Rocking the Boat: A Brief History of Anti-Migrant Hysteria in Canada

In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence… In 2008, the federal and provincial governments were forced to issue apologies for the Komagata Maru. Now, two years later, if those words are to mean anything, we cannot afford to repeat history: let them stay.

by Fathima Cader

"MV Sun Sea" Uncredited Photo at: http://www.edynews.com/top-news/18-almost-500-sri-lankan-migrants-are-in-canadian-custody.html
"MV Sun Sea" Uncredited Photo at: http://www.edynews.com/top-news/18-almost-500-sri-lankan-migrants-are-in-canadian-custody.html

They’re at it again.

In November, 76 Tamil refugees escaped Sri Lanka on a rusty freighter. They arrived in Victoria, where they were met by Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) officials, who promptly jailed them for three months on allegations of terrorism. It would be fully half a year before the CBSA would admit that it had never had any evidence.

By then, however, it was too late: anti-Tamil and anti-refugee hysteria had spread like wildfire. Now, mere weeks after that most tepid of mea culpas from the CBSA, the hysteria greeting the Tamil MV Sun Sea passengers is worse. As with the Ocean Lady, these migrants will be detained in Maple Ridge jails before their refugee claims are considered. The Conservatives have begun to create new rules to treat refugees who arrive by boat differently from others. Meanwhile, Paul Fromm, the infamous neo-Nazi, has been receiving uncritical coverage in mainstream media with his demands that the migrants be sent back.

As the paranoia grows ever more heightened, it becomes increasingly important that we resist it. The universal rights of safety and mobility must be upheld, not only for the Sun Sea migrants, but for all people fleeing violence.

Continue reading “Rocking the Boat: A Brief History of Anti-Migrant Hysteria in Canada”

20000 Killed While The World Wasn’t Watching?

As the London Times reports that its investigations into the final three weeks of fighting in Sri Lanka’s civil war yield a shocking figure of claiming more than 20,000 civilian lives, a UN official tells the paper the actual figure is “Higher. … Keep going.”  The three-week bombardment may have ended the 26-year war but what atrocities were committed during the final weeks when the Sri Lankan government kept out journalists and aid workers?

Continue reading “20000 Killed While The World Wasn’t Watching?”