conrad black vs u.s. war resisters: the most whopping double-standard of them all

The Government of Canada welcomes an ex-convict who renounced Canadian citizenship, a man who defrauded seniors of their pensions and life savings. Indeed, the path for his return was cleared while he was still in prison! But people who refused to kill innocent civilians, who courageously defied the US military and refused to participate in an illegal war of aggression, are called "bogus refugees" and deported.

I'd say the double-standard is mind-boggling, but no one can be surprised by anything this government does anymore. From the War Resisters Support Campaign:
Conrad Black case underlines double-standard faced by Iraq War resisters
Supporters call on Jason Kenney to rescind discriminatory Operational Bulletin 202

The decision by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to grant Conrad Black a Temporary Resident Permit (TRP) has exposed the double-standard in the Conservative government's treatment of US Iraq War resisters who have sought asylum in Canada.

"Immigration Minister Jason Kenney claims that there was no political intervention in the decision to give Conrad Black a Temporary Resident Permit," said Michelle Robidoux, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "But he has persistently intervened in the cases of US soldiers and directed immigration officers to red-flag them as potential criminals."

Jason Kenney's controversial directive to immigration officers, Operational Bulletin 202, specifically references war resisters from the US armed forces and implies that their cases should be treated differently than deserters from other countries.

In Conrad Black's application for a TRP, Mr. Kenney said that he instructed his officials in February "to deal with any such application on their own, without any input from myself or my office to ensure that it was handled in a completely independent fashion."

The War Resisters Support Campaign denounces this double standard by the Conservative government, and is calling for Minister Kenney to immediately rescind Operational Bulletin 202 so that Iraq War resisters can get a decision without political interference.

"US soldiers who refused to participate in the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq are being criminalized and singled out by the Conservative government, despite broad support across Canada for their conscientious stand," said Robidoux. "If, as Minister Kenney claims, this isn't a case of one set of rules for the rich and powerful and another for ordinary people, then he should prove it by rescinding Operational Bulletin 202," she concluded.

Amnesty International Canada and former IRB Chair Peter Showler have called for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Operational Bulletin 202 to be rescinded because it "fails to recognize that military desertion for reasons of conscience is in fact clearly recognized as a legitimate ground for refugee protection" and it "misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers."
This CBC story gets it, as does the Montreal Gazette.

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