Refugees are not criminals: NCCT demands removal of Conservative Party ad and apology
TORONTO, March 28 /CNW/ - The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) is calling on the Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, Prime Minister of Canada, to remove an election advertisement which insinuates that Tamil refugees who are forced to arrive through unconventional means are "criminals", and apologize to Tamil Canadians.
The Conservative Party ad features a photo of the MV Sun Sea which arrived off the shores of British Colombia in August last year with 491 Tamil refugees fleeing war and persecution from Sri Lanka-a country marred by allegations of human rights violations, the denial of fundamental civil liberties, and extrajudicial killings. It calls the Tamils aboard "criminals" who trying to abuse Canadian generosity.
"This election ad is xenophobic and borders on racism," said Krisna Saravanamuttu, NCCT spokesman. "It is reminiscent of the political rhetoric used to turn back Sikhs and Hindus on board the Kamagata Maru in 1914, and Jewish refugees on board the MS St. Louis fleeing persecution in 1939. In these cases, refugees fleeing persecution were labeled "criminals" and vilified by politicians appealing to the worst instincts of Canadians to score political points and votes."
"We are confident that Prime Minister Harper would not have approved this ad, if he had seen it," said Saravanamuttu. "We urge the Prime Minister to review the ad and do the right thing by removing it from his party's campaign website as well as the party's You Tube account and apologize for labeling refugees and immigrants as criminals."
The NCCT also calls on the leaders of Canada's major political parties, Conservative candidates, and human rights groups like the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith, and Amnesty International to review the CPC ad and join with us in calling for its retraction. "This election should be about uniting Canadians, no matter our ethnicity and how we arrived in Canada," noted Saravanamuttu.
The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) is a grassroots organization, composed of elected representatives from across Canada that serve to organize Tamil-Canadians on a democratic and cooperative basis.
Thank you for reading this story…
More people are reading rabble.ca than ever and unlike many news organizations, we have never put up a paywall – at rabble we’ve always believed in making our reporting and analysis free to all, while striving to make it sustainable as well. Media isn’t free to produce. rabble’s total budget is likely less than what big corporate media spend on photocopying (we kid you not!) and we do not have any major foundation, sponsor or angel investor. Our main supporters are people and organizations -- like you. This is why we need your help. You are what keep us sustainable.
rabble.ca has staked its existence on you. We live or die on community support -- your support! We get hundreds of thousands of visitors and we believe in them. We believe in you. We believe people will put in what they can for the greater good. We call that sustainable.
So what is the easy answer for us? Depend on a community of visitors who care passionately about media that amplifies the voices of people struggling for change and justice. It really is that simple. When the people who visit rabble care enough to contribute a bit then it works for everyone.
And so we’re asking you if you could make a donation, right now, to help us carry forward on our mission. Make a donation today.