Ever since I can remember I've heard the comment that there is "no difference" between Canadians and Americans. I respectfully beg to differ as there is a difference on so many levels! We have unique Canadian culture consisting of Canadianisms, a Canadian perspective on world events, Canadian cuisine as well as products and foods only available in Canada. This blog is dedicated to celebrating all things Canadian from "my perspective" as a Canadian. Please enjoy your visit and be sure to visit often.

Garden Gnome
Americans should never underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and we're different people because of you. Living next to you is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I can call it that, one is effected by every twitch and grunt. It should not therefore be expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself as a mirror image of the United States.
- Pierre Trudeau

Friday, August 13, 2010

Migrant Ship Arrives in Canada

A couple of days ago there were reports of a ship of Sri Lankans heading towards British Columbia seeking refugee status.  Yesterday the MV Sun Sea was intercepted off Vancouver Island and boarded by Canadians (RCMP, navy) and escorted to CFB Esquimalt near Victoria where it docked this morning.  The small vessel had about 490 migrants on board, many women and children.  Several are ill from their migration journey that began in May.  According to Public Safety Minister Vic Toews some of those aboard are 'human smugglers and terrorists'.

Last October a ship carrying 76 Sri Lankan Tamils arrived off the coast of Vancouver Island.  That vesessle was escorted to Victoria where the migrants were detained for several months. Toews has said suggested there will be changes in Canada's laws to prevent future ships from arriving the same way.  "Let me be clear on this point: human smuggling, illegal migration or any other abuses of Canada’s immigration system can not and will not be tolerated," he said.

As a signatory to the UN Convention on Refugees, Canada must process all refugee claimants who manage to reach Canadian soil1.  This immediately brings into question the reason for letting the ship dock in the first place.  Until the migrants actually leave the ship they have not officially reached Canadian soil.  As boaters who travel between Canada and the US we know that you are not considered landed until you actually leave your boat in either country.  Escorting this ship to shore and allowing it to dock sends the message that Canada condones human smuggling.  A lot of other countries would have prevented the ship from reaching shore in the first place.  We need to start taking a firmer stand on illegal immigrants similar to what Arizona has done!

There has been some question as to whether the migrants are refugees in the true sense of the word.  It has been suggested that in fact some of the migrants are terrorists by Public Safety Minister Vic Toews.  Yet Robert Holmes, president of the civil liberties association “Canada’s conduct with respect to last October’s group of Tamil migrants is very troubling," despite 25 of the 76 Tamil migrants in October 25 were thought to have links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.  This is a banned terrorist organization and separatist group that lost a 26-year civil war in Sri Lanka last year.  This is the kind of thing that just make this Canadian a bit angry!

There are a lot of issues that comes to light with this abuse of international law and Canadian generosity!  I am all for helping fellow humans from a humanitarin perspective but from a Canadian perspective we as in the collective all including the Canadian government are now supposed to welcome terrorists into our country?  We aren't supposed to detain them until we know for sure that they aren't terrorists?  And we are supposed to bestow Canadian rights and freedoms when they aren't even Canadian citizens?  The hospital in Victoria was bracing itself for the influx of sick and injured migrants.  The cost of treating is going to fall squarely on the taxpayers' shoulders as is the detainment and support after detainment.  It is actually better economically to be a refugee in Canada than it is to be an unemployed Canadian on social assistence.  The worst thing is it will be the Canadian taxpayers paying for this while the government allows terrorists a safe haven in Canada! 


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