The Chronicle-Herald wrote an editorial yesterday that says Canada needs to work harder to "stop the migrant tide" represented by the Sun Sea arriving in Victoria, and "turn back future ships." Here's my response:
Re: "Stop migrant tide: Turn table on Tigers"
Your editorial plays into the wave of anti-migrant hysteria that seems to grip the country when a highly visible boatload of refugee claimants arrives on Canadian shores. Never mind that the 490 migrants on board the Sun Sea represent a tiny fraction of those seeking asylum in Canada each year, or that reports from Amnesty International indicate that tens of thousands of people still live in squalid camps in Sri Lanka, that thousands more were massacred by government forces just last year, and more still are arrested and jailed indefinitely on mere suspicion of being associated with the Tamil Tigers. Never mind, either, that Canada accepts less than 0.1% of the world's refugees - 80% of the world's refugees are in developing countries.
You casually throw around the language of "terrorism" and "smuggling," stereotyping all migrants without a shred of evidence. In fact, as Harsha Walia writes in the Vancouver Sun, we should wonder why "well-financed...terrorists or traffickers would suffer in a three-month long, arduous journey risking death?"
You mention that "an earlier migrant ship, the Ocean Lady, which landed in B.C. in October, is believed to have been on a test run to probe Canada’s reaction, which did not disappoint. All those passengers were released pending the outcome of their refugee application," while not mentioning that all those passengers were released because again, as the Harper government admitted barely a month ago, there was absolutely no evidence to suggest that the migrants from that boat - held in jail for months after their treacherous sea journey - had any connection to the Tamil Tigers. The government's chief "anti-terrorism expert," Rohan Gunaratna, was ruled to be entirely uncredible.
Have we forgotten the lessons of the St. Louis, the infamous boat of desperate Jewish refugees that was turned away from Canada in 1939, only to send hundreds of its passengers back to die in Nazi death camps? What is this insane, global race to the bottom when it comes to proving how "tough" our country is against refugee claimants, as though we were in some sort of bizarre anti-humanitarian competition? Are we so blind as to ignore the reasons why people abandon their homelands and spend their life savings on a risky boat trip, only to be treated as criminals upon their arrival?