Tuesday, November 20, 2007

National Post: Send them home.

Send them home
No one can say we didn't give them due process.

It has been almost four years since Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey deserted the U.S. Army and fled to Canada. Since then, they've been playing the famously dilatory Canadian refugee system, launching appeal after appeal in a bid to escape justice back in the United States. Now, it would appear the process is at its end: Last Thursday, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear their case. The Canadian government should now waste no time sending these two men back to the United States.

In truth, Messrs. Hinzman and Brandon should have been sent home long ago. Both men volunteered for their military service, and got cold feet only after their units were ordered deployed to Iraq. Their refugee claims in Canada were based on the argument that America's invasion of Iraq was illegal. But even if that were true, it is beside the point: The purpose of our refugee system is to protect migrants from a well-founded fear of persecution in their country of origin -- not to provide sanctuary to Americans who disagree with their country's foreign policy. Since arriving in Canada, both men have become antiwar celebrities. They have been profiled often in the media (especially the CBC), and been in high demand at anti-war events. Naturally, this has served as an irritant to Canada-U.S. relations. Imagine if a Canadian soldier who was scheduled to ship out to Kandahar suddenly turned up in New York giving interviews to U.S. media and calling Canada a nation of war criminals. No doubt we'd be pretty annoyed --especially if the spectacle kept going for four years.

Stephen Harper's government should send these men back to the U.S. as soon as possible. It is time for them to face the consequences of abandoning their freely offered commitment to serve their country in time of war.

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