Reader urges end to soldiers'deportations

Letter the the editor:

On June 3, the House of Commons voted to stop the deportations of American servicemen and women who come to Canada rather than participate in the fighting in Iraq.

Incredibly, the Harper government has chosen to ignore the decision of the House of Commons. In spite of that clear vote, they deported Robin Long, an American soldier seeking sanctuary in Canada, back to the U. S.

Last week, Robin was sentenced to 15 months in prison at a military penitentiary. He also received a dis-honourable discharge. This has huge implications for the rest of his life: he will be ineligible for student loans, mortgages, and many employment opportunities. Even worse, he will never be able to return to Canada, where his two-year-old son lives.

His crime? Refusing to participate in an illegal and immoral war, once its true nature became clear to him.

In Robin's own words: "I remember that a soldier is just a uniform following orders, a warrior is the man or woman that follows their conscience and does the right thing in the face of adversity." This he has done, and continues to do.

Jeremy Hinzman has received his deportation date: Sept. 23. It is clear that he is a conscientious objector. It is wrong that he be punished for following his conscience.

What has been done to Robin Long cannot be fixed. But it must not be repeated.

The Harper government has an obligation to comply with the will of the House. The deportations must stop.

J. Gilbert Orillia

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