Tuesday, July 15, 2008


An anti-war demonstration is happening at the Vancouver-Seattle international border crossing today to condemn Ottawa's decision to deport American army deserter Robin Long.

The deportation order was upheld Monday by Canada's Federal Court. If the order is carried out today, it is believed that Long would become the first American war resister to be sent back to the United States.

The 25-year-old Long of Boise, Idaho fled to Canada to avoid serving in Iraq. He was arrested in Nelson, B.C., last October on a Canada-wide warrant.

Long had said he tried to gain refugee status in Canada because he believes he would suffer harm if he had to return to his home country.

There are an estimated 200 American army deserters who have sought refugee status in Canada.

Alternet reports:
"...just last week, another war resister, Corey Glass, narrowly averted deportation -- for the time being -- when a federal court granted him a stay while his case makes its way through the Canadian legal system. Dozens of other cases remain in a similar state of legal limbo. Eight could result in imminent deportation."

In the ruling issued yesterday afternoon, Justice Ann Mactavish wrote that "Mr. Long has not provided clear and non-speculative evidence to support his contention that he would be singled out for harsh treatment by the Americans because of the publicity associated with this case."

In a recent Angus Reid poll, almost two-thirds of Canadians said they want U.S. Iraq War conscientious objectors to be allowed to stay in Canada. The government decision and court ruling also flies in the face of the Parliamentary motion adopted June 3 by a majority of MPs calling for the conscientious objectors to be allowed to remain in the country to apply for permanent resident status, and for deportation proceedings to cease immediately.

Lee Zaslofsky, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign commenting on the decision stated, "The federal government's single-minded determination to deny the legitimacy of conscientious objection to what is plainly an illegal war rife with human rights abuses is abhorrent. Robin himself has been harassed by authorities by being arrested for violating a deportation order of which neither he nor his counsel were ever advise . He's been held in jail since July 4 and treated with disrespect by our government which seems intent on imposing American military law in Canada."

The Regina Leader Post reports American war resisters in Canada have been much in the news recently. The Leader Post writes, "Last week, Canadian courts granted deserter Corey Glass a stay of removal and, in a separate case, ordered the Immigration and Refugee Board to reconsider the failed refugee claim of another resister, Joshua Key."

The following is from Peace Arch News.

Deportation protesters at border
By Laura Baziuk - Peace Arch News

About 30 people gathered at the Peace Arch Tuesday morning to protest the deportation of American war resister Robin Long.

Bearing brightly coloured signs, both American and Canadian members of the Vancouver War Resisters’ Support Campaign protested Monday’s ruling of a federal court to deny Long’s application for a stay of his deportation order, after the court also rejected refugee status.

The 25-year-old Boise, Idaho, man was ordered in March 2005 to report to Iraq for service. After two years as a tanker in the U.S. army at Fort Knox, he escaped to Eastern Canada and applied for refugee status. He has been in custody on a Canadian Border Services Agency warrant since July 4.

He has now been deported to the United States, but Long supporter Carleen Pickard said it is not known what could happen to him.

Long could be jailed, court-martialed, deployed or face the death penalty, Pickard said at the Douglas crossing.

The New Democratic Party yesterday called on Prime Minister Stephen Harper to stop Long’s deportation.

“The Canadian government and the Canadian people do not support George Bush’s illegal war in Iraq,” said NDP MP Bill Siksay in the statement. “We must have the courage of those convictions and back them up by ensuring that Americans who take a stand against that war receive a welcome in Canada.”

No comments: