Cindy Sheehan urges Canada to welcome U.S. deserters

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Friday, May 5, 2006

Cindy Sheehan, a prominent U.S. anti-war activist, appeared at a news conference at the Canadian capital of Ottawa, Ontario on Thursday to speak against western troops being in Afghanistan, and in favour of Canada giving U.S. deserters refugee status.

"I believe our war resisters are legitimate refugees," Ms. Sheehan said while also alleging that the soldiers are within their rights to desert because many are "lied to" by U.S. military recruiters who tell them they won't have to fight in Iraq.

Sheehan, the mother of a fallen American soldier who served in Iraq, called on the Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to "open the border" to U.S. military deserters. "My son was an honourable, honest person lied to by his recruiter," she said.

Sheehan said that Canadian soldiers being in Afghanistan enables the United States to carry on its "illegal and immoral" war in Iraq. "I believe my country shouldn't be in Afghanistan anyway," Ms. Sheehan told reporters on Parliament Hill. "It's never about spreading freedom or democracy or making the world safe, it's about lining the war profiteers' pockets. My country supported Osama bin Laden in the fight against Russia," she said. "And now they go in and tear down that country. It's back in the hands of the drug lords, it's producing more opium than ever, and it's not safe. There's not any rebuilding going on, because it's being occupied by occupying forces."

She made an address to approximately 300 students on Wednesday night at the University of Toronto. Her appearances are part of a cross-county campaign targeted at university campuses.