Draft Dodgers Monument Ditched After Outcry

Published October 04, 2004

| FoxNews.com

Plans for a bronze monument honoring American draft dodgers in Nelson, British Columbia, (search) have been scrapped.

The mayor of Nelson, who initially said his town was the right place for the "Our Way Home" festival and statue, has changed his tune.

"We don't want to do controversial monuments in the city of Nelson, that's the bottom line. If this does not have wide community support, then we don't want to create controversy within the city," Mayor Dave Elliott (search) told FOX News.

The monument might have avoided conflict if it were not for FOX News' viewers. After the initial story aired on FOX News Channel, hundreds of Americans fired off angry e-mails to Nelson officials. The response was so overwhelming that it was picked up by the Canadian media, putting pressure on the "Our Way Home" organizers to find a new home for their event or scrap it altogether.

The issue has been page one news in Nelson for more than a week and has divided this small town, which is home to both former draft dodgers (search) and to businesses that depend on American tourists.

"The business community is clearly unhappy about this, primarily because they're seeing effects immediately. There are cancellations and long-time visitors saying they're not going to return to Nelson," said the town's Chamber of Commerce manager Roy Heuckendorff.

But some say the town should stick to its guns. In a letter to Nelson's newspaper, Canada's poet laureate encouraged the city to make its decision based on something other than economic pressure.

As for the organizer of the festival and monument, he's an American who moved to Nelson. He refused to be interviewed by FOX News. He is said to still have plans for the two-day festival honoring draft dodgers on a private farm outside the city.

Click on the video box at the top of this story to watch a report by FOX News' Dan Springer.

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/story/2004/10/04/draft-dodgers-monument-ditched-after-outcry