Hiding In Canada?

This is a partial transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," February 9, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Impact" segment, U.S. Army deserter Jeremy Hinzman was in federal court today in Toronto, trying to convince a judge not to send him back to the USA. Canadian authorities have ruled Hinzman must return here, but he is appealing.

And, now, the Associated Press reports there may be hundreds of American military deserters hiding in Canada.

With us now, Rachel Marsden, a columnist for the Toronto Sun.

You know, we called the Pentagon and they won't say. They say, "Well, that's sounds a little high to us." Do you believe there are hundreds of U.S. military deserters up there?

RACHEL MARSDEN, COLUMNIST, TORONTO SUN: Well, that's what Jeffrey House's lawyer is saying. And he would know, if anyone, because he's the guy who's basically their spokesperson.

O'REILLY: Yes, but why would he tell the truth?

MARSDEN: Why wouldn't he tell the truth?

O'REILLY: Yes, why would he tell the truth?

MARSDEN: No particular reason. But let me tell you, in Canada, there are 36,000 people that are basically unaccounted for. That's the difference between the number of deportation orders and the number people who have actually deported in Canada.

O'REILLY: All right, so they can't find 36,000?

MARSDEN: So there's a real problem. No. They don't know where anyone is, let alone where these two guys are.

O'REILLY: But this guy Hinzman, the immigration people ruled that he has to come back here. Obviously, he committed a crime by deserting from the military. The military will try him. If he comes back here he'll go to jail.

MARSDEN: But he's appealed.

O'REILLY: But he's appealing and that's what today was?

Now, I understand the judge — there's one judge hearing the appeal and she is a very liberal judge, is that right?

MARSDEN: She is somebody who's basically been awarded — she's been given an award by a pretty liberal judicial organization. And that organization is actually — they put together the international criminal court. And she's known as a human rights judge. That's her field of expertise.

But she actually made a statement in court yesterday that was quite telling. She said, when somebody was actually the representative of the ministry of immigration, "Look, Americans, if we were to send this guy back to the USA, the USA has a process to deal with conscientious objectors," and, you know, there's a penalty phase and everything. But they do recognize conscientious objectors.

And the judge actually said, instead of just listening to the evidence and sitting back, actually made a statement and said, "They recognize it in principle but not in substance."

O'REILLY: All right, so she's — right.

MARSDEN: So that's a little odd thing to say for a judge.

O'REILLY: She is a far-left judge, named McTavish, right?

MARSDEN: Right. Ann McTavish.

O'REILLY: Ann McTavish. So...

MARSDEN: And she's been awarded — she's a member of and she's been award an award from the International Judicial Commission.

O'REILLY: All right, so we assume that she is going to be sympathetic to Hinzman.

Say she says that Hinzman can stay in the country, which would be a slap in the face to the USA?

MARSDEN: Well, she wouldn't do that. That's not what she's there to decide. She would basically say whether of not the original panel, the immigration panel...

O'REILLY: Right.

MARSDEN: ...erred in not considering the illegality of the Iraq war in their decision to not allow him to stay.

O'REILLY: OK, but say she rules Hinzman's way?


O'REILLY: Then what happens?

MARSDEN: They it goes back to the panel and they have to reconsider the whole issue in light of what her recommendation is. In other words, the legality of the court.

O'REILLY: Yes. And they come up and say no, the war isn't illegal. Because it clearly isn't illegal. I mean, it's legal.

MARSDEN: Right. Well, he can appeal all the way to the Supreme Court on this. It could take years.

O'REILLY: Years?

MARSDEN: Yes. It's been one year from — already.

O'REILLY: And that's what they're all hoping for right?


O'REILLY: And then all of the other U.S. deserters, if he wins, then it's open season.

MARSDEN: It's a test case. Right. It's a test case.

O'REILLY: Then they all stay.

MARSDEN: And the door — basically — yes, he'll kick open the door with that.

O'REILLY: Now, does it matter that the Canadian government has changed to a more conservative crew? Does that matter?

MARSDEN: Well, it will matter in the sense that judges are already — I mean, you know as well as I do that judges do their own little thing. It's a separate entity from legislators or the executive branch.

O'REILLY: Right.

MARSDEN: But, again, it's the same thing in Canada as it is here in the USA. But where it would matter is if he exhausts all appeals and he could then go the ministry of immigration and apply to stay in Canada on compassionate and humanitarian grounds, in which case, it's a ministry decision. So then you'd be dealing with the government.

O'REILLY: I see. OK.

MARSDEN: But that's the only point.

O'REILLY: So we can look for years of this kind of stuff, ponging back and forth and then...

MARSDEN: It can take forever.

O'REILLY: And then all of the other military deserters have safe harbor.

MARSDEN: Well, because nobody's looking for them. The only people that...

O'REILLY: Nobody's looking for them.

MARSDEN: The only people that the immigration authorities are really looking for are terrorists and criminals. And these guys who are just, you know, placed in the military...

O'REILLY: I must say the U.S. government doesn't seem too worried about this. I'm a little outraged by it. I don't think our closest ally up there should be harboring military deserters. Rachel.

MARSDEN: Well, I mean, you do it. If the U.S. government starts making noise, then maybe they'll put a little bit more attention on it.

O'REILLY: Well, they should because you can't have that up there.

Thanks very much. We appreciate it.

MARSDEN: No problem. Anytime.

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