The Weakness of Wikipedia: a Detailed Case Study


This effort starts from an idea of producing a concise encyclopedia entry on the topic of U.S. Vietnam War resisters in Canada. None of the reference works that I am aware of offer an entry that I as a librarian would be happy to advise an information seeker to consult.

In the quick-and-easy online world, Wikipedia has achieved an undeserved go-to status. A secondary purpose is to use this topic to do a case study in the weaknesses of Wikipedia. Producing an article in tandem with criticizing Wikipedia should forestall any “put up or shut up” response.

This essay is the Wikipedia case study. The encyclopedic essay is a separate file. Since the Wikipedia material is likely to change over time, snapshot grabs of the texts of relevant article subsections and their corresponding footnotes are appended to this essay as Exhibit A.

The interest here is not the topic itself, but the treatment of the topic. So the issues are the formal quality of an encyclopedic entry, and the nature of the media that emanate from an online “community” that has evolved under the Wikipedia logo. This analysis is grounded in principles of library science.

Me and Wikipedia

Well over ten years ago, I signed up with a fledgling enterprise that was calling itself Nupedia. This precursor of what I’m about to rake over the coals (even though I just linked to its progeny) evolved into … Wikipedia. (After all, this opportunity to let the pot describe the kettle became irresistible.)

As a librarian, I liked the notion of an online encyclopedia that might be open, flexible, and free — all that good stuff that could shellshock calcified academic publication cliques. My biggest doubt hung on the viability of a no-pay-for-much-work model. Eventually I did a little work for no pay. And I quickly abandoned the field when I witnessed the subsequent clashing of ignorant armies.

Years afterward I attempted a return, in the public interest, to provide a short new article on a missing topic. Immediately I got busted in the nose by a fascist geek who seemed more interested in explicating a morass of rules to defend a castle of cobbles than in relating to people or expanding the availability of knowledge. I ran away. Fast. Life is short.

Shortly afterward, I had a useful conversation with a techie acquaintance who had recently read a book about Wikipedia. I already knew about the 2008 move from Florida to San Francisco. The inner dynamics of the org sounded like the mess that I had sniffed out through the cyberfog.

The lengthy Wikipedia article on Wikipedia (one last perfect bit of mise-en-abîme) admits the weakness of the enterprise:

Most academics, historians, teachers and journalists reject Wikipedia as a reliable source of information for being a mixture of truths, half truths, and some falsehoods, and that as a resource about controversial topics, Wikipedia is notoriously subject to manipulation and spin.

My only response to this bit of Wikipedia content is to marvel at the flawed syntax of this one sentence.

In closing this sketch of my personal history with Wikipedia, I feel called to cite a recent article that stood high on the listing from a quick-and-dirty Google search:

              Tom Simonite. The decline of Wikipedia. MIT Technology Review (22 Oct 2013)

The article provides an independent background that corroborates my personal lived experience. In particular, these two observations resonate:

Authoritative entries remain elusive. … Its rules effectively discouraged experts from contributing.

Case Study: Vietnam War Resisters in Canada

One of the few subjects that I would claim to be an expert on is the history of Vietnam War resisters in Canada. Since 2000, I have pursued the bibliography, visited archives, read the literature, talked to the historical cohort, and ruminated on the topic.

An impetus for this essay is revulsion toward the badness of what can be found in Wikipedia. Very sporadic revisits over a long period of time have found no real improvement.

The approach here is to provide a description (mainly formal) of the Wikipedia failures.

One —  The subject has been split.

About a dozen book-length works on the topic confirm that this is a topic with literary warrant, meaning it has acquired sufficient substance to stand on its own. Therefore the subject is not two overlapping subtopics of Draft Evasion and Canada and the Vietnam War, as presented in Wikipedia. These two loci even fail to cross-refer completely and consistently. On academic library shelves, one group of books will be found at DS 559.8 D7 and another at FC 106 A5. While that distinction reflects classification theory, such separation is not a necessary feature of the arbitrary alphabetic ordering of encyclopedia concepts.

Wikipedia adds little more in four other articles on
              American Canadian,
              Desertion, and
              Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War.

Two —  The cited sources are a hodgepodge.

