Friday, September 3, 2010

Tamil Refugees (1)

Welcome back. I was afraid I may have lost some of you after you read the previous entry. Though I do not intend to “go on the air” daily, I thought I better waste no time after that rather scholastic presentation. But, you’re back and I’m happy the damage was not irreversible. That blog was just something I had to do to make my location in the scheme of things clear for the sake of the academics among you. Now we’re ready to move into the real world.

The last month, much of Canada, but especially BC, was up in arms about the arrival of a shipload of nearly 500 Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka. Totally uninvited or approved. This was the second such shipment from Sri Lanka. During summer 2009, a ship offloaded a mere 76 onto Canadian soil. Apparently each passenger paid someone $45,000 for the journey. The 2009 folks, according to an editorial in The Province , a Vancouver-based daily, are still “awaiting processing by Canada’s inefficient refugee-claims system.” The editorial agreed with the Federal Government’s claim that the group most likely included a number of “Tamil Tiger terrorists” who are planning to continue their Sri Lankan terrorist campaign from a base in peaceful Canada. The writer concluded that it is obvious organized criminals are taking advantage of “Canada’s too compassionate refugee and immigration laws.”

As to solutions, it was suggested that laws be tightened and the claim process sped up so that candidates don’t spend years in limbo. The people smugglers should be put behind bars for many years to “take the profit out of their terrible trade.” So far, this editorial. There are rumours of more ships on the way!

The paper published my response to their editorial, the first in the lineup, that reads as follows:
Your short editorial on the Tamil Boat Show is right on. Hohum, another boat full of…, yes, of what or whom? It is clear by now that we have developed a sucker reputation with people coming to our country by hook or by crook. They fully expect to be accepted by a timid, weak-kneed refugee administration that is supported by a citizenry so compassionate, it can’t think its way straight through such invasions.

If I’m not mistaken, we are bullied into these situations by UN provisions we have “voluntarily” signed on to under “moral” pressure from a UN majority. It is cheap and easy for that majority to pass such provisions, for few will ever face this mess. No one in their right mind would even think of going there.

Let’s accept this boat and make it clear to the world that it is the last. It is time for Canada to stand up, sign off from that convention and do her own thing. Be compassionate, absolutely, but that is different from being a sucker.


The Vancouver Sun’s Stephen Hume weighed in with a mighty shout of “Racism!” That was the only reason for people’s objections to their acceptance in Canada. His accusation brought a wild angry chorus of people deeply insulted by this charge. The f… word and its synonyms, always on the tip of most “sophisticated” Vancouver tongues, was used more than I have ever seen in any newspaper.

What do we have here? Would you agree with the sentiments in my letter? Am I a racist? Throughout my 30 years in Africa, I have several times been praised for the opposite. I want us to consider a few points without necessarily coming to a clear or final conclusion. Clear final conclusions are difficult to come by when there are so many unknowns in an equation.

First of all, we have a problem at the UN, where a majority votes in favour of measures that will never affect them. Western votes represent a minority there. Few of those voting in favour of the current refugee regime will ever be inundated with refugees. Canada has for too many years played the good boy or the saint on the block and submitted to the regime. She feels obligated to accept such shipments. I believe that Canada must be compassionate and not be afraid to err on that side. However, she must insist on realistic conditions that do not include terrorists. She must sign off from this UN convention and re-establish her independence. It is cheap for Hume to ignore a factor that government cannot ignore. He was not privy to confidential government information on this subject at the time.

Hume is right that a number of “developing nations” take the brunt of the refugee burden and that Canada’s load is comparatively miniscule. Tanzania, e.g., took in more than seven Western countries combined in 2006! Similar statistics hold for other non-Western nations. But most of these are the neighbours of countries that generate the refugees, where they naturally congregate. From what I have read, the suffering in many of these camps is heart rending. It is often from there that refugees find their way to the West, either by individual effort or by sponsorship. But that is not the case with our Tamil friends.

Well, I leave it at this for today and will continue with the subject in the next post. Sleep well. Give special thanks to God you’re not a refugee or that your country does not generate such folk.

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