Tamils Testing Canada’s Resolve

So what do we do now?  Last October, a ship carrying 76 Tamils from Sri Lanka docked in Canada, and all the passengers claimed refugee status.  They are still here, as their cases go through Canada’s drawn out refugee evaluation process: none were sent back to Sri Lanka.

Complicating things even more, coincidentally or deliberately,  some of them will undoubtedly have children born here while waiting for the outcome of their applications.

The word that none have been ordered out has apparently made it across the sea: another ship, carrying an estimated 200 more Tamils is believed headed right towards Canada and there are reportedly two more ships already signing up passengers (and taking their money)  promising passage to our shores. Undoubtedly, all of thosee passengers will also claim refugee status.

So what are we to do?

Canada is a country that has prospered from the millions of legitimate refugees throughout our history who have established new lives here. Indeed , many of our ancestors … whether from  Europe, South America, the Middle East  or Asia  … came to get away from some type of oppression.

I believe we owe it to legitimate refugees, fleeing sometimes horrific conditions and treatment,  to provide them a welcome, our sympathy and our support.  (It remains a stain on Canada’s history that we turned away so many Jewish refugees during the Second World War, and even sent many back … to their deaths.) 

So if there are real refugees on any ship or plane or car or on foot who make it to Canada and can prove they face oppression, injury and even death in the country they are fleeing, then we should open our doors to them.

But who are these Tamils who have come on last Fall’s ship … or are coming on the vessel expected within days,  or are packing themselves up in Sri Lanka  for the next Canada sailings?

The government fears that many are former Tamil Tiger terrorists …. members of a horribly brutal repressive Sri Lankan separatist group that committed murders, extortion, piracy and sent fear throughout many, many communities in their path. 

They should not be allowed to stay Canada.

Then there are those economic improvement seekers : people who have come to Canada or are on their way, simply coming for better economic opportunities, better education, better health care, better living conditions for themselves and their children. But unlike the millions of immigrants who respected the rules and came to Canada legally,  these economic “refugees”  have not applied to immigrate, filled out any forms or waited either approval or their turn in the qeue.  They thumb their noses at our laws… and just expect to come here, settle in.

They should not be allowed to stay in Canada.

And we must send a message to the world that Canada welcomes true refugees but will NOT be a dumping ground for terrorists (whether  Tamil Tigers, Hamas, Hesbollah, Rwanda, FARC of Khalistan) and we expect aspiring economic immigrants to apply, do the paperwork and wait their turn.

How do we send that message?

We must detain and contain ALL refugee claimants in secure facilities until their cases are dealt with and adjudicated. Yes, speed up the process, but we should not just release all refugee claimants into our cities, on public assistance, to establish lives, and work  until their claim is accepted, or if their case is rejected. to take off and ignore deportation orders 

Real refugees will not mind being held/fed  in warm/safe/secure facilities while their stories are checked out … and then can be welcomed into our society and given all the support they need to establish new lives.

 Those who protest the most, I submit, are the fakers: economic migrants who thumb their noses at Canada’s immigration laws; and terrorists who never respected the rights of others back home and just want to escape justice by coming to Canada.

We owe these people nothing. We must not  free them to enjoy life here. Send them home to pay for their crimes, or to apply to immigrate to Canada like all the honest applicants do.

By detaining them …and then throwing out all the illegitimate claimants without giving them a chance to go into hiding, we will send the clear message Canada is not a dumping ground for criminals and those who just think they can come to live here without respecting our rules or even filling out an application.

Otherwise, get ready for more and more arrivals of ships  from all over… Asia, South America, Africa … loaded with people, but with not a single documented immigrant among them.  

Harv Oberfeld

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19 Responses to Tamils Testing Canada’s Resolve

  1. Gary E says:

    One word Harvey, “Exactly”

  2. Ruraidh says:

    I gather from the census debacle that our government in Ottawa disdains arbitrary and capricious intrusion on personal privacy.

    So I assume therefore that Ottawa will not take any different action other than the previous interaction with Sri Lanka maritime refugee claimants.

