Recent Entries in Can-con

  Deserter awaits ruling

U.S. Army deserter Jeremy Hinzman admits the idea of an American claiming refugee status in Canada sounds "preposterous." But the paratrooper remains convinced he and his family will be persecuted if he is sent home to face the music for going AWOL on the eve of his unit's deployment to Iraq.

The 26-year-old's three-day refugee hearing wrapped up in Toronto yesterday. Afterward, Hinzman said he believes his life would be at risk in a military prison -- and the danger likely wouldn't end once he had completed the estimated one- to five-year sentence he could end up serving.

"I think we all know the climate of the States right now is kind of hostile to any sort of dissent," Hinzman said, explaining he expects he would encounter "social persecution" that would make just finding a job difficult.

CNEWS - Canada: Deserter awaits ruling

Canada's top court says Ottawa has the authority to redefine marriage to include same-sex couples, but religious officials cannot be forced to perform unions against their beliefs.

The Supreme Court of Canada refused to say whether the traditional definition of marriage - between one man and one woman - violates equality rights.

It noted the federal government has already accepted lower-court judgments that excluding gays from marrying is discriminatory.

News | network

The fact that Canada hasn't suffered a terrorist attack after 9-11 is largely luck, not good planning and preparedness, says a Senate report.

"When it comes to national security and defence -- issues that are not part of the everyday lives of most Canadians -- the vast majority of citizens trust in luck," the national security and defence committee said Wednesday.

CNEWS - Canada: Report rips national security

In graphic testimony presented to a Canadian asylum tribunal on Monday, Sergeant Jimmy Massey's evidence appeared to bolster war crime claims made by fugitive US paratrooper Jeremy Hinzman.

The 26-year-old Hinzman said he would face persecution if sent home to the US, in a politically charged case which could set a precedent for at least two other American deserters seeking asylum in Canada.

Massey told Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) that men under his command in the 3rd battalion, Seventh Marines, killed

Aljazeera.Net - Ex-US marine: I killed Iraqi civilians

  Pierre Berton, 1920-'04

(My favourite joint-rolling octogenarian is dead)

Pierre Berton, who died yesterday at age 84 after a long career as an author, newspaper columnist, television and radio commentator may well be best remembered as the writer who made Canadian history fun.

Through his bestselling books ? The National Dream, The Last Spike, The Dionne Years and Drifting Home ? Berton turned a nation on to the fact that our history was worthy of study and was in many ways as exciting, and often more so, as that of the United States. - Editorial: Pierre Berton, 1920-'04

Terrified Democrats looking to flee a second Bush term beware: Canada's watching the borders.

The Canadian immigration ministry yesterday warned Americans who might want to head north of the border they'll get no special treatment - the paperwork required to become a Canadian citizen probably takes about a year.

"You just can't come into Canada and say, 'I'm going to stay here,' '' immigration ministry spokeswoman Maria Iadinardi said. "In other words, there has to be an application. There has to be a reason why the person is coming to Canada.''

Still, Joe Green of the Toronto-based Democrats Abroad says, "We've had many calls during the campaign. We're very sympathetic as Americans - we're happy here.'' - Election 2004 Coverage: Canada: No free pass for expatriates

Family moved to Canada after private refused to fight in 'dehumanising' Iraq war

US army private Jeremy Hinzman fought in Afghanistan and considers himself a patriot. But when his unit was ordered to Iraq, he refused to go and embarked on a radical journey that could make legal history.

Private first class Hinzman left the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment, taking his wife and son to Canada. Officially, he is awol (absent without leave), and, instead of fighting insurgents, he is battling the US military in the Canadian courts.

This month Pte Hinzman, 25, filed legal papers to become the first US soldier objecting to the Iraq war to be granted refugee status in Canada. His case is expected to be a test of new Canadian immigration laws and the country's traditional role of accepting refugees from the US military.

An estimated 250 Americans every year seek refugee status in Canada, the vast majority making mental health claims, according to Jeffrey House, a Toronto criminal defence lawyer who represents Pte Hinzman.

"This is the first time a soldier from the Iraq war is seeking protection. He does not want to fight in Iraq and he will do any lawful thing to stay in Canada."

