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Don Martin: Whither the Sun Sea’s captain? | Full Comment | National Post

In Canada on September 2, 2010 at 07:56

Don Martin: Whither the Sun Sea’s captain?

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons

  September 1, 2010 – 8:58 pm

The Cabinet minister actually in charge of the controversial file raises a good point: Why hasn’t the captain or the crew of the Tamil refugee ship been busted for trafficking in human cargo?

Surfacing for the first time since the MV Sun Sea docked in Victoria three weeks ago, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney says it seems a “sensible” result.

However, the fear-mongering face of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who was eager to blast the ship as a terrorist trawler when it docked in August, is mostly silent on the situation now.

Cracking down on human smuggling is the number one issue on voters’ minds if office feedback is any indication, Mr. Kenney insists, pooh-poohing the notion of scandals like the long-form census controversy as a figment of unimaginative media minds.

So where’s the rap sheet for the guy at the helm of a rustbucket that charged the equivalent of 20 first-class return air fares for one person’s ticket into a ship’s cargo hold?

Mr. Kenney defers to the cops. The way the RCMP explains it, the captain and crew are missing. They mingled with the refugee claimants departing the Sun Sea gangway and disappeared under a conspiratorial cone of silence.

How 492 Tamils could have roamed the Pacific for four months until they arrived in Victoria on Aug. 13 without passengers noting the person or persons in charge is one of those head-scratching scenarios mere Canadian pleasure boat users cannot comprehend. But police plead for more time as they sort passengers from crew while gathering data to make any charges stick. It could take a long time.

Says RCMP Constable Michael McLaughlin: “I can’t comment yet. The investigation is ongoing and it’s nowhere near its conclusion.”

Now, apparently, this is not unusual. The first Tamil ship, Ocean Lady, docked in Victoria last October carrying 76 men and they still haven’t charged anybody. But Mr. Kenney insists it’s only a matter of time before the bad guys face the music as smugglers who could qualify for a life sentence.

“Anyone who was paid to facilitate this voyage in terms of crew members are likely involved in human smuggling,” Mr. Kenney said in an interview. “But these are complicated situations and a lot of fear is used as a tool…. [The operators] have a way of keeping people quiet.”

OK, here’s an easy solution. Offer the first Sun Sea passenger who raises their hand to successfully rat out the captain or senior crew members an express lane to approved Canadian refugee status. My bet is some hapless Sri Lankan will take five seconds to squeal on the guys who forced them below deck for such a length of time.

Sadly, law and due process isn’t quite that simple. But there has to be a better way to deal with this problem than waiting for a year or more to identify, never mind convict, the most obvious perpetrators.

“We’re looking at the possibility of bringing forward ideas for cracking down on mass human smuggling. We need to send a very clear message to human smugglers that they won’t get get away with human crimes in Canada,” says Mr. Kenney, declining to discuss specifics.

But as long the Sea Sun’s captain successfully pretends to be just another passenger, Canada’s international message is not much of a warning to scare off his cohorts. Without a speedy signal of Canada’s intolerance to these cash-grabbing queue-jumpers — the clearest sign being the captain and crew being whacked by serious charges — our shoreline will continue to be seen from afar as a refugee red carpet.

National Post

Posted in: Canada, Full Comment, Policy 

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26 comments

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om5

8:14 PM on September 1, 2010

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The RCMP always get their ma…….aw forget it.

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Hand-some-Here

8:30 PM on September 1, 2010

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Oh Don. If they were charged, you’d be asking why. Over the past few weeks, we’ve all seen where your loyalties lay.

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johnkey

8:36 PM on September 1, 2010

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Sure Don. These people who have been involved in illegal activities don’t fear reprisal to their families…

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gwestbound

8:44 PM on September 1, 2010

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Refugees should be treated as guests who will be returned to their homeland as soon as it is deemed safe. Canadian citizenship should not be an option.

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cboo44

8:45 PM on September 1, 2010

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ACTUALLY, what REALLY happened was the RCMP members glanced away for 7 minutes to watch two drunken women having sex, when they turned back to their REAL job, everyone had disappeared.

