Iraq war resister in Vancouver seeks government help to stay in Canada

Rodney Watson left the U.S. for Canada almost seven years ago to avoid deployment to Iraq.

Since then he has lived inside the First United Church in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside where he was given asylum.

"Right now Rodney cannot leave the church, not even to visit his son," said Jenny Kwan, federal NDP critic for Immigration and MP for Vancouver East.

READ MORE: Iraq war deserter takes sanctuary in downtown church

Kwan has released a letter signed by the NDP BC caucus, asking the federal government to make changes necessary to allow American conscientious objectors to stay.

"I'm calling on Minister Goodale to allow for Rodney to step outside of this church," said Kwan.

She said they've found a person from the community who's willing to provide both a financial and a performance bond for Rodney.

"This is not a game, this is not a joke for me at all, this is life or death for me," said Watson.

"I want to speak with you right now like this, just me and you right now Mr. Trudeau, I can see it in your eyes, when I see you on TV, that you have compassion in your heart; far more compassion that Stephen Harper ever had or ever showed me."

Watson is asking the Liberal government to "do the right thing."

During the Vietnam War, Canada accepted some 50,000 conscientious objectors from the U.S.

Source: Global News