B.C. city rejects draft-dodger monument

Nelson city council decided Wednesday that a planned monument to draft dodgers would be a 'misuse of public funds'

Municipal politicians in Nelson, B.C., have decided that a controversial monument to American draft dodgers will not go up in their city.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, city council decided there would be no public money or public land for a monument unless it had broad public support in the community.

A statement released by the city says the planned monument to war resisters doesn't meet that criteria. It also says such a monument would be a "misuse of public funds."

A private Nelson-based group called Our Way Home announced plans three weeks ago to build the monument somewhere in the city.

The planned statue depicts a Canadian reaching out to help two U.S. draft dodgers. It was to be unveiled during a July 2006 two-day festival in honour of U.S. conscientious objectors.

But the proposal has drawn strong opposition from some local residents and many Americans, especially veterans' groups.

A spokesperson for Our Way Home now says the monument will only be built in a community happy to have it, and that will not be Nelson.

As many as 125,000 young Americans fled to Canada in the 1960s and '70s to avoid fighting in the Vietnam War. Many settled in the Nelson area.