Saturday, July 04, 2009

Chip, Chip...Chip

Here's yet another example of the chipping away at the mortar that has kept the bricks of this country together.

Text on how both draft dodgers and resisters of the Vietnam War were ultimately allowed to stay in Canada suddenly vanished from the Citizenship and Immigration site earlier this year.

"Starting in 1965, Canada became a choice haven for American draft-dodgers and deserters," said the passage as it appeared online in February.

"Although some of these transplanted Americans returned home after the Vietnam War, most of them put down roots in Canada, making up the largest, best-educated group this country had ever received."

The government denies that the passage was removed for what I would say are obvious reasons:

The Harper government is denying claims that it stripped a section on Vietnam from a federal website to boost its case for deporting Iraq war resisters.

Except, this government has absolutely NO credibility anymore, on anything, let alone denying that they are trying to shape this country into their ideological image.

Fast-forward to 2009, and the Harper government takes a much dimmer view of dozens of U.S. soldiers who've come north after refusing to serve in Iraq -- an invasion never sanctioned by the United Nations.

Some have already been deported to face military jail terms ranging from about six to 15 months.
Several others expect to receive removal orders at any time.


This actually smacks of more than disregarding a Canadian value, but it highlights the disregard the Conservatives have for the UN too.

What's the Conservative position on this larger matter?

An internal document released under the Access to Information Act summarizes the government's position:
"Unlike American draft dodgers who immigrated to Canada during the Vietnam conflict, the individuals coming to Canada now voluntarily joined the United States military and have subsequently deserted."


Which of course is once again not the whole story:

A spokesman for the War Resisters Support Campaign says the Conservative stance is flawed and misleading.

In fact, many Americans volunteered to serve in Vietnam only to recoil from a horrific mission and flee to Canada, said Ken Marciniec. They, too, were allowed to settle here after 1969 following some initial legal wrangling.

Marciniec has been stonewalled since February in his attempts through the Access to Information Act to discover why the accurate history of Vietnam -- including the welcoming of both draft dodgers and deserters -- was cut from the government website. At first his applications were delayed, then he received a heavily censored response dated June 26 that offered no explanation, he said.


The department does indeed confirm that the passages have been removed but not for the reason you might logically conclude. No, it's been removed because:

An "accessibility audit" found "it did not comply with (federal) common look and feel requirements" that help viewers use websites, said spokeswoman Karen Shadd in an emailed response.

Um, is Sarah Palin writing department responses? There are two ways to interpret that I guess. The 'look and feel' wasn't CPC worthy, or, the group is completely incapable of maintaining content while updating a site. I'm thinking it's the former.

Oh and for my friends who in the comments section of my last post were so quick to point to the government doing what Canadians want:

The majority opposition in Parliament has passed a non-binding motion to let Iraq resisters stay.

And an Angus Reid poll last year found 64 per cent of Canadians want the removals to end, and would support a program to offer permanent resident status to the troops.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney drew fire from Amnesty International and other critics earlier this year when he described the AWOL soldiers as "bogus" refugee claimants.


Not so much.

A joint letter signed June 26 by the Liberals, NDP and the Bloc Quebecois urged the Conservatives "to show compassion for those who have chosen not to participate in a war that was not sanctioned by the United Nations."

Nice gesture, but since when did Harper listen to the will of the people, or the will of parliament for that matter?

Chip, chip....chip.

Addition - A good friend just brought this to my attention. Just to show the trend.

45 comments:

RuralSandi said...

Hmmm....interesting isn't that his mentor, Tom Flanigan (born in Illinois) is a draft dodger (came in 1968 I believe).

Double standards again with Harper.

Robbie said...

I am ex serviceman from that era and take issue with one of your comments. "Although some of these transplanted Americans .... best-educated group this country had ever received." The statement may be true but I believe the vast majority were "I am entitled to my entiltlement" selfish Liberals and have not added any moral value to the country. In simple terms "USERS" for their personal benefit.

KNB said...

I'm not sure I knew that Sandi. Somehow, I'm not surprised though.

KNB said...

Robbie, ex serviceman from where? Canada? US?

To begin with, the comment is not mine. It was on the government website...until it wasn't.

The statement may be true? If it's true, it's true and unless you can provide evidence that it's not, the rest of your remark is beyond ridiculous.

Selfish Liberals? Gawd man, you've got your mirrored glasses on backwards.

Moral value? Ha! Are you freakin kidding me? Harper wouldn't know a moral value if it sat in his lap. We've never been led by a man less moral.

If the Viet Nam service men and women came here and were the best educated group this country ever received, it's pretty tough to figure out what they used? They work, pay taxes and contribute, just as I'm sure you do.