Canada and the Vietnam War : American war resisters in Canada

This section has four subsections:
(1)  unmarked introduction with two paragraphs that cite
              one tertiary book (Knowles) and
              one recent newspaper article (Keung).
(2)  “Draft dodgers” with three paragraphs. Notes 8-27 cite
              two core books (Williams, Hagan),
              two tertiary books (Knowles, Berton),
              one contemporary document (Satin),
              one contemporary newspaper article (Cowan),
              four recent newspaper articles (Keung, Adams, Hluchy, Bailey “Iraq”)
              four periodical articles (Turner, Clausen, Schreiber, Jones),
              two news items (Gray, “Draft”), and
              two web sites (“Vietnam,” “Jam”)
(3)  “Deserters” with three paragraphs that cite
              two recent newspaper articles (Keung, “Soundman”)
              two news items (Tremonti, “Deserter”), and
              one web site (“Vietnam”)
(4)  “Missing-text controversy” with four paragraphs that cite
              one tertiary book (Knowles),
              three recent newspaper articles (Bailey, “Iraq”, Bailey, “Federal,” Cooper), and
              two Canadian federal government sources.

Draft evasion : Emigration during the Vietnam War

The section’s four paragraphs cite
              three core books (Baskir & Strauss, Hagan, Williams),
              one tertiary book (Schulzinger),
              one contemporary document (Satin),
              four contemporary newspaper articles (Clausen, Cowan, Dunford, “Flexible” [19 Burns has no text anchor]),
              two recent newspaper articles (Keung, Adams), and
              two periodical articles (Clausen, Wakefield).

The source overlap between these two main treatments is considerable. The books of Williams, Baskir & Strauss, and Hagan merit inclusion. The omissions of Kasinsky and Squires are astonishing. Many other books would come ahead of Berton and Knowles. The contemporary document by Satin is a given, and appropriately supplemented by the article of Jones. The Clausen article has significance for its historical position in spreading the story. The rest of the material seems utterly happenstance.

Three —  The treatments show far too strong an impact from present-day concern with the status of Iraq War deserters.

Iraq War desertion is the topic where that interest belongs in an encyclopedia. (The entry “Canada and Iraq War Resisters” far exceeds the coverage of Vietnam War resisters in extent — about four times as many words — and documentation.) Those who complain about Government of Canada deletion of web site material need to consider their own tendencies to subjugate history to the interests of an info war. The accretive practice of Wikipedia couples with present-day controversy to render the topic a battleground.

  “The Canadian government eventually chose to welcome … deserters and draft evaders.” [Draft] This assertion cannot be substantiated.
  To devote an entire subsection to “Missing-text controversy” [Canada] is disproportionate. One sentence might be appropriate.
  Repetitive citation of an advocacy web site seems dubious (example: fourteen linkages through note 25 to Let Them Stay [Canada]).
  To cite recent items whose primary concern is Iraq War deserters seems overtly tendentious. [Canada] = 9 Keung, 10 Gray, 24 Bailey, 25 Let Them Stay, 28 Goergen, 32 Bailey, 33 Parliament, 34 Cooper, 35 Parliament. [Draft] = 18 Keung.

Four —  The entries abound in mistake, incoherency, presumption, exaggeration, and wrong fact.

Draft evasion : Emigration during the Vietnam War

  How the material in 18 Keung supports the footnoted assertion is not apparent.
  The 19 Burns footnote relates to no text.
  The assertion referenced to 26 Hagan — “The Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada … was read by over half of all American Vietnam War emigrants to Canada” — is not supported in the source.
  Amex never “sought to speak for American draft evaders and deserters in Canada.” The collective took (and revised) positions that were contested both internally and externally, and provided a forum.
  The 1974 Ford program was described as “clemency” and as “earned re-entry.” In no way did it constitute “amnesty.”
  The 1974 Ford program applied to deserters as well as draft offenders.
  The 1977 Carter pardon did not require any “request” action on the part of draft offenders.
  While Jay Scott and Michael Hendricks may have self-identified as draft resisters, neither of them were subject to the draft, and their exiles were voluntary. For Scott see: Globe and Mail (18 June 1990) C1. For Hendricks see: Globe and Mail (1 March 1972) 1-2.

Canada and the Vietnam War : American war resisters in Canada

  To rely on Knowles in claiming a 1968 “change” in deserter policy is strange. Kasinsky (109-111) describes the “gentleman’s agreement” that prevailed at that time.
  Canada did not become a “choice haven … starting in 1965.” The literature of the period shows that the emigration option began to show on the radar in mid 1966 and accelerated with distribution of the Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada.
  Most of the piled-up statements about numbers of Vietnam-era American immigrants to Canada are glib. Certainties are scarce, as demonstrated in Contending Statistics: the Numbers for U.S. Vietnam War Resisters in Canada.
  To cite 26 Hagan and say “roughly half of them stayed in Canada” discards necessary qualifications and abuses already questionable data.
  A haphazard listing of twenty draft resister names and seven deserter names either relies heavily on a single advocate source or fails to document.
  The “Missing-Text Controversy” section fails to inform that the text has been restored to the web site.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Exhibit A  —  6 January 2015 Capture of Data Discussed

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article:  Draft evasion
Section:  Emigration during the Vietnam War

