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Canadian government deports U.S. war resister

Published Jul 19, 2008 9:24 AM

The minority Conservative government of Canada moved July 15 to deport 25-year-old U.S. war resister Robin Long, who would not fight in Iraq. Despite polls showing that 64 percent of Canadians want to grant sanctuary to Iraq War resisters and the passage of a parliamentary motion that would allow them to immigrate to Canada, the Federal Court of Canada dismissed a last-ditch attempt to delay the deportation process.

“I was just shocked at [the] ruling,” said Bob Ages of the Vancouver War Resisters Support Campaign. “It just flies in the face of everything that we and every Canadian know.” (Globe and Mail, July 15) He said the court misunderstood the situation facing Long. “I do not think there is any doubt someone being up in Canada, and a vocal opponent to the war, will be treated harshly by the American military. ... There is no question he will be court-martialed and will receive severe punishment.” Long is expected to be imprisoned at Fort Knox, the same base where PFC James Burmeister faces court martial this week (see accompanying article).

“This is a gift from [Canadian Prime Minister] Stephen Harper to George Bush,” said Gerry Condon of Project Safe Haven. “And it is a gift to the headline writers, who will trumpet that Canada is no longer a safe haven for AWOL GIs.

“But it is an illusion,” he added, “because this is not the first of many deportations. It may be the first and the last. A minority government that ignores the will of its people and its Parliament will not be allowed to rule much longer.” Federal elections are expected to take place in Canada this fall. (press release, July 15)

Project Safe Haven, a war resister advocacy group based in Seattle, called on war resister supporters to gather on July 15 at Peace Arch Park on the U.S.-Canada border at Blaine, Wash. There they will be joined by Canadian supporters.