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