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  1. #1
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    An American Refugee in London.

    Okay, London, Ontario. I couldn't resist the film title.

    Okay, not even there. It's actually Saskatchewan. But "An American Refugee in Saskatchwan" just sounds ridiculous. Here's the deal:

    A US woman was just granted refugee status in Canada for doing something stupid here, but criminal there. Even though our US-boot-licking government is horrified, the Refugee Board did its job and determined we can't send someone back to the US when she has committed no crime but faces 30 years in jail anyway. Persecution by the State of Florida.

    For the past year, residents of Pike Lake, Sask., have come to know Denise Harvey as just another neighbour, an ordinary woman in a tightly knit community.But for residents of Vero Beach, Fla., Harvey is a fugitive, a sex offender and — to many — a victim of an unjust justice system.
    Harvey, an American, fled to Canada with her husband last year after being sentenced to 30 years in prison for having sex with her son’s 16-year-old friend. But the system caught up with her last week, when she was arrested by RCMP in Pike Lake. She made an appearance before an Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Monday and was released on a $5,000 bond.
    She is claiming refugee status to avoid being forced back to Florida, arguing the 30-year-sentence she received was too severe.
    The other side of the debate, I suppose, is she did know what country she was living in at the time, and so maybe she should face the consequences of the insane state she chose to live in.

    Or another argument, that it doesn't quite make sense to accept refugees from an ally. I kind of agree with that for draft dodgers and military personnel gone awol. When two countries freely agree to a military alliance, I don't think they should enable desertion from each others' armed forces. But in this case, the Florida law is grossly overreaching. Desertion is a crime in Canada too, while stupid poorly-judged sexual liaisons are not, provided the 16-year-old consents and the adult does not have any authority over the teen. Maybe that's the difference.

    What say you?

  2. #2
    Bammer's Papa
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    Re: An American Refugee in London.

    I'm presuming this is your source:

    I say grant her refugee status -- and any other sex offender whose crime in the US would not be one in Canada. The reason is simple: the lifelong registration requirement is cruel and unusual punishment, something I suspect would never be tolerated in Canada (and wouldn't be in the U.S. if certain Supreme Court justices hadn't made up their own statistics to argue that sex offenders are incredibly dangerous (when, statistically, your kids are safer with a registered sex offender who's never missed a registration than with a member of Congress).

    "Thirty-one* states allow all qualified citizens to carry concealed weapons. In those states, homosexuals should embark on organized efforts to become comfortable with guns, learn to use them safely and carry them. They should set up Pink Pistols task forces, sponsor shooting courses and help homosexuals get licensed to carry. And they should do it in a way that gets as much publicity as possible. "

    --Jonathan Rauch, Salon Magazine, March 13, 2000

    *the number is now forty

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