By Etan Vlessing
TORONTO (Hollywood Reporter) - Michael Moore, a longtime defender of Canada, has slammed the Great White North for its treatment of U.S. war dodgers.
"It is absolutely shameful how Canada has behaved toward those who have resisted this (Iraq) war. It's not the Canada we used to know," the U.S. documentary maker said during a panel discussion at the Toronto International Film Festival.
Moore said Canadians opened their border to American draft dodgers during the Vietnam War. "This country was so generous to those of my generation who did not want to kill the Vietnamese, and they opened the border," he said. By contrast, the Canadian government and courts have so far resisted offering refuge to U.S. soldiers going north to avoid battle in Iraq.
Speaking on the same panel, screenwriter Paul Laverty -- in Toronto to promote "Even The Rain," a Spanish-language film about Christopher Columbus -- pointed to a recent public opinion poll that suggested two-thirds of Canadians opposed Ottawa's stance on U.S. soldiers who apply for refugee status to remain in Canada.
Laverty added that the United States, which has signed the Geneva Conventions, has an obligation to investigate war crimes committed in Iraq, including instances of alleged torture.