I sent the following letter to the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, and newly minted Canadian Ambassador to the US.
Dear Messrs Harper, Mckay, and Wilson
I strongly urge the Canadian government to take urgent action with respect to the plight of Allen Abney of Kingsgate, BC.
In 1968, Mr. Abney deserted the US Army to avoid participation in the Vietnam War, and came to Canada.
On Thursday, March 9, Mr. Abney, travelling with his wife, was detained at the BC-Idaho border. He was subsequently arrested by the US customs officers.
He is now being held at his old base in San Diego, where he faces the prospect of court martial.
As of today, his wife of 35 years has not been allowed to contact him. This is the longest they have ever been apart, and it is very hard on both of them.
To make matters worse, Allen's brother Gerry died on Saturday, and his family is concerned that he will not be able to attend the funeral.
There is no good reason for the US authorities to carry on with this charade. There is no justification for them to hold Mr. Abnie for deserting 38 years ago, and thereby terrify his family. He is not a threat to the US, and by deserting, he avoided participation in a an illegal military action in which war crimes were committed by the US military.
I strongly and respectfully urge Prime Minister Harper, Foreign Minister McKay, and Ambassador Wilson to take action to ensure that Mr. Abney is allowed to return to his home in time for his brother's funeral, and that the matter will be dropped by United States authorities.