    Ottawa did not listen to widespread condemnation of their census position so why should they now listen to widespread citizen concerns about the lax policies over maritime refugees.

    (Response: With more than double the number of passengers on this sghip …and reports that more are on their way …looks like a new strategy is needed … quick! h.o).

  3. Kim says:

    I wonder why Harper would allow this to happen, while at the same time threaten to send home american military refugee’s? Or to fail to repatriate Canadians in prisons overseas. Maybe, he’s anticipating the crisis of overcrowded prisons here, so that he can use that as a talking point in his 9 billion for private prisons speech!

    (Response: I don’t want anyone here illegally … whether they have broken our laws or those of another country …unless they are legitimate refugees. As for Canadians imprisoned overseas … if their convictions were legitimate and fair and their prison conditions are not inhumane. I don’t have much sympathy. If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime. h.o)

  4. SC says:

    Even though you’re retired, you should be the Deputy Minister of Immigration crafting policy as sound as this. I echo Gary E’s comments. This is completely on-point.

    The thing I find galling, besides the fact those coming here illegally and thumbing their noses at those who have followed the rules and/or now waiting for approval is the fact that these people can collect welfare and other public funds, and in some (or perhaps many) cases, these queue jumpers are treated better than our own natural born citizens.

    By releasing them, particularly those involved in terrorism, we are practically (or maybe we have already) putting out the welcome mat to give them plenty of time to abscond a deportation order and they simply get lost, doing god knows what.

    (Response: Just deputy? 🙂 Canadians are a warm, generous people …but there are THOUSANDS of illegal immigrants who are still here …YEARS after being ordered deported. They thumb their noses at us …and that sends messages back home…come to Canada; you can stay ,even if they say No. h.o)

  5. Janet says:

    You have said it more than once, Harv … “They should not be allowed to stay in Canada.” IMHO, the HST is small potatoes, compared to this issue. Why should they be allowed to set foot on Canadian soil? Why should we settle for this? Do our Members of Parliament have any backbone?

    (Response: The challenge is sorting out TRUE refugees from the scammers, fraudsters and qeue jumpers … and they shouldn’t be released into society or sent home until we’ve figured out who is who. h.o)

  6. SC says:

    Yes, just Deputy Minister, Harv. To be the Minister, you’d have to be a politican and I think you have too much credibility to lose. Plus, to get into Cabinet, you’d have to kiss too much ass, which is something I CAN’T see you doing! 😛 Besides, Deputy Ministers to much of the real work.

    To answer your question Janet, “Do our Members of Parliament have any backbone?” I don’t know if this is a rhetorical question or not, but if it isn’t, I’d say the answer is a prevailing no. After all, these are politicians. Politicians have this uncanny ability to contort in such a way, you’d think they were apart of Cirque du Soleil.

    I wouldn’t be surprised though, as Ruraidh rightly points out “So I assume therefore that Ottawa will not take any different action other than the previous interaction with Sri Lanka maritime refugee claimants.” I’ll be shocked if Ottawa actually does something about this, or if Ottawa will more likely (yet, again) be the Three Wise Monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil).

    (Response: OK ..Deputy it is .and would work out perfectly: I’d take no b.s. ..put up with no bull …or partisan agendas, so I’d probably be fired by the Minister ..and walk away with enough $$$ in a wrongful dismissal settlement for a really decent retirement! h.o)

  7. Leah says:

    To my way of thinking it’s pretty simple…if you come here illegally, you don’t set foot on land. You’re on the boat until such time as we have absolute proof of who you are. To come here as many did on the last Sri Lanka boat, with NO papers of any kind, and expect to be welcomed with open arms…no. Sorry. They shouldn’t have been allowed off the boat.

    Apparently the numbers on this boat are now changing somewhat…no longer 200…now the estimate is somewhere around 500, including women and children. At what point do we stand up and say…”No More! Get your papers in order, do what is required legally, or stay where you are.”

    It really IS alright for us to say “No.”

