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Mr Harper should be 'ashamed' of MV Sun Sea ad and Tamil refugees - Bob Rae

Apr 2, 2011 8:19:47 AM- transcurrents.com

by Bob Rae

The Conservative Ad on “human smuggling” and refugees crosses an important line.

It is based on fear, and is directly prejudicial to a fair determination of refugee claims that are currently being considered. The use of the picture of the MV Sun Sea – twice – amid statements about “crimes,” “smugglers,” and attacks on the Liberal Party – clearly leads to no other interpretation than that those individuals aboard this boat are criminals and illegitimate refugees.

Conservative Party Ad

The use of negative and hateful stereotypes is an age-old technique – but its vintage is no excuse, and does not make it any less prejudicial. The principle that people’s claims have to be considered fairly, and free of any prejudice, is integral to Canada’s commitment to the rule of law.

The Tamil community is a source of pride to Canada – its members continue to make a huge contribution to our country. Difficult conditions in Sri Lanka over forty years have meant that many Tamils have left their homes and come to Canada. The community’s commitment to education, achievement, and success in business, the professions, the arts and in all walks of Canadian life, are well known.

The Conservatives should reflect on their propaganda campaign and what it does to these facts about the Tamil community and Canada. Mr Harper should be ashamed of this ad.

(Bob Rae MP, Liberal and former Premier of Ontario, is candidate for Toronto Centre)