(SALON) TORONTO — Canadian Parliament will consider a bill introduced Thursday that would allow American and other war resisters to stay in Canada.
The bill, introduced by the Liberal Party’s Gerard Kennedy, would allow other countries’ military deserters to stay in Canada if their refusal to serve is based on sincere moral, political or religious objections.
Parliament has already voted twice to support war resisters, but those were non-binding motions.
Kennedy’s bill would be binding because it would amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
Most war resisters in Canada are U.S. military personnel who have refused to participate in the Iraq War on the grounds that it’s illegal and immoral.
There are thought to be about 200 American military deserters who have come to Canada to avoid service in Iraq.
Canadian immigration officials and the courts have rejected efforts to grant them refugee status, and several face deportation. At least two have already been deported to the U.S.
During the war in Vietnam, thousands of American fled to Canada to avoid the draft. Many were given permanent residence status that eventually resulted in citizenship.