If he returns to the US, Pte Hinzman could be prosecuted as a deserter, according to Sergeant Pam Smith, a spokes woman for the 82nd Airborne. "We don't have time to go and track down people who go awol," she told the Associated Press. "We're fighting a war.",3604,1152865,00.html

U.S. President George W. Bush is grateful for help in the war on terrorism and is "working" to include Canada in lucrative rebuilding projects in Iraq, he said in a farewell phone call to retiring Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien.

"He thanked me for what we're doing in Afghanistan and for the offer of money in the reconstruction of Iraq," Chr�tien told a news conference today.

"As for the news in the newspapers stating that Canada would be excluded from economic activities in Iraq, the president assured me that this was not the case, and that he would be taking action," Chr�tien said in French.

"And so I thanked him.

"We are still good friends."

The United States announced this week that countries which did not support the U.S.-led war in Iraq last spring, including Canada, would not be allowed to bid on reconstruction contracts worth $18 billion.

But Chr�tien said Bush called today and "he was telling me basically not to worry."

Check out the article here.

The lawyer of a Abdul Rahman Khadr, a terrorist suspect apparently released secretly from prison in Cuba and flown to central Asia, has called on the federal government to provide written assurance that his client will be given the documents he needs to return home to Canada.

At a news conference in Toronto Tuesday with Fatmah Elsamnah, grandmother of Mr. Khadr, lawyer Rocco Galati said that Canadian officials have so far denied his client a passport and are either 'negligent or spinning lies' when they deny knowing where he is.

The Liberal government's plan to legalize gay and lesbian weddings came within five votes of a major setback last night.

MPs narrowly defeated a Canadian Alliance motion to restrict marriage rights to straight couples in a vote that revealed razor-thin support for Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien's bid to redefine marriage.

In a dramatic 137-132 vote that mirrored the divisions in the country, MPs on both sides of the Commons struck down the same motion that just four years ago had passed by a wide 216-55 margin.

Prime Minister Jean Chr�tien, who returns to Parliament today after a two-week swing through Europe, left here more convinced than ever that he made the right decision to steer clear of the United States-led war in Iraq.

While refusing to say so publicly, the Prime Minister and his advisers are relieved the Liberals kept Canada out of a military adventure that is shaping up in the U.S. and Britain as potentially the biggest political scandal in decades.

During the past two weeks, as Chr�tien met with world leaders in Greece, Russia and France, the failure of the U.S. and its allies to find evidence to justify their invasion of Iraq emerged as a potential source of lasting damage for U.S. President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

In both countries, there are continuing revelations about questionable intelligence used to justify claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had to be removed by military force because he was hoarding chemical, biological or nuclear weapons.

Click here for full story.

Calling his government "activist" and "not afraid to take on controversial issues," Prime Minister Jean Chrétien cast a nod at youth last night and vowed that marijuana would soon be decriminalized.

It was the first public pronouncement from Chrétien that possessing small quantities of marijuana would be decriminalized in Canada.

"We will soon introduce legislation to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana," he told a Liberal party fundraiser. Amid applause, he quipped, "Don't start to smoke it right away! We're not legalizing it."

Canada's law on possession of small amounts of marijuana is no longer valid, an Ontario judge ruled Thursday.

The teen's lawyer, Brian McAllister, argued there is effectively no law in Canada prohibiting the possession of 30 grams of marijuana or less. His client was accused of possessing five grams of pot.

What Canadians think does matter to Americans. In certain circumstances at certain times.

My evidence for saying this is that I've culled those quotes from the some 1,400 e-mails sent to me as a result of my column of last Sunday titled, "It's not our fault that we're morally superior to Americans."

What promoted the column was some hand-wringing by Deputy Prime Minister John Manley that any Canadian sentiments of superiority were actually a sign of a sense of inferiority, and should be silenced so as not to annoy Americans.

My rebuttal was that Canadian sentiments of superiority were actually a sign of a sense of superiority, and why on Earth not say so out loud, since Americans are certain they are superior to everyone in the world and can hardly be shocked to be challenged.

I expected some shots back, from both sides of the border. I got the verbal equivalent of a salvo of cruise missiles. As a journalist, I've never experienced its equal. The Drudge Report on the Web picked up the column, and, in a tribute to its power, triggered well over 1,000 of those e-mails. American radio and TV stations called for interviews.

Best of all, I got by accident, a fascinating insight into American opinions about Canada but also about their own country.

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