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Ivanhoe5

8:51 PM on September 1, 2010

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This is a great make work project for our police force, they can tell us how complicated it is to fingerprint the helm, and the claimants. Or they could make excuses that the constitution protects them and that they are innocent victims themselves who were forced to man the ship and bring these special people to our shores. The fact is that if they do not charge the correct and convict individuals quickly our legal system is an outright laughing stock of the world. Let us face the fact it is pretty hard to get convicted and sent to jail in this country, just ask the guy’s who brought down air India flight decades ago and are still free.

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IainGFoulds

8:51 PM on September 1, 2010

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… The Sun Sea and it’s passengers were accepted because PM Harper lacked the courage and confidence to protect Canada and Canadians.
… Of course, Ignatieff would have welcomed them all into his “Big Red Tent”.
… We await a true conservative leader who will defend our shores and the right of Canadians to their earnings.
… NO ONE CAN BE ALLOWED TO JUST SHOW UP ON CANADIAN SOIL AND BE CONSIDERED FOR CITIZENSHIP.
… NO ONE.

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gulliverian

8:52 PM on September 1, 2010

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I’ve got a better idea. Tell them nobody gets processed for refugee status until the captain and crew are identified.

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WCF

8:54 PM on September 1, 2010

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Why even mess around. If the Tamils are holding secrets about who the crew is, send the whole works back to Tamil-land where everyone is in danger of being murdered…Except when they are there on vacation….Then everything is peaches and cream…..

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w4pk1

8:55 PM on September 1, 2010

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Harper

fix this, and call an election

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IainGFoulds

8:56 PM on September 1, 2010

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… Harper’s failure to accept responsibility in this case will only lead to greater human tragedies and injustice.
… Harper is finished. He is a man who has earned the respect of none. He will be forgotten the moment that he is gone.
… Canada is ready for a true conservative leader. One who’s concern is the defense of Canadian citizens and their right to their earnings. Not one who is willing to give their earnings to any who just show up on our soil.

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IainGFoulds

8:59 PM on September 1, 2010

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… How many tens of millions have these Tamils cost us already… and just the tip of the iceberg?
… Hit the road, Harper. You are useless.

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foreigner

9:01 PM on September 1, 2010

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If they can’t identify the smugglers then they are all complicit and ineligible because they are all guilty of smuggling. Send them back.

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grasshoppa

9:01 PM on September 1, 2010

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Nobody gets out of detention until they find out who ran the tub.

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Ibindare

9:03 PM on September 1, 2010

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I offer the following alternative to your proposal of a fast lane to refugee status.
Ask each passanger, one at a time, to identify the captain and crew. If after 60 seconds, they have not complied, escort them back onto the boat, and let them know that they have commited a major crime (aiding and abetting human smuggling), and that this will negate the possibility of their EVER being allowed entry to Canada.
Don’t imagine you’d have to walk too many back to the boat.

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rightofway

9:07 PM on September 1, 2010

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Mr Martin, for once a very good point, so where the hell is the crew RCMP ? Hmmm !

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Thomson1

9:21 PM on September 1, 2010

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Regarding the Globe and Mail’s report from Tuesday: another boat is already being prepared in Thailand as we write and Sri Lankan “tourists” wait in a small room in bangkok watching movies waiting to get on board… and why not? Why shouldn’t these smugglers continue to ship people to Canada, there is absolutely no consequence and not a single individual has been held accountable. The 76 from last October are living in Toronto and the organizers are making risk free money for human trafficking. Meanwhile, Liberals are telling our government to tone down the language, what a pathetic wimp, and a human smugglers best friend. We are the laughing stock of our International peers, who, need not worry about Sri Lankan migrants because they all come to Canada without fail. Send us your criminals, your terrorists, your old and your sick, everyone is welcome under Canada’s big red tent.

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HomerSimpsonwasright

9:33 PM on September 1, 2010

This comment is hidden because you have chosen to ignore HomerSimpsonwasright. Show Details<a href="http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/09/01/don-martin-what-happens-to-the-sun-seas-captain/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NP_Top_Stories+%28National+

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