Jeremy Hinzman faces a court martial and a possible sentence of five years for desertion.
Top court refuses to hear cases of U.S. deserters
So what do you think?Canada's top court will not hear the appeals of two American army deserters whose requests for refugee status were denied.
The Supreme Court of Canada has refused to hear the cases of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who each deserted to Canada in 2004 after learning they were to be deployed to Iraq.
The high court, as usual, gave no reasons for its refusal.
The men both applied for refugee status in 2004.
The Immigration and Refugee Board rejected their claims in 2005. Both the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal have also refused to review the cases.
Hinzman is believed to be the first American soldier to have fled to Canada because of the Iraq war, but dozens more may be in the country.
He enlisted in the U.S. army as a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division and deserted in 2004 to avoid going to Iraq. He fled to Canada with his wife and preschool-age son.
Now living in Toronto and working as a bike courier, Hinzman faces a court martial and a possible five-year prison sentence if he returns to the U.S.
In response to the ruling, the War Resisters Support Campaign said the federal government should act to allow deserters to take refuge in Canada. The group is planning to hold a demonstration in Toronto on Thursday night.
"We call on Parliament to take a stand by enacting a provision that would allow U.S. war resisters and their families to stay in Canada," said actor and activist Shirley Douglas.
"The Supreme Court has handed the issue back to Parliament. It is urgent that Parliament demonstrate leadership and act in accordance with Canadian tradition."
A release issued by the group on Thursday said a June 2007 poll by Strategic Communications showed 64.6 per cent of respondents in Ontario believe war resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada. The poll had an error margin of four per cent, 19 times out of 20.
During his three-day hearing before the immigration board, Hinzman said he sought refugee status because he opposed the war in Iraq on moral grounds and thought the U.S. invasion violated international human rights standards.
An immigration panel in March 2005 denied Hinzman political asylum, saying he failed to convince them he would be persecuted if he returned to the U.S. The board also denied asylum to Hinzman's wife and son.
The Immigration and Refugee Board members said the U.S. is a democratic country and would provide Hinzman with a fair trial.
Most Canadians usually have no issues with US Deserters and them coming across to our borders. It was a huge situation back in the Vietnam era where we let in thousands of dodgers/deserters:
Canada and the Vietnam War - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
So do you feel these people should have the right to apply for staying in Canada, or should they be sent back to the US to face court martial in something they have no faith or belief in?A large number of draft dodgers, young American men facing conscription for the Vietnam War, decided to flee to Canada rather than serve in the American armed forces. These young men became concentrated in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. They were at first assisted by the Student Union for Peace Action, a campus-based Canadian anti-war group with connections to Students for a Democratic Society in the United States. Canadian immigration policy at the time made it easy for immigrants from all countries to obtain legal status in Canada. By late 1967, dodgers were being assisted primarily by several locally based anti-draft groups (over twenty of them), such as the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme. As a counselor for the Programme, Mark Satin wrote the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada, in 1968. It sold over 100,000 copies in eight editions.
Following the draft-dodgers, deserters from the American forces also made their way to Canada. There was pressure from the United States and Canada to have them arrested, or at least stopped at the border. In May 1969 the Canadian government ceased its active discrimination against deserters, after facing extensive criticism.
The influx of these young men, who in many cases were well educated and politically leftist, affected Canada's academic and cultural institutions, and Canadian society at large. These new arrivals tended to balance the "brain drain" that Canada had experienced. While some draft dodgers returned to the United States after they were pardoned by Jimmy Carter in 1977, roughly half of them stayed in Canada. The deserters have not been pardoned and may still face pro forma arrest and release, as the case of Allen Abney demonstrated in March 2006.
Estimates of how many Americans settled in Canada to avoid service vary greatly. Canadian immigration statistics show that 20,000 to 30,000 draft-eligible American men came to Canada as immigrants during the Vietnam era; estimates of the total number of American citizens who moved to Canada due to their opposition to the war range from 50,000 to 125,000 This exodus was "the largest politically motivated migration from the United States since the United Empire Loyalists moved north to oppose the American Revolution." Major communities of war resisters formed in the Slocan Valley and on Baldwin Street in Toronto.
I hear many hear say that if you don't like what's going on... to leave.... so these guys are trying to leave, only to be sent back.
I think the big loophole here that's a difference between now and Vietnam, is there isn't a Draft factor in place.
Personally, if they don't feel they should die for something they don't believe in, then they have a right to reject participation, and if heading to Canada is their answer, so be it. My opinion is you join up to the military to serve for your country and defend the people.... but this current situation is void of all of this.