On borrowed time
Supporters of a U. S. war resister who is facing deportation took to the streets recently, asking people to sign a petition urging Ottawa to allow war resisters to remain in Canada.
Corey Glass, an Indiana National Guardsman whose application for refugee status was rejected in May, has been ordered to leave Canada by July 10. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in November that it would not hear the appeals of U. S. war resisters concerning their refugee claims.
The petition calls on the federal government to implement an NDPsponsored motion passed in Parliament on June 3. The motion had the support of Liberal and Bloc MPs.
The motion recommended the government allow war resisters who have refused or left military service related to the Iraq war and their immediate family members to stay in Canada and be able to become permanent residents. It also called for the immediate withdrawal of any deportation orders.
"The motion is not legally binding, though the majority of Parliament voted for it," said Glass, 25, who has lived and worked in Toronto since August 2006. He came to Canada after going AWOL (absent without leave) while on leave from Iraq.
"I realized innocent people were being killed. I tried to quit the military while in Iraq," he said, "but my commander told me I was just stressed out and needed some R and R (rest and relaxation), because I was doing a job I was not trained to do. I went home on leave and said I was not coming back."
When he joined the National Guard, Glass said he was told he would not have to fight on foreign soil; that he would only have to fight if there were troops occupying the United States.
"I signed up to defend people and do humanitarian work, such as helping out when there was a hurricane or tornado. I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq," he said. "I felt I did everything I could (through official channels) to not be a part of the gross human rights violations going on over there."
After being sent home for two weeks, he hid for eight months before typing the word "desertion" into an Internet search engine and discovering several websites about Canada.
He contacted the Toronto-based U. S. War Resisters Support Campaign,