What's your real beef here?

Proud Canadian said...

I'm just wondering,would you approve our men and women serving in Afghanistan today to escape to a country that doesn't support the Afghan war and seek asylum?

I hope you know that would be an illegal act to go AWOL.

Just sayin...

L-girl said...

Thanks for posting this.

L-girl said...

Regarding the question from Proud Canadian, members of the Canadian Forces cannot be compelled to serve in a particular mission if they find it morally objectionable. They are allowed to request a different assignment. So they needn't go AWOL and needn't seek refuge in another country.

US servicemen and servicewomen do not have that option. The soldiers who went AWOL and came to Canada first tried every means possible to be reassigned or otherwise not deploy to Iraq. There were no options. Their choices were Iraq or prison - or prison, then Iraq anyway.

It's useful to check the facts before forming an opinion.

KNB said...

It's a different circumstance of course Proud. UN and all that...

But to your question, I would expect that our service men and women could receive decent treatment here if they fundamentally disagreed with the Afghanistan war.

Proud Canadian said...

L-girl

"Regarding the question from Proud Canadian, members of the Canadian Forces cannot be compelled to serve in a particular mission if they find it morally objectionable. They are allowed to request a different assignment. So they needn't go AWOL and needn't seek refuge in another country.

US servicemen and servicewomen do not have that option. The soldiers who went AWOL and came to Canada first tried every means possible to be reassigned or otherwise not deploy to Iraq. There were no options. Their choices were Iraq or prison - or prison, then Iraq anyway.

It's useful to check the facts before forming an opinion."

It is illegal in the U.S.get it. There is no draft going on there. They choose to join on a voluntary basis. What they did was an illegal act they went AWOL.

KNB said...

L-girl...thank you for that information.

In a sense, it's another example of how Canada is 'built' differently. I for one, don't want to see that dismantled.

Proud Canadian said...

KNB

"It's a different circumstance of course Proud. UN and all that...

But to your question, I would expect that our service men and women could receive decent treatment here if they fundamentally disagreed with the Afghanistan war."

In our country parliament decides where and when we go to war not the U.N. I think it's the same in the U.S. If people in the U.S. didn't like the Iraq war they could have kicked Mr.Bush out after his first term. Just the way they decided to put in Mr.Obama into power. He said that he would pull troops out of Iraq and increase them in Afghanistan that's what's happening now.

When people go AWOL they put other people in danger in their group in danger. If you don't want to risk of going to war don't join, it's that simple period.

There is no excuse!

KNB said...

Proud, your question had to do with Canadian soldiers. L-girl answered you. Succinctly.

Yes, the Americans here are AWOL...that's the point. Seeking justice and refuge in a country that until Harper sat, believed in compassion and justice.

We no longer do apparently. On Death Row somewhere? Tough! Cleared by CSIS and RCMP but still living in an embassy? Tough!

The list goes on. You either believe in our laws, institutions and values or you don't.

If another country's stance supercedes our convictions, who the hell are we?

Proud Canadian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Proud Canadian said...

KNB we are not talking death row. We are talking about people going "AWOL". You talk about our laws fine! Show me a link of a law that says that peoples from other countries that go "AWOL" should be allowed to stay in this country.

"Proud, your question had to do with Canadian soldiers. L-girl answered you. Succinctly."

You and L-girl don't seem to understand. They have their own rules. Were they forced to join the military humm? Even I know that if I would join the military one day I may have to go into a war zone. Common people hey!

"DON'T JOIN THE MILITARY IF YOU ARE AFRAID TO GO INTO COMBAT ONE DAY!" If you and others don't understand this than you will never get it and it would be useless to continue on with this conversation.

wilson said...

US citizens broke US law in US territory, send them back to Obama.
If it was just the Iraq war the AWOL US soldiers are protesting, then they can ask to be sent to Afghaistan.

Don't ask OUR government to have a heart,
the AWOL US citizens should be asking The One, the almighty Obama, to welcome them home.
They should be appealing to Americans, THEIR country, not Canadians.

Enough Trudeaupian ideology.
These people are NOT Canadians.

wilson said...

Why doesn't MI call all those 'connections' he has to the Obama admin and ask them to take them back and offer the AWOLs amnesty?

Oh right, American soldiers are getting killed fighting for their country, it would dishonour their brave soldiers.

And that's exactly what keeping AWOLs here in Canada does,
it dishonours OUR brave soldiers!
OUR 121 soldiers and their families that paid the ultimate price for OUR freedom.

KNB said...

I just added an update to the post. It has to do with the trend we are seeing, for those who are interested.

KNB said...

wilson: Don't ask OUR government to have a heart

Ohhh...do you ever sum up your and your dear leader's feelings in that one line.

