Affront to legal immigration

Editor, The News:

Re: Out of the line of fire (The News, Jan. 28).

The story of the Tamil “refugees” is heart wrenching, but sadly not uncommon. In the aftermath of the Second World War.

Many people, including my father, came to Canada seeking a better, secure life through legal immigration. They also had stories of the horrors of war and persecution.

Canada has a long and venerable history of opening our borders to legitimate refugees and immigrants who make applications for immigration in their country of origin or another country.

When my father did, he went through a thorough screening process to ensure he was not or had not been a member of the National Socialist (Nazi) party, nor was he a criminal or other type of person who would be deemed undesirable or inadmissible.

With the MV Sun Sea passengers, we were denied that same process of ensuring the safety of our citizens and landed immigrants from criminals or terrorists before they were on our shores. Their illegal arrival has strained our medical system and the resources of the immigration system that reviews legal applications from people seeking to come to Canada.

For us to allow or welcome freely people who merely hop a boat or pay human smugglers, such as the Snakeheads, to get to Canadian shores is not only an affront to every person who has legitimately immigrated to Canada, but also the thousands of people waiting in refugee camps around the world who are waiting to have their refugee claims go through due process.

It might also be argued that by failing to stop this that Canada is an accomplice to human smuggling and responsible for the profitability of this disgusting enterprise.

J. W. Nyhus

Maple Ridge

Not black and white

Editor, The News:

Re: Out of the line of fire (The News, Jan. 28).

Thank you, Monisha Martins, for your article on one of the Tamil families that came to Canada on the MV Sun Sea. I hope the people who took the trouble to attend the recent C-49 meeting also took the time to read your article.

It would be nice to think that some of the people who applauded a speaker at the meeting who called the likes of Thivia and her family ‘opportunists’, will now consider the possibility that maybe the issue isn’t quite as black-and-white as they thought.

Stuart de Jong.

Maple Ridge

Similar fate

Editor, The News:

Re: Out of the line of fire (The News, Jan. 28).

Monisha Martins, I just wanted to let you know how moved I was by the excellent article that you wrote about the family from Sri Lanka.

But I worry that if our government chooses to deport some of these recent arrivals back to Sri Lanka, they may meet a fate similar to those of the Jews during the Second World War. The affects of 30 years of civil war can’t be erased that easily.

I understand the need to vet these people to make sure there are no safety risks to Canadians, but your article reinforces the fact that many of them are seeking refuge from a dangerous and intolerable situation.

So often we find our citizens ready to brand legitimate refugees as terrorists.  We even have politicians, like Vic Toews, who seem to think along these lines. 

Articles like yours gives us an alternate perspective and shows us the human side of these people. They create a balance that is badly needed.

Elizabeth Rosenau

Maple Ridge

Live in peace

Editor, The News:

Re: Out of the line of fire (The News, Jan. 28).

 I am responding to the compassionate and open minded article by Monisha Martins. 

It is good that we are taking a look at the human side of this tragedy and showing some semblance of understanding and tolerance in this issue of civilians fleeing a war zone. 

I realize that this may be difficult for some of us in the west who’ve never lived through a war, but let’s try and keep our minds and hearts open to these people’s plight.

 The issue of the criminal syndicates who are profiting from people trafficking is one thing and should be dealt with.  And, believe me, it’s not just the Sri Lankan refugees.  What about the trafficking syndicates operating out of Hong Kong that went on for years, and was raised by former diplomat Brian McAdam during the Liberals’ tenure in Ottawa.  This prompted the notorious “Sidewinder File,” a joint effort by the CSIS/RCMP, which was quickly buried by  Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government due to its embarrassing political revelations.

 That’s why we have CSIS, our intelligence services, which gathers information on these operations world-wide and provide advice to the privy council, and different agencies of the government to act upon.  CSIS, along with the RCMP, and CBSA (Canadian Boarder Services Agency) are sifting through to identify the legitimate refugees from the criminal elements. Let them do their jobs, that’s what we’re paying them for.

Canada has a long tradition of welcoming refugees who are fleeing war zones, whether it was the Jews escaping the horrors of the Nazis in the Second World War or the Irish fleeing the sectarian “Troubles,” in Northern Ireland.  

 We need to show some compassion and understanding as to why these people are fleeing the war zone of Sri Lanka.  So let’s open our hearts and minds to their plight and welcome them to our great country, Canada, where they can live in relative peace and safety.

John McKenzie

Maple Ridge