U.S. deserters seek Canadian residency

by on April 21, 2008 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, Organizing, Peace Movement

TORONTO, April 20 (UPI) — About 200 U.S. military deserters in Canada are awaiting a decision as to whether they can take permanent residency there, a group says.The Buffalo (N.Y.) News reported Sunday a resolution before the Canadian House of Commons would allow deserters, including Patrick Hart, to seek residency there. “This is home for me now,” said Hart, 34, a Buffalo native living in the Toronto area with his wife and their son. “I love Canada. A lot of us have been here a few years and planted roots.”

Hart told the newspaper he went AWOL because the reasons for going to war in Iraq were based on lies since no weapons of mass destruction were ever found. “I understand that I volunteered for this and part of my oath was to defend the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But what do you do if your enemy is domestic in the Bush regime?” Hart asked.

A spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign in Toronto said she believes it’s likely Parliament will pass the resolution. “I may be dreaming in color, but they have nothing to gain by deporting U.S. war resisters,” spokeswoman Michelle Robidoux was quoted as saying.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc April 22, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Harper will kick them out, the Canadians are denying all kinds of these claims under the Conservatives. They won’t even step up to stop their own citizen, Marc Emery, being extradited to the States to face pot seed charges. How are they going to persuade his government to keep 2000 Americans?


OB Joe April 24, 2008 at 9:41 am

If McCain wins, a lot more of us will be knocking on Canadian doors. So, somebody should wake the good-neighbors to our north to get ready. I hope McBush doesn’t win and I will be working to make sure that doesn’t happen, but there is always the possibility that the Dems cut each other up so badly, they’re in the ER while McCain flys to victory.


OB Joe April 24, 2008 at 9:42 am

Oh, by the way, it’s 200 Americans, not 2000.


Marc May 6, 2008 at 3:32 pm

Yeah typo.

I’ve got news for you Joe. The “good neighbors to our north” do not want a wave of American immigration.

Anyone who thinks they can just immigrate north if they don’t like the political climate in the US is fooling themselves. Canada’s immigration system is not easy to get through, and Americans are not given any special preference because they are next-door.

The Canadian government especially doesn’t want Iraq war deserters. The situation today is very different than Vietnam. Canada tightened it’s immigration laws in 1993 with Bill C-86. This was back when Canada was getting over 5000 Somalian refugees a year. (Now it is in the low thousands every year)

During the late 60s and early 70s Canada was under the Liberals and Pierre Trudeau, who declared the country a “refuge from militarism”. An estimated 50,000 Americans dodged the draft and ended up staying in Canada. many near Vancouver. They were given “landed immigrant” status.

Today, Canada is governed by Steven Harper and the Conservatives who maintain a close relationship with Bush. The first Iraq War deserters have already had their refugee claims denied by the Immigration and Refugee board, and had their request for an appeal to the Supreme Court denied. Jeremy Hinzman is one of those.

The Immigration Board’s position is that they only take in political refugees. Hinzman and others are not ” fleeing political persecution.” If you are not a refugee then you need to be a business owner, family member of a citizen, or a “skilled worker”. The National Occupational Classification (NOC) list is what Canada uses to determine if you are a skilled worker.

If anyone is really serious about becoming a Canuck, check these:

Who can apply

The NOC List


Frank Gormlie May 21, 2008 at 3:16 pm

Marc – thanks, that was very helpful.


Frank Gormlie May 29, 2008 at 1:56 pm

This was received today 5/29/08 from Gerry Condon:
The motion to allow war resisters to immigrate to Canada (and to halt all deportation proceedings) was introduced and debated in the House of Commons today. The War Resisters Support Campaign has finally secured the support of the Liberal Party leadership. The vote will be on Monday and we expect it to pass!

This motion is nonbinding, and the Conservative government may choose to ignore it. Even so, this will strengthen our hand immensely. The will of the Canadian people is being made manifest in their Parliament. This will be a historic victory for war resisters everywhere.

For more information, check out Laura Kaminker’s blog,

And check in later with http://www.resisters.ca and http://www.soldiersayno.blogspot.com.

Keep on keepin on!

for peace and justice,
Gerry Condon

(206) 499-1220


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