August 21, 2010

Treat the Tamil Asylum Seekers with Humanitarian Respect and Dignity Not Smears and Vilification

The Communist Party of Canada demands that the Harper government cease their verbal attack on the unfortunate refugees that arrived on the ship the MV Sun Sea in British Columbia. These Tamil people are the victims of the ravages of war. The unsubstantiated claims of terrorist elements and criminalization without investigation or proof of any kind are beyond irresponsibility.

Over the past several years the increasing vilification of selected immigrant groups and nations, war resistors and refugees exposes a dangerous element of racism and reaction that typifies the Harper Government’s foreign policy and domestic policy. The actions to make difficulties for the Roma people and even tourism from Mexico are indications of these tendencies.
The Harper government is seeking to revive the shameful racism of Canadian immigration policy that has had only a brief respite over the last thirty years. It has also continued the shameful legacy of racism in the relations between the First Nations and the Canadian State.

Prime Minister Harper might well refer to current actions and advocacies of the government of Australia. He should remind himself, if he has the capacity to read history, that the government he is quoting until 1972 had a “whites only” immigration policy. It is not the numbers or the politics of immigrants that underscores the reactionary policies brewing in many countries it is the colour of their skin and the origin of their culture.
The story of the Chinese workers who built the railroads from the west saddled by unfair racist head taxes, brutal and deadly working conditions and finally mass deportations bridged the British colonial period and the Dominion of Canada and set the stage for the anti-Asian policies that barred Asian immigration until the early 1950’s.

Presently the Punjab state government in India is seeking close to $150 million dollars of reparation for the 350 Punjab immigrants who were forced pay $15,000 entry fees into Canada in 1914. When they arrived aboard the ship Komagata Maru they were not allowed to disembark, were kept aboard for two months in Vancouver harbor, interrogated, abused, robbed of their entry fees and sent back to India where many of them died at the hands of the British military.

There were Jewish people fleeing the Nazi holocaust that were also turned

away and sent back to certain death in the extermination camps.

Domestically, while all this was happening to immigrants, the First Nations children were being forcibly seized from their families and forced into boarding schools where they were victimized and subjected to ethnic cleansing. Respected researchers and Native spokespersons say that over the years there are many thousands who entered these “Christian” hell holes and never survived, they are the “ Canadian Disappeared”.

The Communist Party is not aware of any terrorist attacks carried out in this country by refugees. We are aware that these Tamil people arrived here openly without subterfuge and presented themselves properly to Canadian authorities for processing under Canadian law. We are also aware that their actions as asylum seekers are in line with international law which our government must recognize.
The Federal government spokespersons who are whipping up racism, xenophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments are doing so to hide the real agenda of a government that is leading our country to de-industrialization, massive unemployment, environmental disaster and deeper involvement in imperialist wars on behalf of global capital.

The threat to the Canadian working people is in Ottawa not on a ship in a British Columbia naval base.

The Communist Party of British Columbia urges all who live here to stand in solidarity with those who wish to live here and not to be divided by race, colour or class into pro and con groups against immigrant people who are the present versions of our own parents, grandparents or great-grandparents.
We call on all British Columbia labour and democratic organizations to stand in solidarity and speak up on this issue now.

Issued by:

The Asian Solidarity Bureau of the Communist Party of British Columbia

For more information contact Sam Hammond , 604-254-9836

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