    (Response: The problem is sometimes real refugees, fleeing for the lives, being shot at or being chased with machetes after their homes are burned, don’t have time or can’t do the proper paperwork. The challenge is to separate those out from what I believe to be the vast majority … economic opportunists disrespecting ALL our laws and immigration rules. h.o)

  8. AJ says:

    These folks could end up running a tree planting operation somewhere. What is wrong with that?

  9. Carol says:

    Hello, yes Harv. I can’t take anymore of these So-called Refugee immigrants into this country, its ridiculous. Our country is in Enough Debt already and our young people suffering with very Poor economy and NOT too mention the Asian Invasion problem that we Already have. Shootings now across areas of B.C. that we Never heard of before. Gang shootings and Drug problems because of all these Asian immigrants, My god what is happening to this beautiful country of ours and how do we STOP it before its too late. ? I worry everyday about my young children and what Future they have, how do we STOP this, legally or is it even possible. These so called Refugees are NOT our problem, we have ENOUGH of our own problems to deal with Already.

    (Response: I sympathize with your feelings that some things have changed, and not for the better. But I disagree with some of your views. By far the vast vast majority of immigrants from Asia are terrific citizens ….boosting our economy and enriching our diversity. And the restaurants are sure a lot better than they used to be. 🙂 The criminal element is very tiny…but gets the headlines. I must admit I sometimes worry about the ultra conservative values of the older immigrants,… just as most of OUR parents were …. from anywhere: but give it a generation or two and their kids and grandkids, raised in Canada with Canadian values, are no different than any of us born here. h.o)

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  11. kootcoot says:

    If we in the western world and the coporations that own us weren’t so busy exploiting Asians, Africans and Latin Americans for their resources and forcing farmers off their land to expedite the exportation of monoculture coporate agribusiness – these people wouldn’t be so desparate to come here . We’ve completely screwed them and where they live over so “what goes round, comes round.”

    This “terra-guy” word is perhaps the most overused in the universe ever since DickHead Cheney and his pet Monky Bush the Lesser discovered that simply shouting “terrorist” could justify any absurd policies, invading any country, imprisoning and torturing at will. To the King George of the 18th century, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson would be terrorists, to the King of Spain, Simon de Bolivar would be a terrorist and when the Russians were preceding us in occupying Afghanistan, the Taliban were “Allies in Arms” – just like Castro was a hero in America briefly, until they found he was more concerned about the welfare of Cubans than his predecessors who were cheap to own and could care less for their fellow Cubans, as long as they got the money and a mansion or two..

    As I recall, none of the last Tamil boatload turned out to be “terra-guys” – I’d call them the unfortunate losers in an ethnic battle over an island and the current government of Sri Lanka is equally deserving of the name terrorist today – but then the biggest terrorist state on earth is just a couple hours drive south of my current location – The Tamil Tigers haven’t got to the level of bombing whole cities (Shock and Awe over Baghdad) and/or polluting them with Depleted Uranium (Fallujah and elsewhere)- that’s more the normal behaviour for “respectable” states!

    As an immigrant myself, I know that in general people would prefer to remain where they feel is home. After decades in BC, I’m very glad circumstances led me to come here, but without the negative aspects of where I was and the conflict that prompted my migration, I never would have considered moving ANYWHERE!

    Many experts say that Canada NEEDS immigrants, to compensate for the declining birth/replacement rate – and it is unrealistic to expect them to ALL be doctors. This value or need for immigration is especially strong for those who buy into the unsupportable notion that economics requires constant growth.

    Of course in today’s new world we don’t need workers, or farmers, or hewers of wood, we’ve got folks to do that stuff cheap halfway around the world – and goddamn it, they gotta stay there and do our stuff cheap – we still got lots of oil to waste shipping raw materials and finished product back and forth around to world to take advantage of cheap labour (except for you Mexicans etc. that are willing to be a third class citizens in the US and work in the meat processing industry or manicure our golf courses).

  12. Kim says:

    Thank you Kootkoot, you took the words right out of my mouth.

