War resisters. On Thursday, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration passed a motion reaffirming Parliament's June 2008 vote in support of letting Iraq War resisters stay in Canada.

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PDF copy of CIC page two weeks ago. Scroll down for section on "Draft-age Americans in Canada".

Same page today.

13 comments:

redsock said...

"As soon as all the corrections which happened to be necessary in any particular number of The Times had been assembled and collated, that number would be reprinted, the original copy destroyed, and the corrected copy placed on the files in its stead. This process of continuous alteration was applied not only to newspapers, but to books, periodicals, pamphlets, posters, leaflets, films, sound-tracks, cartoons, photographs — to every kind of literature or documentation which might conceivably hold any political or ideological significance.

"Day by day and almost minute by minute the past was brought up to date. In this way every prediction made by the Party could be shown by documentary evidence to have been correct, nor was any item of news, or any expression of opinion, which conflicted with the needs of the moment, ever allowed to remain on record. ..."

Orwell

MSEH said...

Wow. Both to L-girl's post and redsock's comment. This is really disheartening...

Kevin said...

I thought you would like to know that Speaker Pelosi's office has an appointment for Mid-March to discuss a bill drafted to provide for repatriation of any Iraq War Resistor without jail time. As I understand it, the bill requires 120 hours of Community Service.

No, its not perfect, and I'd like to see that changed, but its much better than making them out to be criminals.

L-girl said...

Thanks, Kevin. What do you mean "has an appointment to discuss"? Who is she discussing it with?

It will be interesting to see who the bill includes, or if it gets anywhere.

Do you have a link?

Benjamin said...

The Internet Archive still has it.

L-girl said...

Excellent. Thanks, Benjamin.

Satyagraha: "Hold on to the truth."

Cornelia said...

The Harper-Kenney gang is awful!!! Try as they might, they can't erase history, however. But the mere attempt sounds crazy.

Thanks so much for the info on Nancy Pelosi's bill, I really appreciate it, Kevin and Benjamin!

Kevin said...

Unsurprisingly, L-girl, it dropped off the speaker's agenda website today... I'll try to track what I can down on it today.

L-girl said...

Thanks Kevin!

Cornelia said...

Kevin and Laura, do you think she won't introduce the bill in Congress? Do you think she has been intimidated into not following through with it or...?

Cornelia said...

I just wrote Kenney a protest email. Here you go:

Dear Minister Kenney,

OTTAWA — Until very recently, the Citizenship and Immigration Canada website included a page that accurately presented Canada's history of accepting Vietnam War resisters during the 1960s and 70s, some of whom were draft resisters and many others who had signed up voluntarily and later deserted as conscientious objectors.

Within the last two weeks, this history has been removed from the ministry's website.

I have found this so hard to understand that I would like to voice my objections and my protest:

Is this an attempt on your side to keep people from pointing out that under Trudeau, Canada was a refuge from militarism for the Vietnam war resisters and from demanding that Canada be again a refuge from militarism and that the Iraq war resisters be allowed to stay?
Try as you might, but you can never erase the reality and the truth from history and so many people bear witness that under Trudeau, for Vietnam resisters, both deserters and draft dodgers, Canada was indeed a refuge from militarism. So who on earth might possibly buy into all that, particularly in our enlightened era?

Former US President Bush is no longer in office and still, the motion passed by Parliament which would enable war resisters to stay in Canada by means of a political solution, has not been implemented.

And anyway, I take the free world my witness that the delays in refugee and immigration proceedings are not due to the war resisters' claims, contrary to what you said, but to understaffing. Also, mosts of the refugee claims that are pending have not been filed by Iraq war resisters either, it is but a small percentage, and if the resolution had been implemented, which would let them stay, they would no longer need to seek remedy for their grievances with the courts and the immigration system.

Sincerely,
Cornelia Maier

Boyd M L Reimer said...

Harper can revise the govt. website, but you can all fight back in Wikipedia by becoming Wikipedia editors:

In the interests of "holding onto the truth" about the Vietnam era, see this article and then help hold on to the truth by contributing sources and links to that article and any other Wikipedia articles.

For example see the the list of Iraq War Resisters, and all the articles linked to it's "See Also" section.

Being a Wikipedia editor is a great way to stop the historical revisionists.

Cornelia said...

Thanks, Boyd!
I know Harper and Kenney's website is not the only source for research, to put it extremely mildly, haha...