Back in the 1960's, an estimated 100,000 Americans fled to Canada, rather than being drafted into the armed forces of the United States. Former CBC broadcaster Andy Barrie was one of them. He writes:
In Vietnam, it’s called the American War. Not, mind you, the North American War, because this country, blessedly, refused to be part of it. Just as we refused to join George Bush’s so-called “Coalition of the Willing” to stop the spread of those non-existent Weapons of Mass Destruction.At the time, Stephen Harper, as Leader of the Official Opposition, actually apologized to the American people, making it clear he would have said “ready-aye-ready” to Bush. Years later Harper would reverse himself, calling the Iraq war “absolutely an error.” But that didn’t stop him from going after those young soldiers who made the mistake of equating our country with its government and sought sanctuary in Canada.
A lot fewer Americans fled to Canada. And Stephen Harper deported six of them to face court martials. There are still 15 Americans facing the same fate. It's time to put an end to another part of Harper's legacy:
There are currently 15 known active cases of conscientious objectors in Canada. There were once estimates of 200 American Iraq War resisters in Canada, many of them underground waiting for those who went public to win status before coming forward.Sad, nasty business, just one among many pieces of nastiness Justin Trudeau promised to undo if he was elected. Well, he was, and with a majority. But he’s yet to tell government lawyers to call it quits to Harper’s deportations.
Harper's justification for sending the six objectors back to the United States was as porous as the thirty-one charges against Mike Duffy:
Harper, in his time, claimed that since military desertion was a crime, Canada would be granting sanctuary to criminals. This is patent nonsense. These people broke no laws in Canada and we have no business enforcing American law. Follow this logic and it would have meant deporting every escaped slave who reached freedom in Canada on the Underground Railroad, as they were considered property in the U.S. and allowing them to stay would have made us recipients of stolen goods.
It's time to step up and do the right thing, Justin.