MISSISSAUGA, Ont. -- One of the first U.S. army deserters to seek refugee status in Canada rather than serve in Iraq was ordered deported Wednesday.
Jeremy Hinzman, along with his wife, son and a new baby, have been ordered by the Canada Border Services Agency to leave by Sept. 23.
"I'm tremendously disappointed, we've been here nearly five years, we have lots of friends and family," said Hinzman. "But life goes on and we'll make the most of it wherever we go."
A handful of friends gathered outside the border services office where the decision came down, along with supporters from the War Resisters Support Campaign.
Hinzman was handed the order after a Citizenship and Immigration officer decided his application, filed under the pre-removal risk assessment program, didn't qualify.
The 29-year old was stoic as he walked out with his son Liam and his wife, Nga Nguyen, who cradled a newborn daughter in her arms.
Hinzman said he still believes he and other deserters did the right thing by coming to Canada rather than fighting in Iraq, despite the potential for a court marshall, jail time and a felony conviction in the U.S.
"Iraq was an unjust war based on false pretences and every soldier who refused to fight probably saved a lot of lives," said Hinzman.
The former paratrooper from Ft. Bragg, N.C., fled to Canada with his family in January 2004, shortly after learning that his unit was to be deployed to Iraq.
Hinzman and his family were seeking refugee status in Canada.
The Immigration and Refugee Board rejected his claim in 2005 and the Federal Court of Appeal held that he wouldn't face any serious punishment if returned to the United States.
Hinzman took his pleas to the Supreme Court of Canada, which refused to hear the case.
Michelle Robidoux of the War Resisters Support Campaign vowed the organization's support for Hinzman and an estimated 200 other resisters in Canada.
In light of a motion passed in Parliament in June calling for all deportations of war resisters to be halted, the government is contradicting public sentiment, she said.
"This government is not abiding by democratic norms," said Robidoux.
Federal NDP Citizenship and Immigration Critic Olivia Chow, who put forward the June motion, called the decision "mean spirited."
She called on Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley to halt the deportation of Hinzman and other resisters immediately.
Regardless of the Legalities within the US, If the majority of the population feel the resisters should stay in Canada, then shouldn't that belief be followed through, or is this situation something that public opinion and views are irrelevent to and shouldn't matter?
In other words, should procedures such as refugee application be always followed by the book, or should certain unforseen situation have room for adjustment and accomidation when there is an apparent issue the majority of the public finds important?