All American Boys: Draft Dodgers in Canada from the Vietnam War

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At the start of the Vietnam War, Canada was a member of the International Control Commission ICC overseeing the implementation of the Geneva Agreements, and thus attempted to maintain an air of neutrality. However, the Canadian negotiators were strongly on the side of the Americans.

IN EXILE: American Draft Resisters and Deserters in Canada

One representative Blair Seaborn, younger brother of Robert Seaborn was even involved in secretly exchanging messages between the U. Canada also sent foreign aid to South Vietnam, which, while humanitarian, was directed by the Americans. Meanwhile, Canadian industry exported military supplies and raw materials useful in their manufacture, including ammunition, napalm and Agent Orange , [7] to the United States, as trade between the two countries carried on unhindered.

In Canada unemployment fell to record low levels of 3. Although these exports were sales by Canadian companies, not gifts from the Canadian government, they benefited the American war effort nonetheless. The first official response to the economic support being given to the United States military from the government was by Lester B.

Pearson on March 10, that the export of goods to their southern ally was "necessary and logical" due to the extreme integration of both economies, and that an embargo would also be a notice of withdrawal from North American defense arrangements. As the war escalated, relations between Canada and the United States deteriorated. In a perhaps apocryphal story, when a furious President Lyndon B. Johnson met with Pearson the next day, he grabbed the much smaller Canadian by his lapels and talked angrily with him for an hour.

After this incident, the two men somehow found ways to resolve their differences over the war—in fact, they both had further contacts, including later twice meeting in Canada. Canada's official diplomatic position in relation to the Vietnam War was that of a non-belligerent, which imposed a ban on the export of war-related items to the combat areas. Sold goods included relatively benign items like boots, but also aircraft, munitions, napalm and commercial defoliants , the use of which was fiercely opposed by anti-war protesters at the time.

Furthermore, the Canadian and the American Defence departments worked together to test chemical defoliants for use in Vietnam. In counter-current to the movement of American draft-dodgers and deserters to Canada, about 30, Canadians volunteered to fight in southeast Asia. Army Sergeant Peter C. Lemon , an American immigrant from Canada, was awarded the U. Medal of Honor for his valour in the conflict. This cross-border enlistment was not unprecedented: S officially declared war on Germany [16].

In Windsor, Ontario , there is a privately funded monument to the Canadians killed in the Vietnam War. American draft dodgers and military deserters who sought refuge in Canada during the Vietnam War would ignite controversy among those seeking to immigrate to Canada, some of it provoked by the Canadian government's initial refusal to admit those who could not prove that they had been discharged from [American] military service.

This changed in Deserters, on the other hand, were predominantly sons of the lower-income and working classes who had been inducted into the armed services directly from high school or who had volunteered, hoping to obtain a skill and broaden their limited horizons. Starting in , Canada became a choice haven for American draft dodgers and deserters. Because they were not formally classified as refugees but were admitted as immigrants, there is no official estimate of how many draft dodgers and deserters were admitted to Canada during the Vietnam War.

One informed estimate puts their number between 30, and 40, Estimates vary greatly as to how many Americans settled in Canada for the specific reason of dodging the draft or "evading conscription ," as opposed to desertion, or other reasons. Canadian immigration statistics show that 20, to 30, draft-eligible American men came to Canada as immigrants during the Vietnam era. The BBC stated that "as many as 60, young American men dodged the draft.

They were at first assisted by the Student Union for Peace Action, a campus-based Canadian anti-war group with connections to Students for a Democratic Society. The influx of these young men, who as mentioned earlier were often well educated [19] [34] [35] and politically leftist, affected Canada's academic and cultural institutions, and Canadian society at large. These new arrivals tended to balance the " brain drain " that Canada had experienced. While some draft dodgers returned to the United States after a pardon was declared in during the administration of Jimmy Carter , roughly half of them stayed in Canada.

Prominent draft dodgers who stayed in Canada permanently, or for a significant amount of time, have included:. Distinct from draft resisters, there were also deserters from the American forces who also made their way to Canada. There was pressure from the United States and Canada to have them arrested, or at least stopped at the border. The deserters have not been pardoned and may still face pro forma arrest, as the case of Allen Abney demonstrated in March He had deserted the U. Army in Alaska in after serving a year in Vietnam. Twenty-eight years later, on March 22, , while he attempted to drive a lumber truck across the US-Canada border in Metaline Falls, Washington he was arrested by U.

