by Bob Russell
Working at my desk early yesterday I watched the arrival of the ship of Sri Lankan refugees just as dawn broke.
Passengers of MV Sun Sea crowd the deck after spotting HMCS Winnipeg in open seas. (Photograph altered at source.) MCpl Angela Abbey/DND-MDN Canada
I was quite taken by how small the boat is. Hard to imagine that many people travelling that far on something so small, and across an entire ocean. Who knows how many days they didn't see land?
There was not a sound and the water was like glass reflecting the ship's lights and that of its escorts. From their vantage point, it would have been our lights reflecting across the water toward them when, with the sun starting to rise, the sky was trying to decide what colour to be.
Many on board would have no appreciation of the politics of this whole thing. They'd just be cold, hungry, scared and after a perilous journey, this would be their first glimpse of what they hope to be their new home.
I was quite moved. And very proud to be a Canadian -- something I think we'd all like to feel more often. These people chose us.
Their arrival has prompted yet another debate about our refugee policy and certainly I'm not so naïve as to think that possible Tamil Tiger involvement isn't problematic. But I trust our security forces to do their job.
There have also been reports about how much it will cost us to house these people until their status is settled. But you can't quantify the price these people paid to get here.
I've even heard some people suggesting that the boat should have been turned away, that these people are "queue jumpers." I wonder what these people did to become Canadians.
Their arrival prompted me to want to go down to the shore and say, "Welcome."
Read more: ~ courtesy: Times Colonist ~