Refugee board to reconsider case of lesbian deserter from U.S. army

A lesbian who deserted from the U.S. army and fled to Canada must have another chance to plead her case for refugee status, the Federal Court ruled Friday.

OTTAWA — A lesbian who deserted from the U.S. army and fled to Canada must have another chance to plead her case for refugee status, the Federal Court ruled Friday.

Judge Yves de Montigny says the board erred last February when it rejected Bethany Smith’s bid for refugee status.

Smith says she fled the army because she was harassed and threatened by fellow soldiers over her sexual orientation. She told of hundreds of threatening notes pinned to her barracks door, including a death threat.

She testified she was stationed at the same base where, in 1999, a gay male soldier been beaten to death as he slept. The note threatened her with the same fate.

She said she tried to get out of the army by revealing her sexual orientation. Under the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of the U.S. military, homosexuals can serve as long as they forgo sexual acts and keep their orientation to themselves. Those who speak up are normally discharged. But Smith said the army shrugged off her confession, saying the paperwork to discharge her wouldn’t be ready until after her next rotation to Afghanistan.

The judge said the board must reconsider her case because it unfairly dismissed evidence suggesting gays face harassment and brutality in the American military.

New Democrat MP Olivia Chow, welcomed the decision, but said such court cases shouldn’t be needed.

“The taxpayers can save a lot of money if Stephen Harper would just follow the will of Parliament and allow war resisters to stay in Canada,” she said.

“There’s a small number of them, they’re winning in court. It’s costly. It’s a lot cleaner if there’s special program that allows the ones who have filed claims to stay in Canada.”

In June 2008, the House of Commons passed a resolution urging the government to allow American military deserters to stay in Canada. The government has ignored the motion.

Just Posted

Rachel Notley is coming to Red Deer

Speaking at campaign office

UPDATED: Economy and health care expected to be hot election topics

Premier Rachel Notley makes announcement on Tuesday morning

Calgary woman convicted in son’s strep death seeking full parole

CALGARY — A woman convicted in her son’s death after she failed… Continue reading

Canadian women earn significantly less in pay, bonuses and profit sharing: study

TORONTO — Canadian women are paid 25 per cent less than men… Continue reading

UK’s May asks EU to delay Brexit until June 30

LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May formally asked the European Union on… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Want to help bees? Plant flowering herbs

Herbs are among the most useful plants in nature. They can tantalize… Continue reading

UN: Gene editing for human reproduction is ‘irresponsible’

GENEVA — A panel convened by the World Health Organization said it… Continue reading

Photos: Three moose spotted in Red Deer Tuesday

Three moose were spotted in Red Deer Tuesday morning. Red Deer resident… Continue reading

Most Read