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1.14.2010

prorogation and war resisters: an obvious connection

There's an excellent story on GlobalPost about US war resisters in Canada. Some of you may want to leave a supportive comment, or write a quick letter in response, by going here.
Canada has long been a haven for Americans escaping their wars.

During the American Revolutionary War in the late 1700s, an estimated 50,000 colonists who wanted to remain loyal to Britain fled north to what would later become Canada. Thousands more crossed the border during the Civil War, using an underground railroad that led escaped slaves to freedom.

Canada's role as a sanctuary during the Vietnam War is well known. The conflict spurred an estimated 50,000 Americans old enough for military service to immigrate north, according to sociologist John Hagan, author of "Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters in Canada." Hagan was among the draft dodgers and military deserters that did so.

Many Canadians would consider this tradition a noble one. But it has come to an end.

Since the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, some 200 American soldiers have fled to Canada looking for asylum. The Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is determined to send them back.

Let's not forget the very real connection between Stephen Harper's prorogation of Parliament and his government's treatment of war resisters. The House of Commons voted - not once, but twice - to stop the deportations and allow US war resisters to stay in Canada. Both times, the Harper government ignored the will of the majority.

All indications show that the majority of Canadians want Canada to give refuge to the war resisters. But Stephen Harper doesn't care what the majority wants, because he doesn't care about democracy.

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