Here is a fun story for everyone, courtesy of The Guardian, from its U.S. edition. It appears that there are approximately 15 U.S. service members who deserted the American military in the years following the start of the Iraq War in 2003. They fled to Canada, but now face possible deportation back to America for their crimes. The deserters are currently pleading with the Canadian government, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, to allow them to remain permanently in Canada.
According to The Guardian report, approximately 200 U.S. service members deserted the American military to Canada after the latter declared it would not participate in the Iraq War. The deserters fled American military service, in which they were already enlisted, to avoid further service during the conflict. This differentiates the deserters from Vietnam-era “draft dodgers,” who fled to avoid being drafted into the U.S. military in the first place. According to The Guardian, up to 90,000 Americans sought refuge in Canada during the Vietnam War. The U.S. military today does not rely on a draft. All military members volunteer to serve.
The Canadian-based Iraq War “resisters,” as some Canadians and The Guardian refer to them, have found little support from the Canadian government. During the previous (Conservative) government, they faced active scorn, and lived under the constant threat of deportation, as the Stephen Harper government consistently denied them permanent residency status.
Now that a Liberal government is in power, some of the deserters are beseeching Trudeau to allow them to stay in Canada permanently. While Trudeau sounded conciliatory toward the deserters during his bid to become prime minister, promising compassion toward them, since ascending to that office in late 2015, Trudeau and his government have failed to deviate from the Conservative government’s policy, or to alleviate the uncertainty facing the deserters.