Emigration during the Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, 30,000 of the 210,000 Americans accused of
dodging the draft left the country. Those deserters and draft
evaders combined went to Canada.[11] Though their presence there was
initially controversial, the Canadian government eventually chose to
welcome them. Draft evasion was not a criminal offense under
Canadian law.[16] The issue of deserters was more complex. Desertion
from the U.S. military was not on the list of crimes for which a
person could be extradited under the extradition treaty between
Canada and the U.S.;[17] however, desertion was a crime in Canada,
and the Canadian military strongly opposed condoning it. In the end,
the Canadian government maintained the right to prosecute these
deserters, but in practice left them alone and instructed border
guards not to ask questions relating to the issue.[18] Eventually,
tens of thousands of deserters were among those who found safe
refuge in Canada, as well as in Sweden, France, and the United

In Canada, many American Vietnam War evaders received pre-emigration
counseling and post-emigration assistance from locally based
groups.[20] Typically these consisted of American emigrants and
Canadian supporters. The largest were the Montreal Committee to Aid
War Objectors, the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme, and the Vancouver
Committee to Aid American War Objectors.[21] Journalists often noted
their effectiveness.[22][23][24] The Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants
to Canada, published jointly by the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme and
the House of Anansi Press, sold nearly 100,000 copies,[25] and was
read by over half of all American Vietnam War emigrants to
Canada.[26] In addition to the counseling groups (and at least
formally separate from them) was a Toronto-based political
organization, the Union of American Exiles, better known as
"Amex."[27][28] It sought to speak for American draft evaders and
deserters in Canada. For example, it lobbied and campaigned for
universal, unconditional amnesty, and hosted an international
conference in 1974 opposing anything short of that.[29]

Those who went abroad faced imprisonment or forced military service
if they returned home. The U.S. continued to prosecute draft dodgers
after the end of the Vietnam War. In September 1974, President
Gerald R. Ford offered an amnesty program for draft dodgers that
required them to work in alternative service occupations for periods
of six to 24 months.[30] In 1977, one day after his inauguration,
President Jimmy Carter fulfilled a campaign promise by offering
pardons to anyone who had evaded the draft and requested one. It
antagonized critics on both sides, with the right complaining that
those pardoned paid no penalty and the left complaining that
requesting a pardon required the admission of a crime.[31]

Some draft evaders returned to the U.S. from Canada after the 1977
pardon, but according to sociologist John Hagan, about half of them
stayed on.[32] This young and mostly educated population expanded
Canada’s arts and academic scenes, and helped push Canadian politics
further to the left. Notable Americans who left for Canada and
became prominent there include Jay Scott and Michael Hendricks.
Other draft evaders from the Vietnam era remain in Europe and Asia.

{sidebar} Mark Satin (left), director of the Toronto Anti-Draft
Programme,[19] counseling American draft resisters, 1967.

11. abcd  Baskir, Lawrence M.; Strauss, William A. (1987). Chance and
Circumstance: The Draft, the War, and the Vietnam Generation. New
York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-394-41275-7.

16. During the two World Wars when conscription was enacted in Canada,
military officials pursued those who evaded the draft illegally,
forced them into the Army and then court martialed them if they
refused to obey an officer.

17. Satin, Mark, ed. (1968). Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada.
Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2nd ed., pp. 83–84. No ISBN, but see
OCLC 467238. OCLC retrieved 14 August 2012.

18. Keung, Nicholas (20 August 2010). "Iraq War Resisters Meet Cool
Reception in Canada." Toronto Star. Retrieved 14 August 2012.

19. Burns, John (11 October 197). "Deaf to the Draft".
The Globe and Mail (Toronto), pp. 1–2.

20. Clausen, Oliver (21 May 1967). "Boys Without a Country". The New
York Times Magazine, pp. 25 and 94–105.

21. Williams, Roger N. (1971). The New Exiles: American War Resisters in
Canada. New York: Liveright Publishers, pp. 56–62. ISBN

22. Cowan, Edward (11 February 1968). "Expatriate Draft Evaders Prepare
Manual on How to Immigrate to Canada". The New York Times, p. 7.

23. Dunford, Gary (3 February 1968). "Toronto’s Anti-Draft Office
Jammed". Toronto Star, p. 25.

24. Wakefield, Dan (March 1968). "Supernation at Peace and War". The
Atlantic (Boston), pp. 42–45.

25. Adams, James (20 October 2007). "'The Big Guys Keep Being Surprised
by Us.'" The Globe and Mail (Toronto), p. R6.

26. Hagan, John (2001). Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters
in Canada. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, pp. 77–78. ISBN

27. Hagan, John (2001), pp. 80–81.

28. Williams, Roger N. (1971), pp. 79–83.

29. Hagan John (2001), pp. 81 and 161–62. A phone call to AMEX resulted
in a recorded message warning that the line was bugged by both U.S.
and Canadian intelligence services, and it was best to conceal
information that could reveal the caller's identity.

