Migrant ship was a “test boat”

Public safety minister suggests other migrants are waiting to see how Ottawa handles refugee claims

Calling the ship that carried 490 Tamil migrants to Canada last Friday a “test boat,” Public Safety Minister Vic Toews suggested on Monday that “other boats may be waiting to see what the Government of Canada’s reaction is to it.” Ottawa has already said humanitarian considerations preclude turning away similar ships, but the federal government is looking at prosecuting those who profit from organizing the voyages. “The sanitation on that ship was far in excess of what it usually be outfitted with,” Toews said. “It was clearly designed to maximize the number of passengers on board and therefore maximize the amount of profit that the organization running this ship would achieve.” Hearings of refugee claims by the Tamil migrants were set to begin on Monday. A letter written by some of the asylum seekers and obtained by the National Post argues those aboard the MV Sun Sea are fleeing persecution and violence in Sri Lanka. “We have traveled for almost four months with much suffering and pain. We have come here, to this wonderful country Canada, to protect ourselves and our family members from the murders, disappearances and violence that still exist in our native country,” it read. “As a country which has embraced immigrants and migrants, we hope and believe that you will accept us, the refugees and we vow to wholeheartedly abide by the law and order of this country.”

National Post

CBC News

Vancouver Sun

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