Disgusting.

KNB said...

wilson: Why doesn't MI call all those 'connections' he has to the Obama admin and ask them to take them back and offer the AWOLs amnesty?

The last time I checked, Ignatieff was not the PM.

Still not getting the fact that the Conservatives are in government? What's confusing you?

You know wilson, I know you're not dumb. What really perplexes me is your unyeilding defense for what is morally, logically, wrong and indefensible.

I understand that you want the Conservatives to be in power...but wouldn't you prefer that to be done with honour?

L-girl said...

There are more important things than US laws.

The former soldiers who seek refuge in Canada have refused to participate in actions that are recognized by international law as illegal and immoral. Actions that violate the Geneva Conventions - the systematic and methodical abuse and degredation of civilians - rape - murder - torture.

Under international law, it is not only a soldier's right to refuse such orders, it is a soldier's DUTY.

It should be Canada's privilege to welcome these men and women. They are incredibly courageous, principled people. They have already made Canada a better place by their presence.

All polls show that almost 2/3 (64%) of Canadians are in favour of allowing them to stay. Parliament has voted on it twice, and both times affirmed its support for the war resisters. (How many issues do all three opposition parties agree on??)

Only the arrogant, US-scyophant Harper government stands in the way.

Proud Canadian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Proud Canadian said...

L-girl

"There are more important things than US laws.

The former soldiers who seek refuge in Canada have refused to participate in actions that are recognized by international law as illegal and immoral. Actions that violate the Geneva Conventions - the systematic and methodical abuse and degredation of civilians - rape - murder - torture."

Do you realize how pathetic your statement sounds like? On the other hand,just forget it. Either you just don't get it or you just don't want to get it. Either-way this conversation is over.

L-girl said...

I spend most of my waking hours working on this issue, so I would say I "get it" as well as anyone here.

Fortunately for Canada, Proud's brand of "getting it" is still in the minority.

Unfortunately, that minority holds a disproportionate share of power.

KNB, thanks for blogging about this. If you are interested in learning more, please visit resisters.ca, or my own blog under the "war resisters" category.

This Weds is a big date in our campaign. Anything you can do to help support Kim Rivera would be greatly appreciated.

penlan said...

Proud Canadian:
"Either-way this conversation is over."

Typical hard right Conservative/Reformer. Trying to control the conversation by walking away. Terminate it so therefore it's over & they "won".

KNB said...

L-girl, I'll do what I can. Do you have a presence on Twitter?

It's a great way to spread the word.

I'll spread what I can tomorrow..

KNB said...

penlan...it's kind of like that relationship that goes bad isn't it?

Person storms off because they can't really make an argument.

At some point, most of us grow up.

Proud Canadian said...

KNB

"Person storms off because they can't really make an argument."

KNB don't try to act smart. I stopped the conversation because we were just going in circles that's why. You and the likes don't seem to understand. I've made my points on this you disagree fine. You want to continue the conversation? O.K. fine,what else do you have to say about this humm? I thought so! So don't give me the "storms off" crap!

Penlan:

"Typical hard right Conservative/Reformer. Trying to control the conversation by walking away. Terminate it so therefore it's over & they "won"."

Typical hard right? What the heck are you talking about? You have absolute no Idea what you're saying when it comes to me.

Not that's anyone's business,but would a hard right ever vote for Jean Chrétien Liberals? I don't think so! I also never ever voted reform party. Hard right my butt.

Can you just give me 5 examples that I've said that makes you think that I'm hard right? I thought so! It's just typical people like yourself who would just say anything without any proof what's so ever.

Gayle said...

Hi wilson

I asked you a question on an earlier post, and I was wondering if you were going to answer it?

Or does engaging in actual discussion sidetrack you from your mission of spreading CPC talking points wherever you go. I know those talking points have a difficult time withstanding debate...

penlan said...

"penlan...it's kind of like that relationship that goes bad isn't it?"

Lol - yes, knb. I grew up in a Conservative household & that's always how it was. All my brothers are like that, still. It's impossible to have a reasonable, rational discussion with them as they eventually become angry & say "end of discussion. Period!" Or they walk off. And it's been many, many years since we were kids - we're all aging boomers. Some people never grow up, in some areas anyway.

PC,
If you are a Liberal then I'm surprised. Comments made by you here & at other blogs give the appearance of your being a very strong Conservative. Don't think I've encountered a Lib yet that that comes across so strongly as a Con.

RuralSandi said...

Proud Canadian - just curious. Have you ever been in the military, fought in any mission, talked to soldiers with post tramatic stress disorder?

Have you ever known and/or talked to a draft dodger from the Viet Nam era?

