The Media Co-op

Local Independent News

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!
Not reviewed by Media Co-op editors. copyeditedfact checked [?]

Former Ambassador Marin Collacott calls for Canada to send Tamil refugees to Guatemala for processing

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.

I am most interested in why Canada would emulate an obsolete Australian refugee processing system, not least because Canada has hardly had to address the same issues with large numbers of refugees coming to our shores as Australia. And why Guatemala as a processing port? Why not, say, Haiti?


By BRIAN LILLEY, Parliamentary Bureau, Toronto Sun

Last Updated: August 12, 2010 5:13pm

OTTAWA - A former high commissioner to Sri Lanka says that unless Canada takes steps to make this country a less attractive destination, we will soon be the target of boat after boat of asylum seekers from around the world.

Martin Collacott, a former senior diplomat for Canada with extensive experience in Asia, tells QMI Agency that the MV Sun Sea, the ship filed with hundreds of Tamil refugee claimants, set sail for Canada because our refugee laws our lax, our acceptance rates are high and our benefits generous.

“Canada is an easier mark,” said Collacott. “They like Canada because we give much higher rates of acceptance than anyone else. Our acceptance rate is three times the international average.”

The former diplomat said that the Sun Sea had been planning to sail for Australia but that country is bringing back a tough program aimed at cutting down the number of boats that arrive on Australian shores.

In the late 1990s Australia became the destination of choice for ships carrying asylum seekers.

As the numbers grew to thousands a year, many coming on rickety boats, the government brought in tough changes. From 2001 through 2007, boats filled with refugee claimants would be intercepted and taken to processing centres offshore.

The use of processing centres on small islands in the Pacific stopped the would-be refugees from using Australia’s generous laws to appeal their cases for years on end while also drawing welfare payments.

The arrivals slowed to a trickle. When the newly elected Labour government did away with what was dubbed “The Pacific Solution” in 2007, the boats started heading for Australia again. The processing centres are now reopening.

Asked if Canada could implement such a solution, Collacott said yes. “Canada should come to an agreement with a Central American country like Guatemala to open a processing centre,” Collacott said. “No one wants to claim refugee status in Guatemala.”


Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.

Creative Commons license icon Creative Commons license icon

About the poster

Trusted by 6 other users.
Has posted 73 times.
View Moira Peters's profile »

Recent Posts:

Moira Peters ()
Cape Breton
Member since mars 2008


I am very, very, extremely cool.

383 words
Join the media co-op today
Things the Media Co-op does: Support
Things the Media Co-op does: Report
Things the Media Co-op does: Network
Things the Media Co-op does: Educate
Things the Media Co-op does: Discover
Things the Media Co-op does: Cooperate
Things the Media Co-op does: Build
Things the Media Co-op does: Amplify

Connexion utilisateur

Subscribe to the Dominion $25/year

The Media Co-op's flagship publication features in-depth reporting, original art, and the best grassroots news from across Canada and beyond. Sign up now!