30. Author unknown (14 September 1974)."Flexible Amnesty Plan Is
Reported Set by Ford". The New York Times. Retrieved 14 August 2012.

31. Schulzinger, Robert D. (2006). A Time for Peace: The Legacy of the
Vietnam War. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. ??. Retrieved 30
July 2011. ISBN 978-0-49-507190-0.

32. Hagan, John (2001), pp. 3 and 241–42.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article: Canada and the Vietnam War
Section: American war resisters in Canada

American war resisters in Canada

See also: War resister

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 1968.[8] On May 22, 1969, Ottawa announced that
immigration officials would not and could not ask about immigration
applicants’ military status if they showed up at the border seeking
permanent residence in Canada.[9] According to Valerie Knowles,
draft dodgers were usually college-educated sons of the middle class
who could no longer defer induction into the Selective Service
System. 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.[8]

Starting in 1965, 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 30,000 and 40,000.[8] Whether or not this estimate is
accurate, the fact remains that emigration from the United States
was high as long as America was involved militarily in the war and
maintained compulsory military service; in 1971 and 1972 Canada
received more immigrants from the United States than from any other

Draft dodgers
Five young people sitting and talking intently
Mark Satin (left) counseling American Vietnam War evaders at the
Anti-Draft Programme office in Toronto, 1967.

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 20,000 to 30,000 draft-eligible
American men came to Canada as immigrants during the Vietnam era.
The BBC stated that "as many as 60,000 young American men dodged the
draft."[10] Estimates of the total number of American citizens who
moved to Canada due to their opposition to the war range from 50,000
to 125,000[11] This exodus was "the largest politically motivated
migration from the United States since the United Empire Loyalists
moved north to oppose the American Revolution."[12] Major
communities of war resisters formed in Montreal, the Slocan Valley,
British Columbia, and on Baldwin Street in Toronto, Ontario.

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.[13][14] This was led by campus chair
Matthieu Charette in the United States. Canadian immigration policy
at the time made it easy for immigrants from all countries to obtain
legal status in Canada.[15] By late 1967, draft dodgers were being
assisted primarily by several locally based anti-draft groups (over
twenty of them), such as the Vancouver Committee to Aid American War
Objectors[16][17] and the Toronto Anti-Draft Programme.[18][19] As a
counselor for the Programme, Mark Satin wrote the Manual for
Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada in 1968.[20][21] It sold nearly
100,000 copies overall.[22][23]

The influx of these young men, who (as mentioned earlier) were often
well educated[8][24][25] 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 1977 during the administration
of Jimmy Carter, roughly half of them stayed in Canada.[26]

Prominent draft dodgers who stayed in Canada permanently, or for a
significant amount of time include the below.[25] (For a separate,
distinct list of noteworthy deserters, see next section.)

    Jim Green – Vancouver city councillor and mayoral candidate
    Michael Wolfson – former assistant chief statistician at
Statistics Canada[9]
    Dan Murphy – political cartoonist
    Wayne Robinson – the father of Svend Robinson, former Member of
    Eric Nagler – Children's entertainer on The Elephant Show.
    Mike Fisher – A founding member of Heart – a popular rock/pop
    Jesse Winchester Singer-songwriter.
    Jeffry House – Lawyer
    Morgan Davis- blues musician[citation needed]
    Bill King – musician and organizer of Toronto's Beaches Jazz
    Michael Klein – physician, member of Physicians for Social
Responsibility, spouse of Bonnie Sherr Klein, father of Naomi Klein
and Seth Klein[9][25]
    Don Pease – lawyer[25]
    Charlie Diamond[25]
    David Rapaport[25]
    Tim Maloney[25]
    Michael Hendricks[25]
    Tony McQuail[25]
    Tom Riley[25]
    Juergen Dankwort[25]
    Harry Yates – Regional Personnel Officer, Ministry of the
Attorney General of British Columbia

{sidebar} Mark Satin (left) counseling American Vietnam War evaders
at the Anti-Draft Programme office in Toronto, 1967.