Omar said...

"Can you just give me 5 examples that I've said that makes you think that I'm hard right?"

Well, lets see if I can give you five.

1. You believe government tries to do too much and that makes things worse not better. If government did less for people that would encourage them to do more for themselves.

2. You support government-sponsored welfare programs, but you emphatically insist these programs should help folks become independent not make them evermore dependant on government.

3. In foreign affairs you take an extremely hard line on global terrorism, communism, etc. Military intervention, not diplomacy, is your preferred first line of response.

4. You believe an adversary culture of left-leaning intellectuals, feminists and assorted malcontents exist to undermine your cherished Canadian values and way of life.

5. If you are a subscriber to christian evangelism then you equate morality with the moral code of christian fundamentalism. And that is just plain horrid for everyone involved.

L-girl said...

KNB, I'm avoiding Twitter, but the War Resisters Support Campaign is on it. Thanks for your support.

We have a Facebook group too, if you're interested.

L-girl said...

War Resisters on FB:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/group.php?gid=2226085734

Proud Canadian said...

PC,
"If you are a Liberal then I'm surprised. Comments made by you here & at other blogs give the appearance of your being a very strong Conservative. Don't think I've encountered a Lib yet that that comes across so strongly as a Con."

I don't belong to any party what's so ever. I'm a centre-right not left-wing. You don't think in the liberal party today there is no-one who is right-wing?

Omar:

This is what I've said:

"Can you just give me 5 examples that I've said that makes you think that I'm hard right?"

I didn't say what makes you think the government is hard-right. I was talking about me.

KNB I'm still here if you want to continue the conversation. Lets see who is the one who storms off.

Omar said...

I was talking about you.

Do you think we all forget you used to go by the handle 'TRIWIA'?

You're a hard-right wackadoodle alright.

Proud Canadian said...

Omar:

"Do you think we all forget you used to go by the handle 'TRIWIA'?"

Yes I was the right where it's At So? I've changed my moniker. Is there a problem with that?

I will repeat and said it again I'm not hard right. Is it clear? I guess not!

Maybe some-one has left has you everyone seems hard right.

1)I believe in Gay marriage.

2) I don't believe in the death penalty in this country.

3)I believe in a universal health care system.

4) I've voted liberal before etc.etc...

Being a right-wing it doesn't make you a hard-right get it?

Proud Canadian said...

OMAR

Let me add this little piece of information,you and others who think that I'M hard-right know absolute nothing about me. Made myself clear?

Proud Canadian said...

KNB I'm still waiting if you want to continue the conversation. Or are you afraid? Remember you accused me of storming off.

RuralSandi said...

PC responds like a thug, but doesn't answer questions. Challenges everyone (with nothing much) but doesn't answer questions.

Still waiting for the question I posed about the military.

Proud Canadian said...

Sandi

"Proud Canadian - just curious. Have you ever been in the military, fought in any mission, talked to soldiers with post tramatic stress disorder?"

"Have you ever known and/or talked to a draft dodger from the Viet Nam era?"

No I haven't talked to people with these problems,but I have known someone who had joined the army. It doesn't mean that I don't care. What are you getting at? What are you accusing of Sandi humm?

Proud Canadian said...

It is really amazing almost pathetic.

Sandi:

One of our military people decides to go AWOL for what ever the reason and escapes to the U.S.would you want this person back or leave them there humm?

RuralSandi said...

One of our military people decides to go AWOL for what ever the reason and escapes to the U.S.would you want this person back or leave them there humm?

Well, first of all your question is extremely simplistic. Depends on each individual case and if they had a good reason - sure, come home. What if it was caused by a mental disorder or some other viable reason?

Life is just not black and white.

Proud Canadian said...

Sandi:

"One of our military people decides to go AWOL for what ever the reason and escapes to the U.S.would you want this person back or leave them there humm?

Well, first of all your question is extremely simplistic. Depends on each individual case and if they had a good reason - sure, come home. What if it was caused by a mental disorder or some other viable reason?

Life is just not black and white."

That's why we have a court system in this country Sandi. The people who were sent back to the U.S. they had their day in court in our country. They fought the extradition and lost.


When did you ever read on any of my post that life is black and white.

Proud Canadian said...

I'm sorry that I can't agree with you people on this issue,but I have to go.

L-girl,KNB and others I respect your opinions on this issue,but I can't agree with you. Good day to all!

RuralSandi said...

When did you ever read on any of my post that life is black and white.


Just by this question - you respond with a stupid statement like this......no one said that YOU said life is black and white - duh. I said life is not black and white - it's a general phrase for a very narrow, can't move view. It's a COMMON PHRASE - duh