VANCOUVER, British Columbia - A Canadian community
has blocked plans for a controversial memorial to Americans who
fled to Canada to avoid the Vietnam War and U.S. military draft,
officials said on Wednesday.
Peace activists wanted to build the memorial as part of a
reunion celebration scheduled for 2006 in Nelson, a small city in
the mountains of southeastern British Columbia, where many of the
Vietnam-era draft dodgers eventually settled.
The proposal was denounced by the U.S. Veterans of Foreign
Wars, and came as the issue of service in the military during
Vietnam has become an emotional flashpoint in the U.S.
Nelson's council passed a special resolution on Wednesday that
would requires any memorial using public funds or being built on
public lands to have "widespread community support."
"The Our Way Home monument does not meet this standard," the
council said in a press release.
The veterans group and other U.S. critics of the plan had
asked the White House to intervene, and threatened to organize an
economic boycott of the Nelson area in the Kootenay Region, which
has a significant tourism industry.
The Our Way Home group had already told city officials it was
willing to locate the bronze sculpture somewhere else, but still
planned to hold the peace gathering in July 2006.
The group said it wanted to honor both the U.S. citizens who
moved to Canada, rather than serve in a war they politically
opposed, and the Canadians who helped them build lives in a new
It has been estimated that 125,000 Americans fled to Canada to
avoid Vietnam and prosecution under U.S. law, although about half
returned home after President Jimmy Carter granted amnesty in
© 2004 Reuters Ltd.