Tamil Refugees in British Columbia

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On October 17, 2009, seventy-six Tamil refugees arrived off the cost of Victoria, British Columbia in a rusty boat followed by another four hundred ninety two exhausted Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers in August 2010 (CBC News, 2010). Their migration stemmed from the civil war that had been ongoing in their homeland for over two decades. Human rights agencies and media around the world raised concerns over human rights violations, and death of tens of thousands of innocent civilians in Sri Lanka. Canadians, those of Tamil ethnicity and otherwise, were concerned, many of whom took to the streets of Toronto in protest between January and May in 2009. However, despite the street protest throughout the summer of 2009 and Canada’s reputation as one of the most generous nation in the world toward refugees, the Tamil boat migrants received a cold welcome as they arrived in Victoria (Bauder & Bradimore, 2011). The Canadian media was particularly critical, expressing concerns over the migrants’ identity and the validity of their refugee claims (Bauder & Bradimore, 2011). Based on Cynthia Bogard’s (2011) writing, this paper will describe the framework for understanding the social construction based on claimsmaking activities and the context to explain how and why the Tamil refugees were typified in an overall negative representation in Canadian society.
Claimsmakers and their activities
Bogard (2011) states that ‘Claimsmaking activities’ are the ones that typically construct and reinforce social problems in which the media, activists, government and experts play significant roles. Two major claimsmakers who contributed to negative representation of Tamil refugees during and after their arrival in 2009 and 2010 were the government and ...

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...010, August 22). Tamils playing us for fools. Toronto Sun.
Retrieved 20 May, 2014, from: http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/2010/08/20/15091486.html

Tamil migrants to be investigated: Toews. (2010, August 13). CBC News.
Retrieved 20 May, 2014, from: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/tamil-migrants-to-be-investigated-toews-1.898421

Rosa, D, K. (2012, November 17). Three years after Tamil asylum seekers land on shores, Canada’s refugee policy move to the right. Canada.com. Retrieved 20 May, 2014, from: http://o.canada.com/news/three-years-after-tamil-asylum-seekers-land-on-our-shores-canadas-refugee-policy-move-to-the-right

Statement regarding arrival of Tamil refugee claimants by boat on West Coast. (2010, August 17). Canadian Council for Refugees. Retrieved 21 May, 2014, from: https://ccrweb.ca/en/statement-arrival-tamil-refugees-boat

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