A big difference between the current round of deserters and those during the Vietnam War appears to be scale. No precise data exist, but Victor Levant, who wrote “Quiet Complicity: Canadian Involvement in the Vietnam War,” estimated that about 20,000 Americans came to Canada to escape the Vietnam-era draft and 12,000 others in the armed forces deserted and entered Canada. Mr. Zaslofsky said he believed that no more than 200 American deserters from the Iraq war were now in Canada.
While the government does not publish figures, it appears that only about 50 deserters have made refugee applications, with the rest living illegally in Canada.
Actually it is much simpler than "scale". It has to do with the difference between a conscript military and a volunteer military.
A real argument can be made that a draftee that deserts does so because a) he did not agree to become a member of the armed forces but was forced into it and b) that he also didn't agree to participate in the conflict of the day.
That argument cannot be made by any member of the US Armed Forces today. Oh they can try to argue that they don't agree with the present conflict and thus don't want to fight it, but that argument simply doesn't cut it for the vast majority of people and it certainly isn't at all persuasive given the oath they voluntarily take at enlistment.
The guy featured in the article, of course, claims his National Guard recruiter lied to him and said he'd never have to fight on foreign soil. Although we all know that some recruiters have lied, you'd have to be a total moron to believe that - especially given the year he enlisted. National Guard troops had been pulling rotations in Kosovo for years by that time (I know, I helped train up units of the NG 29th Division for their deployment to Kosovo) and it was well known they were.
And even if you could even muster an iota of sympathy for the guy, it would all go down the drain at the end of the article:
As for Mr. Glass, he said he would return if ultimately ordered.
“I’m going to obey Canadian laws,” Mr. Glass said. “I’m not going to break any laws here.”
But US law - eh. Not such a big deal.
Frankly, I think Canada would be doing us a huge favor by keeping him.