Head-to-head: Refuge for deserters? Should US deserters from Iraq be given refuge in Canada, a country that welcomed tens of thousands of Vietnam draft-dodgers and deserters? It's a burning question in Canada as the authorities prepare to deport 25-year-old Corey Glass to face trial in the US. Here, Corey argues he should be allowed to stay, while below Jonathan Kay from Canada's conservative National Post newspaper says deserters should be sent home. COREY GLASS, CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR/DESERTER In 2002, I joined the Indiana National Guard. When I joined, I was told I would only be in combat if there were troops occupying the United States. I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq Corey Glass I signed up to defend people and do humanitarian work filling sandbags if there was a hurricane. I had no conception I would be deployed to fight on foreign shores. But in 2005, I was deployed with my unit to Camp Anaconda near Balad, Iraq. My job in Iraq was in military intelligence. Through this job I had access to a lot of information about what was happening on the ground in Iraq. I realised innocent people were being killed unjustly and I tried to quit the military while in Iraq. My commander told me I was stressed out and needed R&R, because I was doing a job I was not trained to do. I went home on leave and said I was not coming back. I was told desertion is punishable by death. I was Absent Without Leave (AWOL) in America for eight months. I searched the internet and found out about US war resisters in Canada. I arrived in Toronto two weeks later. TIMES THEY HAVE A CHANGED During the Vietnam War, Pierre Trudeau declared Canada ''a refuge from militarism'' Tens of thousands of American draft-dodgers and deserters took refuge in Canada Canada's immigration laws are much stricter now: refugees must prove that they would face persecution - not just prosecution - if sent back home. On 3 June, Canada's parliament passed a non-binding motion in favour of allowing deserters to stay. I should have been in New Orleans after Katrina, not in Iraq. I believe the Iraq War is illegal and morally wrong. I believe I have a duty to refuse to take part in a war not sanctioned by the United Nations, started on the basis of lies. I have been in Toronto since August 2006. In my time here, I have been self-sufficient and I have made many friends. I have built a life here. Last week I was in Ottawa, when the House of Commons passed a motion saying that the Canadian government should make it possible for conscientious objectors to get permanent residence in Canada. The motion also said that all deportation proceedings against us should be stopped. But I may be deported anyway. On 21 May I was told that my last chance to stay in Canada had failed, and I must leave by 12 June (since extended to 10 July). I know that if I return to the US I will face imprisonment and possibly a criminal record. I don't think it is fair that I should be returned to the United States to face unjust punishment for doing what I felt morally obligated to do. I am hoping that Canada, which stayed out of the Iraq War for reasons similar to my own, will reverse the deportation order and let me stay, as parliament has urged. There are several dozen other war resisters like me in Canada now. They all deserve to stay here and get on with their lives. I hope the new American President will end the Iraq War and bring the troops home. But until that happens, I believe it is every soldier's right to refuse to take part in that war, if that is what his or her conscience says they must do. JONATHAN KAY, CANADA'S NATIONAL POST Should Corey Glass have enlisted in the US National Guard back in 2002? Probably not. From what I saw and heard of his 21 May press conference in Toronto, my first impression was that this pale, lanky 25-year-old should be playing synth in a Gothic emo band - not kicking down doors in Iraq. But for whatever reason, Glass did sign up for military service. There's no draft in the United States - as there was in the Vietnam era: No one forced him to put on a uniform. Why should Canadians help this deserter go back on his freely given word? America's fair-weather soldiers shouldn't be permitted to make a mockery of a Canadian refugee system that was originally designed to protect migrants fleeing assassination and torture. During his 21 May appearance, Glass said he was "morally obligated" to desert the US military rather than return to fight an "unjust war" in Iraq. At the same press conference, anti-war activist Jane Orion Smith argued that Glass is legally entitled to asylum in Canada because the applicable UN standard covers conscientious objectors involved in military actions that are "condemned by the international community". Even if this label could fairly be applied to the 2003 liberation of Iraq (a premise I would dispute), it definitely did not apply to the Iraq conflict in 2005, which is when Glass deserted. By that time, the UN Security Council had already passed Resolutions 1483 (recognising the United States and Britain as "occupying powers" under international law) and 1546 (endorsing the creation of an Iraqi Interim Government). Does Canada really want to cast itself as the protector of fair-weather American soldiers fleeing their duty? Glass's mission was not to invade Iraq, his mission was to help protect the emergence of a free, peaceful, sovereign Iraqi state. With the recent deployment of the Iraqi army to Basra, Mosul and the Sadr City neighbourhood of Baghdad, that goal is now close to being realised - no thanks to Glass, nor to the dozens of other "conscientious objectors" now residing in Canada. Moreover, from a purely political standpoint, giving asylum to the likes of Glass would send a terrible message. It would undermine America's war effort in Iraq - even as Canadian and American soldiers fight side by side on another front in the war on terror, Afghanistan. Given this shared enterprise, does Canada really want to cast itself as the protector of fair-weather American soldiers fleeing their duty? Six years ago, Corey Glass picked the wrong career. Three years ago, he picked an illegal way to abandon it. It's time for this ex-soldier to go home and pay the price for what he's done. Jonathan Kay is managing editor for comment at Canada's National Post newspaper.