If the Tamil asylum seekers thought they were going to have an easier run in Canada than in Australia, they may be in for an unpleasant surprise.
A poll of 1500 Canadians reported in the Toronto Sun turned up this result:
Asked which statement best described their own opinion on what should be done with the ship, which may include members of the banned Tamil Tiger terrorist group, 60% agreed with the statement: “They should be turned away – the boat should be escorted back to Sri Lanka by the Canadian Navy.”
Just 17% agreed with the statement: “They should be accepted into Canada as political refugees.”
The boat won’t be turned around, though, no matter what most Canadians think:
Martin Collacott was Canada’s highest-ranking diplomat in Sri Lanka during the period when the civil war launched by the Tamil Tigers started in the early 1980s. Collacott says we can’t just turn the boat back.
“We need to follow the process that takes the ones that are legitimate refugees and return the others,” said Collacott.
How many are legitimate refugees is up for debate said Collacott, who noted that the ship, the MV Sun Sea, didn’t come directly from Sri Lanka, but from Thailand where the passengers were safe from any possible persecution from the Sri Lankan government.
If they were all safe from any possible persecution, on what basis can any of them be legitimate refugees?