Distinct from draft resisters, there were also deserters of 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
2006.[29][30] Another similar case was that of Richard Allen
Shields: He had deserted the U.S. Army in Alaska in 1972 after
serving a year in Vietnam. Twenty-eight years later, in March 22,
2000, while he attempted to drive a lumber truck across the
US-Canadian border (in Metaline Falls, Washington) he was arrested
by U.S. Customs agents and jailed at Fort Sill. He was discharged
from the Army with an Other Than Honorable discharge in April 2000.
Other noteworthy deserters from that era include the following:

    Andy Barrie- former host of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Radio's Metro Morning in Toronto[9][25] (He later received a General
Discharge from the United States Army, became a Canadian citizen,
and is free to travel to the U.S.)
    Dick Cotterill[25]
    Michael Shaffer: "After six months in the Army, my application
for CO status was denied and I was told that I would be going to
Vietnam. I refused to draw my weapon and was ordered
court-martialed. On Labour Day 1970 I was able to escape and cross
into Canada.... During President Ford’s Clemency Program in 1975, I
went to Fort Dix seeking the “Undesirable Discharge” offered to
deserters who turned themselves in. The Army decided that I wasn’t
eligible and court-martial proceedings were resumed. With help from
the ACLU, I was released and two years later a Federal Court ordered
the Army to discharge me Honourably as a Conscientious Objector....I
remained in Vancouver"[25]
    Jack Todd – award-winning sports columnist for the Montreal
    Mike Tulley - Edmonton, Alberta area sound engineer and social

{sidebar} Interview with Mike Tulley, a deserter

Missing-text controversy

In February 2009, text on how both draft dodgers and resisters of
the Vietnam War were ultimately allowed to stay in Canada suddenly
vanished from the [ Government of Canada's] Citizenship and
Immigration [web]site."[24][32]

Originally, the Government of Canada website had contained the
following statements:

    ..."Starting in 1965, 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."[24]

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: Canadian Citizenship and Immigration, 1900–1977"[8] It
was originally posted on the Government of Canada website in the
year 2000, when the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Jean Chrétien,
was in power and responsible for the content of that website. But
"in 2009, the Harper government [took] a much dimmer view of dozens
of U.S. soldiers who've come north after refusing to serve in the
invasion of Iraq. Some had already been deported to face military
jail terms ranging from about six to 15 months."[24]

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, 2009, that multi-party committee passed, for the second
time, a non-binding motion reaffirming Parliament's earlier (June
2008) vote which recommended that the government let Iraq War
resisters stay in Canada.[33] A month and a half later, on March 30,
2009, the House of Commons again voted in a non-binding motion 129
to 125 in favour of the committee's recommendation.[34][35]

8. abcdef Knowles, Valerie (2000). "Forging Our Legacy: Canadian Citizenship
and Immigration, 1900–1977". Public Works and Government Services
Canada, Citizenship and Immigration Canada. ISBN 0-662-28983-8.

9. abcd Nicholas Keung (August 20, 2010). "Iraq war resisters meet cool
reception in Canada". Toronto Star. Retrieved August 24, 2010.

10. Gray, Jeff (July 6, 2004). "US deserter's Canadian campaign". BBC.
Retrieved January 19, 2009.

11. draft dodgers memorial to be built in B.C., CBC News, 09/08/2004

12. "On Strawberry Hill" by Chris Turner in The Walrus, September 2007.

13. Clausen, Oliver (May 21, 1967). "Boys Without a Country". The New
York Times Magazine, p. 25.

14. Williams, Roger N. (1971). The New Exiles: War Resisters in Canada.
Liveright Publishers, pp.  61–64. ISBN 978-0-87140-533-3.

15. Schreiber, Jan (January 1968). "Canada's Haven for Draft Dodgers".
The Progressive, p. 34.

16. Berton, Pierre (1997). 1967: The Last Good Year. Doubleday Canada,
p. 202. ISBN 978-0-385-25662-9.

17. Williams, Roger N. (1971), cited above, pp. 56–58.

18. Cowan, Edward (February 11, 1968). "Expatriate Draft Evaders Prepare
Manual on How to Immigrate to Canada". The New York Times, p. 7.

19. Hagan, John (2001). Northern Passage: American Vietnam War Resisters
in Canada. Harvard University Press, pp. 74–80. ISBN

20. Jones, Joseph (spring–summer 2002). "The House of Anansi's Singular
Bestseller". Canadian Notes & Queries, issue no 61, p. 19.

21. Satin, Mark, ed. (1968). Manual for Draft-Age Immigrants to Canada.
House of Anansi Press. No ISBN, but see OCLC 467238. Retrieved
December 14, 2012.

22. Adams, James (October 20, 2007). "'The Big Guys Keep Being Surprised
By Us'". The Globe and Mail (Toronto), p. R6. Retrieved December 12,

23. Hluchy, Patricia (June 1, 2008). "1968 Was a Tumultuous Year of
Protest in Cities Around the World". Toronto Star, p. 6. Retrieved
December 12, 2012.

24. abcd Bailey, Sue (July 5, 2009). "Iraq war resisters decry Tories'
website editing". The Toronto Star. Retrieved July 22, 2009.

