us war resisters in canada: calling on our government to have courage to let them stay

As part of Let Them Stay Week 2011, war resister Dean Walcott recently spoke at a screening of "War Resisters Speak Out". Dean served two tours of duty in Iraq, but it wasn't until he was stationed at a military hospital in Germany that he saw the true cost of war, in the dead and horribly dying, and their families who had come to say goodbye.

Here's an excellent letter written to The Peterborough Examiner in response to ignorant criticism of Dean and other US Iraq War resisters in Canada. (No link yet.)
Resisters took brave stand and should be welcomed

Re "Desertion is still a crime" (Letter, Jan. 27)

Nick Butler is claiming that war resisters like Dean Walcott should not be admitted to Canada as they have committed the "offence" of refusing to fight in a war that is widely seen as illegitimate. However, there are some considerations that Mr. Butler seems to have overlooked.

The war Mr. Walcott is resisting against is a war that Canada refused to participate in. Canada has a history of allowing war resisters into the country, and not just during the Vietnam War. For example, Canada has allowed Iranian soldiers in after they refused to fight in Iraq. And while the "crime" of desertion is indeed on the books in Canada, the Canadian military does not attempt to track down and punish Canadians who refuse their orders. Yet if resisters like Walcott are sent back to the U.S.A. they will face lengthy prison sentences.

So instead of calling for Walcott to return home and have the courage to face an illegitimate punishment, perhaps we should instead be calling for our government to have the courage to allow these individuals to stay (which shouldn't be hard, given that the U.S. isn't even looking for them), as they have bravely acted according to their conscience.

Matthew Davidson
On behalf of OPIRG-Peterborough

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