Last Friday, The Sun Sea docked near Victoria after being at sea for almost four months. The ship carried nearly 500 Tamil people, including women and children - all of whom are expected to make refugee claims to remain in Canada.
The Tory Government doesn't like it one bit - and they are making their position clear with alarmist headlines about for-profit human smuggling and the possibility that the refugee seekers include terrorists.
The Torys seem to view this event as an opportunity to tighten even further the immigration policies that have been slashed left and right since Harper took power.
“It’s is not the first time that the Canadian government has whipped up public anxiety at the arrival of asylum-seekers,” said Myer Siemiatycki, a professor in immigration settlement studies at Ryerson University.
It has happened numerous times but most recently in 1987 when 174 Sikhs landed by boat in Charlesville, N.S., and again in 1999 when some 600 Chinese migrants arrived at the shores of British Columbia.
There was mass hysteria then, just like it is now.
“When the government uses words like smuggling, Tamil Tigers and terrorists, most Canadians assume there is evidence,” said Siemiatycki. “But there isn’t … and making statements like that is irresponsible and does terrible injustice to the people on the boat.”
The Canadian government is partially responsible for stoking this mass hysteria, he added.
What’s playing out “is the sixth or the seventh sequel of some Grade B horror movie called Here Come the Boat People,” said Siemiatycki. “It’s the same thing every time … it’s tiresome, unworthy of Canada.”
Read the article in The Star here
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