25. abcdefghijklmn "Vietnam War Resisters, Then and Now". Retrieved
May 24, 2009.

26. Hagan, John (2001), cited above, pp. 167 and 242.

27. JAM! Music – Pop Encyclopedia

28. Roman Goergen (February 23, 2011). "Sanctuary Denied". In These
Times. Retrieved March 6, 2011.

29. Tremonti, Anna Maria (March 14, 2006). Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation, Radio, The Current, Retrieved
January 21, 2009. Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]

30. Deserter says he was treated well by U.S. military, CBC News,

31. (January 8, 2006) "Soundman quietly supports his causes", Edmonton
Journal, Retrieved December 12, 2012

32. Bailey, Sue (July 5, 2009). "Federal website changes undermine Iraq
resisters: critics". The Canadian Press. Retrieved July 17, 2009.

33. "Minutes of the meeting of The Standing Committee on Citizenship and
Immigration, February 12, 2009". Retrieved February 26,

34. Cooper, Alex (April 21, 2009). "Federal court to hear American war
resister's appeal". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 23, 2009.

CONTENTS, Monday, March 30, 2009". Retrieved February
26, 2011.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article: Desertion
Section: Vietnam War

Vietnam War

Approximately 50,000 American servicemen deserted during the Vietnam
War.[34] Some of these migrated to Canada. Among those who deserted
to Canada were Andy Barrie, host of Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation Radio's Metro Morning, and Jack Todd, award-winning
sports columnist for the Montreal Gazette.[35] Other countries also
gave asylum to deserted U.S. soldiers. For example, Sweden allows
asylum for foreign soldiers deserting from war, if the war does not
align with the current goals of Swedish foreign policy.

34. Vietnam War Resisters in Canada Open Arms to U.S. Military
Deserters. Pacific News Service. June 28, 2005.

35. "Vietnam War Resisters, Then and Now".

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article: Conscription
Section: Evading the draft in the United States

Evading the draft in the United States

Main article: Draft evasion

The New York Draft Riots (July 11 to July 16, 1863; known at the
time as Draft Week), were violent disturbances in New York City that
were the culmination of discontent with new laws passed by Congress
to draft men to fight in the ongoing American Civil War. The Central
Asian Revolt started in the summer of 1916, when the Russian Empire
government ended its exemption of Muslims from military service. The
conscription also became unpopular in Grand Duchy of Finland during
the reign of Nicholas II and was suspended; instead Finland paid a
levy tax, "military millions" as compensation for abolition of

In the United States and some other countries, the Vietnam War saw
new levels of opposition to conscription and the Selective Service
System. Many people opposed to and facing conscription chose to
either apply for classification and assignment to civilian
alternative service or noncombatant service within the military as
conscientious objectors, or to evade the draft by fleeing to a
neutral country. A small proportion, like Muhammad Ali, chose to
resist the draft by publicly and politically fighting conscription.
Some people resist at the point of registration for the draft. In
the United States around 1970, for example, the draft resistance
movement has focused on mandatory draft registration. Others resist
at the point of induction, when they are ordered to put on a
uniform, when they are ordered to carry or use a weapon, or when
they are ordered into combat.

In the United States, especially during the Vietnam War, some used
political connections to ensure that they were placed well away from
any potential harm, serving in what was termed a Champagne unit.
Many would avoid military service altogether through college
deferments, by becoming fathers, or serving in various exempt jobs
(teaching was one possibility). Others used educational exemptions,
became conscientious objectors or pretended to be conscientious
objectors, although they might then be drafted for non-combat work,
such as serving as a combat medic. It was also possible they could
be asked to do similar civilian work, such as being a hospital

It was, in fact, quite easy for those with some knowledge of the
system to avoid being drafted. A simple route, widely publicized,
was to get a medical rejection. While a person could claim to have
symptoms (or feign homosexuality) if enough physicians sent letters
that a person had a problem, he might well be rejected. It often
wasn't worth the Army's time to dispute this claim. Such an approach
worked best in a larger city where there was no stigma to not
serving, and the potential draftee was not known to those reviewing

For others, the most common method of avoiding the draft was to
cross the border into another country. People who have been "called
up" for military service and who attempted to avoid it in some way
were known as "draft-dodgers". Particularly during the Vietnam War,
U.S. draft-dodgers usually made their way to Canada, Mexico, or

Many people looked upon draft-dodgers with scorn as being "cowards",
but some supported them in their efforts. In the late years of the
Vietnam War, objections against it and support for draft-dodgers was
much more outspoken, because of the casualties suffered by American
troops, and the actual cause and purpose of the war being heavily

Toward the end of the U.S. draft, an attempt was made to make the
system somewhat fairer by turning it into a lottery, with each of
the year's calendar dates randomly assigned a number. Men born on
lower-numbered dates were called up for review. For the reasons
given above, this did not make the system any fairer, and the entire
system ended in 1973. By 1975, the draft was no longer mandatory.
Today, American men aged 18–25 are encouraged to sign up for the
Military, but there has not been a call-up since the Vietnam War.

