Americanism Infecting Canada
I loved growing up close to Canada, because within a few miles was a foreign country. A border is an arbitrary line, drawn by treaty or war, of course but the amazing thing is that once I crossed that line I was in a different culture with different values than my own, in a culture with cohabiting languages. Across that line was a town of Ukrainian immigrants who painted their houses with different colors on each side. Across that line were different rules, kilometres instead of miles, different ways to add flavor to french fries. The gas was sold in Imperial gallons. The money was different. And at age 18 I could go across the border to have a legal drink in a bar.
There was something else that I encountered in Canada, too, and especially during the Vietnam War. The government up there was not bombing Cambodians, secretly, on the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The government wasn’t dropping Napalm or Agent Orange on hamlets. The government was providing amnesty to war resisters who had been drafted by the U.S. Army to fight a war started by the French. In Canada, they respected the freedom of conscience to not fight an unjust war.
When I was in Texas I was talking to a parts manager at a dealership and he asked about my accent. I told him where I am from, and he said “That’s kind of close to Canada, isn’t it? I hate Canada, full of cowards who ran while I went to Vietnam.”
That’s all he knew about Canada, and that’s all he wanted to know about where I am from, and he was still pissed off about what had happened 20 years before and hated a whole country for it.
Well, Mr. Fucker in Texas, Canada is at it again. They’re sheltering war resisters and AWOL soldiers, but the Canadian Prime Minister is not as cooperative as Pierre Trudeau had been. Stephen Harper has decided that, contrary to acts of Parliament, he will be deporting American soldiers. And Americans can help their fellow citizens stay were they are safe from persecution for standing up for their beliefs. Here is a letter that you can sign and print and send to the PM of Canada, and to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Jason Kenney:
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney
Please act immediately to cancel the deportation of Rodney Watson, who is currently taking sanctuary at the First United Church in Vancouver BC, by implementing the Canadian Parliament’s resolutions to allow U.S. war resisters to stay in Canada.
I am writing from the United States to ask that you abide by the House of Commons resolution—reaffirmed February 12, 2009—to create a program to allow war objectors, including U.S. resisters, to apply for permanent resident status in Canada and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against them.
The recent flurry of deportation orders to war resisters, including Kimberly Rivera and her three children, and the forcing out of Robin Long, Cliff Cornell and Chris Teske, flaunted Canada’s longstanding tradition of providing sanctuary to war objectors. Upon their forced return from Canada to the U.S. military, Robin and Cliff were sentenced to 15 and 12 months imprisonment respectively. Future resisters face even stiffer sentences.
When more than 50,000 Americans refused to fight in Vietnam and emigrated to Canada, Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau declared, “[They] have my complete sympathy, and indeed our political approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism.”
On June 3, 2008, the House of Commons first voted to uphold this rich tradition by passing a historic resolution to allow war resisters to apply for permanent residence status in Canada and to halt the deportation of conscientious objectors. In addition to this parliamentary motion, according to a recent poll, nearly two of three Canadians also favor allowing U.S. war resisters to stay. Furthermore, many wonderful Canadians have opened their homes and hearts to U.S. war resisters.
I ask that the Canadian government respect the democratic decision of Parliament, the demonstrated opinion of the Canadian citizenry, the view of the United Nations, and millions of Americans by immediately implementing the motion and cease deportation proceedings against Rodney Watson, Kimberly Rivera, Jeremy Hinzman, Dean Walcott and other current and future war resisters.
(Your name here.)
Since Harper was a big buddy of Bush, he wants to make sure that the bastards who don’t want to kill the innocents get punished. Canada, which was once differentiated has a prime minister of a minority government who wants to Americanize Canada.