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Local fundraiser for Iraq-war resister living in Canada

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American army deserter Joshua Key is shown outside court in Toronto, April 2, 2008.

COLIN PERKEL / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

American army deserter Joshua Key is shown outside court in Toronto, April 2, 2008.

A former U.S. soldier who walked out on the war in Iraq and sought sanctuary in Canada is still living in limbo and looking for help in Winnipeg Monday night.

A fundraiser for Joshua Key is being held Monday at 7 p.m. at St. Matthews Church in the West End.

Key is one of an estimated 200 U.S. war resisters in Canada, and an outspoken opponent of the U.S. war agenda in Iraq.

In the 2007 book, The Deserter’s Tale: The Story of an Ordinary Soldier Who Walked Away from the War in Iraq, which he co-wrote with Book of Negroes author Lawrence Hill, Key recounts his difficult upbringing in Guthrie, Okla.

He talks about the economic hardship that compelled him to enlist in the military, the brutalizing of Iraqi civilians he saw his fellow soldiers committing almost daily, and his escape from the war after eight months of service.

Key arrived in Toronto on March 8, 2005, and days later made a claim for asylum as a conscientious objector seeking refugee status.[

He can’t legally work in Canada or access health care and other benefits. He married a Canadian and they have three children.

Monday’s event is being supported by Peace Alliance Winnipeg, Project Peacemakers, the Winnipeg chapter of the Council of Canadians, Winnipeg People’s Social Forum, Canadian Dimension and Food, Not Bombs.

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