In Israel, the Muslim and Christian Arab minority are exempt from
mandatory service, as are permanent residents such as the Druze of
the Golan Heights. Male Ultra-Orthodox Jews may apply for a
deferment of draft to study in Yeshiva, and the deferment tends to
become an exemption, while female religious Jews can be exempted
after presenting "religious declaration" to the IDF authorities, and
some (primarily National Religious or Modern Orthodox) choose to
volunteer for national service instead. Male Druze and Circassian
Israeli citizens are liable, by agreement with their community
leaders (Female Druze and Circassian are exempt from service).
Members of the exempted groups can still volunteer, but very few do,
except that Bedouin have a relatively large number who tend to
volunteer (usually for financial reasons).

{sidebar} Rioters attacking a building during the New York
anti-draft riots of 1863.

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article: Opposition to United States involvement in the Vietnam War
Section: Draft


See also: Kent State shootings and Jackson State killings

Protests bringing attention to "the draft" began on May 5, 1965.
Student activists at the University of California, Berkeley marched
on the Berkeley Draft board and forty students staged the first
public burning of a draft card in the United States. Another
nineteen cards were burnt May 22 at a demonstration following the
Berkeley teach-in.[53] Draft card protests were not aimed so much at
the draft as at the immoral conduct of the war.[54]

At that time, only a fraction of all men of draft age were actually
conscripted, but the Selective Service System office ("Draft Board")
in each locality had broad discretion on whom to draft and whom to
exempt where there was no clear guideline for exemption. In late
July 1965, Johnson doubled the number of young men to be drafted per
month from 17,000 to 35,000, and on August 31, signed a law making
it a crime to burn a draft card.

On October 15, 1965 the student-run National Coordinating Committee
to End the War in Vietnam in New York staged the first draft card
burning to result in an arrest under the new law.

In 1967, the continued operation of a seemingly unfair draft system
then calling as many as 40,000 men for induction each month fueled a
burgeoning draft resistance movement. The draft favored white,
middle-class men, which allowed an economically and racially
discriminating draft to force young African American men to serve in
rates that were disproportionately higher than the general
population. Although in 1967 there was a smaller field of draft
eligible black men—29 percent versus 63 percent of draft eligible
white men—64 percent of black men were chosen to serve in the war
through conscription, compared to only 31 percent of eligible white
men.[55] On October 16, 1967, draft card turn-ins were held across
the country, yielding more than 1,000 draft cards, later returned to
the Justice Department as an act of civil disobedience. Resisters
expected to be prosecuted immediately, but Attorney General Ramsey
Clark instead prosecuted a group of ringleaders including Dr.
Benjamin Spock and Yale chaplain William Sloane Coffin, Jr. in
Boston in 1968. By the late 1960s, one quarter of all court cases
dealt with the draft, including men accused of draft-dodging and men
petitioning for the status of conscientious objector.[56] Over
210,000 men were accused of draft-related offenses, 25,000 of whom
were indicted.[57]

The charges of unfairness led to the institution of a draft lottery
for the year 1970 in which a young man's birthday determined his
relative risk of being drafted (September 14 was the birthday at the
top of the draft list for 1970; the following year July 9 held this

The first draft lottery since World War II in the United States was
held on 1 December 1969 and was met with large protests and a great
deal of controversy; statistical analysis indicated that the
methodology of the lotteries unintentionally disadvantaged men with
late year birthdays.[58] This issue was treated at length in a
January 4, 1970 New York Times article titled "Statisticians Charge
Draft Lottery Was Not Random".

Various antiwar groups, such as Another Mother for Peace, WILPF, and
WSP, had free draft counseling centers, where they gave young
American men advice for legally and illegally evading the draft.

Over 30,000 people left the country and went to Canada, Sweden, and
Mexico to avoid the draft.[57] The Japanese anti-war group Beheiren
helped some American soldiers to desert and hide from the military
in Japan.[59] To gain an exemption or deferment, many men attended
college, though they had to remain in college until their 26th
birthday to be certain of avoiding the draft. Some got married,
which remained an exemption throughout the war. Some men were
rejected by the military as 4-F unfit for service failing to meet
physical, mental, or moral standards. Still others joined the
National Guard or entered the Peace Corps as a way of avoiding
Vietnam. All of these issues raised concerns about the fairness of
who got selected for involuntary service, since it was often the
poor or those without connections who were drafted. Ironically, in
light of modern political issues, a certain exemption was a
convincing claim of homosexuality, but very few men attempted this
because of the stigma involved. Also, conviction for certain crimes
earned an exclusion, the topic of the anti-war song "Alice's
Restaurant" by Arlo Guthrie.

