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September 21, 2005


On September 24, Vietnam era war resisters will march together with Iraq War resisters newly in Canada to demand that the Martin Government open Canada’s doors to US military personnel who cannot in good conscience fight in Iraq.

During the Vietnam War, tens of thousands of American draft dodgers and deserters were welcomed to Canada by the Trudeau Government. Most of them settled in Canada and became Canadian citizens. Now members of this earlier generation of war resisters is coming out in support of younger men and women who are refusing to fight in another immoral war in Iraq.

John Liss, who came to Canada as a draft dodger in 1968 sums up their demand: “The Canadian government did the right thing then. It should do the right thing now, -- let the new war resisters stay in Canada.” He recalled that then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said: “Those who make the conscientious judgment that they must not participate in this war… have my complete sympathy, and indeed our approach has been to give them access to Canada. Canada should be a refuge from militarism.”

Lee Zaslofsky, who deserted the US Army in 1970 rather than fight in Vietnam, pointed out that “In those days, we didn’t have to claim refugee status. We were able to seek Landed Immigrant Status like anyone else. The Martin Government should live up to that tradition.”

The War Resisters Support Campaign is working with a dozen Iraq War resisters and their families who are seeking refugee status. It provides practical assistance and organizes supporters across Canada. As well, several dozen war resisters are living underground.

Vietnam draft dodger Tom Riley, who is active with the campaign, says “Being involved in the War Resisters Campaign is a tangible way of supporting the Iraq War resisters like Canadians helped us when we came north. And it’s also good for the soul.”

The September 24 peace rally will start at the US Consulate at 1:00 PM. The march that follows will be led by the Iraq War resisters, followed by the Vietnam War resisters. They will wear T-shirts that proclaim “Resisting US Wars is a Canadian Tradition.” “So is welcoming Americans who refuse to fight in those wars,” said Zaslofsky


For further information:
Lee Zaslofsky 416 598 1222 or 416 369 0864
Carolyn Egan 416 806 7985 cell