    We need to ask ourselves, who are we as a people, really? Are we willing to allow fear and ignorance guide our human rights policy? We used to be so much better than that.
    Kootkoot is right, we, as an industrialised nation, have allowed our foriegn policy to abuse indigenous peoples worldwide. We have a responsibility to shoulder some of the burden.

    Its not third world immigrants we need to guard against, its the globalisation movement that lays waste worldwide, including our sacred backyard.

    We need to revisit the status given the corporate entity as a person under the law and until we do, we are headed towards the dark ages.

    Thank you for the forum Harv.

    (Response: At first thought, I didn’t equate Canada to those other historic imperialist, colonizing countries. But the truth is … many, many Canadian companies have made fortunes doing business in third world countries, paying dismal wages, bribing local officials, looking the other way to corruption and human rights abuses ..and helping support all kinds of dictatorships, for our own economic gain and low cost products. It’s world business …and I think we do have a responsibility to help legitimate refugees fleeing conditions and brutality we have helped survive and even financially assisted. h.o)

  13. Kim says:

    You don’t have to look far to see the evidence. Google Barrick Gold. Dig into the FTA with Columbia. Our mining industry in general is guilty, as is the shipping industry and the fashion industry.

    It isn’t the immigrants that are breaking our social fabric, it is Federal and Provincial ideology. If we allow them to demonize entire races of people using divisive politics, we deserve the result.

    (Response: Exactly. But few Canadians know how some of our “global” industries, and others from many other “rich” countries, have done business with corrupt regimes that allow the exploitation of their working people, earning $1 a day or working in scary conditions, while the leaders and corporate owners fill their pockets with Western $$$. We can’t just keep looking away. h.o)

  14. Lynn L says:

    If you come to my country uninvited I should not have to pay for you.

    If you came to my driveway and decided you and your family would move into my house and eat my food, and use my health care,
    then
    I HAVE THE RIGHT to say NO!

    What makes this any different.

    NOW WE HAVE TO USE MONEY WE DO NOT EVEN HAVE TO FEED OUR SENIORS….
    based on what seniors get in retirement after working in Canada for 50 years or more and paying into the CPP and social systems…

    They get less than enough to both pay rent and buy food ($1500 a month) and we are supporting people who came here uninvited.

    WRONG! Feed our seniors…..FIRST

    (Response: I understand your feelings ..but disagree. This is a big, rich country..surely we have room and the heart to save REAL refugees ..people fleeing for their lives with only the shirts on their backs from countries where extremists with machetes roam the streets, lopping off limbs and hacking people to death because they hasppen to be Tamils, Hutu, or Tutsi or Christian etc??? I don’t want a single non-refugee would-be migrant to be allowed to jump the line … send those back. But real refugees… WELCOME and BE SAFE in Canada. And by the way, I have never seen ANY evidence that REAL refugees linger on assistance … almost all of them work so hard to improve their families lives, they contribute a lot to our economy bwefroe you know it. h.)

  15. Kim says:

    I understand your frustration Lynn. I have been watchinp people immigrate to my beautiful island my whole life, and it hasn’t improved my life one bit.

    You probably don’t want to hear this arguement then, but here goes. How do you think the natives felt when the europeans moved into their neighbourhoods? With their smallpox, influenza, STD’s, firearms, etc…

    There isn’t money for the social programs we so desparately need, why is there money for a retractable roof? On a sport venue? And $9 billion for fighter jets (without competitive bidding) Why $9 billion for prisons?

    When the government suddenly cries broke, why don’t they raise corporate taxes, which are among the lowest in the world? These are the questions we must be asking of our legislators.

    Fair enough, obviously we need to simplify our immigration policy with regards to human smuggling. If those people had arrived at the airport, with their $50,000 intact, they would immediately be a stimulus to the local economy, rather than a drain on the judicial system.