Even many of those who never received a deferment or exemption never
served, simply because the pool of eligible men was so huge compared
to the number required for service, that the draft boards never got
around to drafting them when a new crop of men became available
(until 1969) or because they had high lottery numbers (1970 and

Of those soldiers who served during the war, there was increasing
opposition to the conflict amongst GIs,[60] which resulted in
fragging and many other activities which hampered the US's ability
to wage war effectively.

Most of those subjected to the draft were too young to vote or drink
in most states, and the image of young people being forced to risk
their lives in the military without the privileges of
enfranchisement or the ability to drink alcohol legally also
successfully pressured legislators to lower the voting age
nationally and the drinking age in many states.

Student opposition groups on many college and university campuses
seized campus administration offices, and in several instances
forced the expulsion of ROTC programs from the campus.

Some Americans who were not subject to the draft protested the
conscription of their tax dollars for the war effort. War tax
resistance, once mostly isolated to solitary anarchists like Henry
David Thoreau and religious pacifists like the Quakers, became a
more mainstream protest tactic. As of 1972, an estimated
200,000–500,000 people were refusing to pay the excise taxes on
their telephone bills, and another 20,000 were resisting part or all
of their income tax bills. Among the tax resisters were Joan Baez
and Noam Chomsky.[61]

{sidebar} Students demonstrate in Saigon, July 1964, observing the
tenth anniversary of the July 1954 Geneva Agreements.
{sidebar} Anti-Vietnam War protest. Vancouver, British Columbia,
Canada. 1968.
{sidebar} Anti-Vietnam War protest. Vancouver, B.C., Canada. 1968

53. "UC Berkeley Library Social Activism Sound Recording Project:
Anti-Vietnam War Protests – San Francisco Bay Area". Retrieved 2011-03-07.

54. Flynn, George Q. (1993). The Draft, 1940–1973. Modern war studies.
University Press of Kansas. p. 175. ISBN 0-7006-0586-X.

55. Graham III, Herman (2003). The Brothers' Vietnam War: Black Power,
Manhood, and the Military Experience. Gainesville: University of
Florida Press. pp. 16–17.

56. Small 1992

57. abc Fry 2007, p. 228

58. Nonrandom Risk: The 1970 Draft Lottery, Norton Starr, Journal of
Statistics Education v.5, n.2, 1997

59. Antiwar campaigners to donate documents to Vietnamese museum, Keiji
Hirano, Kyodo News, The Japan Times, February 16, 2002. (Web edition
hosted by lbo-talk under the title "What Japanese Anti-Vietnam War
activists are up to")

60. 1961–1973: GI Resistance in the Vietnam War,

61. War Tax Resistance War Resisters League (2003) p. 75

*   *   *   *   *   *

Article: American Canadian
Section: History of Americans in Canada

History of Americans in Canada

Americans have moved to Canada throughout history. During the
American Revolution, many Americans loyal to the British crown left
the United States and settled in Canada. These early settlers are
called United Empire Loyalists. Many Black Canadians are descendants
of African American slaves (Black Loyalist) who fled to Canada
during the American Revolution. Similar waves of American
immigration occurred during the War of 1812. The Black Refugees in
the War of 1812 also fled to Canada and many American slaves also
came via the Underground Railroad, most settling in either Halifax,
Nova Scotia or Southern Ontario.

In the early 20th century, over 750,000 American settlers moved into
the farming regions of the Prairie Provinces of Alberta, Manitoba
and Saskatchewan. Many of these were immigrants (of children of
immigrants) from Europe or Eastern Canada who had gone to the United
States looking for farm land only to find the supply of free
farmsteads there exhausted. Others were old-stock white Americans,
and small percentage were racial minorities, such as African
Americans. In 1916, Americans accounted for of 36% of all the
foreign-born residents of Alberta, 30% in Saskatchewan, and 8% in

In the 1930s, after World War II, and again the 1970s, waves of
Americans, many from Texas and Oklahoma, immigrated to Canada to
work in the country's growing oil industry.[citation needed] During
the Vietnam War era, many American draft dodgers fled to Canada to
avoid the war. About 10,200 Americans moved to Canada in 2006; this
was the highest number since 1977.[4]


4. "American moves to Canada reach record high". Canadian Broadcasting
Corporation. Retrieved July 30, 2007.

*   *   *   *   *   *



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