Customs agents and jailed at Fort Sill. In February , text on how both draft dodgers and resisters of the Vietnam War were ultimately allowed to stay in Canada suddenly vanished from the website of the Department of Citizenship and Immigration Canada. Originally, the Government of Canada website had contained the following statements:.

Starting in , Canada became a choice haven for American draft resisters and deserters, Although some of these transplanted Americans returned home after the Vietnam War, most of them put down roots in Canada, making up the largest, best-educated group this country had ever received. The above statement now gone from the website was part of an extensive online chapter on draft resisters and deserters from the Vietnam war, which was found in the larger online document,"Forging Our Legacy: But in , the Ministry of Stephen Harper [took] "a much dimmer view of dozens of U. Some had already been deported to face military jail terms ranging from about six to 15 months.

The removal from the Citizenship and Immigration website occurred in the same month that its multi-party counterpart, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration was debating that issue: On February 12, , that multi-party committee passed, for the second time, a non-binding motion reaffirming Parliament's earlier June vote which recommended that the government let Iraq War resisters stay in Canada.

After the fall of South Vietnam in April , hundreds of thousands of refugees, called boat people , fled Vietnam and adjacent nations.

All American boys : draft dodgers in Canada from the Vietnam War in SearchWorks catalog

According to Canadian immigration historian Valerie Knowles, from to Canada admitted an estimated 60, of these refugees, "most of whom had endured several days in small, leaky boats, prey to vicious pirate attacks, before ending up in squalid camps". The Vietnam War was an important cultural turning point in Canada. Coupled with Canada's centenary in and the success of Expo 67 , Canada became far more independent and nationalistic. The public, if not their representatives in parliament, became more willing to oppose the United States and to move in a different direction socially and politically.

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There are differing opinions about the level of toxicity of the site; [49] but, in , the Canadian government said it planned to compensate some of those who were exposed. As of , some claims have been paid but the administration of the compensation program has been criticized. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part of a series on the Military history of Canada. Canadian Armed Forces portal.

Archived from the original on August 28, Retrieved November 18, Printed Materials Series, Finding Aid for the broader collection held at Princeton University Library. The Carter Pardon of January 21, Texts: Draft-Age Americans in Canada 1. Former Congressman Koch discusses his December visit to Canada to talk with draft resisters pages The collection title is Pocock Jack Memorial Collection.

A database provides access through abstracts for each story. Records include interviews with American exiles in Canada. Bernstein New York Times Nov. Go North Young Man: A twenty-three page paper in pdf format 46 footnotes, 13 item bibliography. Republished by Looksmart at findarticles.

Citation Styles for "All American boys : draft dodgers in Canada from the Vietnam War"

From Amex Canada 4: Includes relevant items, particularly under subheadings The Antiwar Movement and International — Canada. Includes some relevant titles. Vietnam on Film and Television: Canadian Immigration Policy , the Arrival of U. The Draft Dodger Dues: A section from the larger An American Education. Part of Time and Place: Toronto, , excerpted from the initial chapters of what was to have been a book on the history of The Body Politic Toronto.

He remains an unpardoned exile from the United States. Epp An entry from the Mennonite Encyclopedia. Mark Frutkin A writer who lives in Ottawa. War resister who immigrated to Canada from Online Book Initiative. Ernest Hekkanen Biographical sketch with links and bibliography of his writings. Michael Lee Johnson A poet who spent ten years in Edmonton. Laura Jones Toronto researcher, writer, photographer involved in public service.

Canada and the Vietnam War

Includes an account of Tony McQuail who moved to Canada. Phillips A Toronto photographer. Draft resister Tony Ramos returned from Canada to two and a half years of prison after the assassination of Martin Luther King. Part of a high school project in South Kingstown, Rhode Island. A Canadian recollects encounters with American exiles. A Quebec musician who came to Canada as a draft resister. This War is Not Our War! A Matter of Conscience: The web site related to this documentary on the GI resistance to the Vietnam War includes 1 a Library with browsable readings, a database, a subject index, reproduced pamphlets, and reports from investigations 2 a Resistance Chronology with one general and six subject timelines , 3 Galleries with more than images cartoons, GI newspaper covers, photographs , and 4 Audio Resources.

Ten pages with 63 footnotes. Canada and the Vietnam War Radio series: CBC, April , Honoring Those Who Swerved Art: A postage stamp parody. White House news and policies December