  16. Mike C says:

    I’m almost certain our “Refugee Policy” contains a clause about accepting “refugees” only from their country of origin, ie: they have to be fleeing repression WHERE THEY LIVE and must come directly from there to Canada, not through a second country.
    These “refugees” allegedly came from Thailand after leaving Sri Lanka.
    Obviously, either Thailand didn’t want them or the “refugees” didn’t want to stay there, preferring to come to Canada to leach off the “system” that supports bleeding heart “immigration lawyers” and “immigration consultants” and “community advocates” as well as others whom I call proponents of the “bum industry,” those who claim to be helping the less fortunate but profiting from their plight.
    Secondly, they all apparently paid “someone” fifty thousand dollars for their “passage.”
    And why is this entire affair being handled by the so-called Public Safety Minister and not the Minister of Immigration?
    Do the Harpocrits have a hidden agenda here?
    Do you believe these people really welcome immigrants of any type, with so many hoops to jump through when you legitimately apply?
    I know all about the process, having helped one of my families who came from overseas and another educated in the US and in Canada in a two year long process to obtain landed immigrant status.
    But show up on a boat or a bus at the border or shoreline and declare you’re a “refugee” and you’re allowed to enter the country without documents or waiting in line as do thousands of qualified immigrants who will turn out to be productive tax paying citizens.
    This whole thing stinks to high heaven.

    (Response: I think our system needs a hard look. I’m going to blog on that next. h.o)

  17. LEW says:

    Based on my knowledge, the governemnt has a debt of more than 50 billion , how can the government waste any money on this? Canada is not God, it cannot save everyone, if you do not respect law, you will be punished. In this word, we have got over populated. See what the people are doing, cutting diown trees, polluting the air, making the lake and river dry. Once they destroy the environment, they will escape, they will continue to destroy the new environement. When will this stop? Once that make Canada as populated as the other third world country, and as poor as the other third world, where can we escape? Can we go to Moon?

    (Response: I believe you reflect the frustration of many, many Canadians. And I can understand it … except it sounds like “I’m here now ..close the door on anyone else” . We are a country of people who either immigrated legally from civilized countries AND many, many, many whose ancestors fled as refugees from terrible conditions and discrimination in Ireland, Europe, Asia, South America etc etc. I am also frustrated at the inability of so many countries to take care of their own, to live as civilized people without violence directed at some of their own citizens, with widespread corruption, cultural and religious backwardness, etc. BUT don’t think we can just shut the door: we need to remain an open country where TRULY oppressed can obtain refuge. And I remind readers almost all refugee claimants who are accepted go on to become fine, productive tax-paying hard-working citizens, who I susopect appreciate Canada and what it stands fror more than some of us born here. h.o)

  18. Bob T says:

    Vic Toews as “security minister” has totally screwed up by constantly blabbing in the media about monitoring this ship coming from SriLanka via Thailand. He should havekept his bog mouth shut and worked with Defence Minister Peter Mackay to send out 2 fully armed naval vessels and a supply ship to intercept this Srilankan ship “somewhere” in a totally secret area of the Pacific. There to board and replenish that ship and turn it around and send it back under UN escort without the Canadian Media, courts and opposition politicians every getting wind of what was happening.

    The Asian countries like India should accept far greater responsibility for refugees in their area and not to always expect western countries like Canada and Australia to always act as “doormats ” to solve their failed politics and population programs!

    The Federal government is constitutionally obligated to protect Candian national sovereignty and by not rigorously enforcing the immigration and refugee act, stop funding immigration lawyers, and enable the CBSA to round up and deport illegals without court interference. At present the Feds in Ottawa are doing precisely the opposite and Canadians are extremely angry!

  19. Matt N says:

    The Canadian Tamil Congress fears the names of hundreds of Tamil asylum-seekers who boarded the MV Sun Sea and their families back home have been stolen in what they allege is either a hate crime or an act of international espionage.“We were targeted.

    In addition to this, you may want to visit Triple” E” Immigration Services, a known for its expertise when it comes to immigration consulting. Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, our company is acknowledged for its efficiency service in handling immigration concerns. Our team of competent and experienced Certified Canadian Immigration Consultants (CCIC) is ready to answer any of your inquiries.

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