Dear Mr. Jason Kenney,
I am writing to express how pleased I am at the creation of Journey to Freedom Day to commemorate the Vietnamese boat people who travelled to Canada in the 1970s.
I always did think that Canada had an unreasonably negative view of refugee boat people, and it’s absolutely wonderful to see that we are changing our policy in this regard. I look forward to you scrapping the “irregular arrival” designation that you introduced in 2012 in order to remove certain rights specifically from refugees who arrive by boat. The fact that it was arbitrary and up to your discretion never seemed entirely ethical. I applaud you in reversing this stance, which I assume will be a part of Journey to Freedom Day celebrations.
I also look forward to the Government of Canada apologizing to the Tamil boat people, who of course are the modern-day equivalent of the Vietnamese boat people. We really didn’t treat them very well when they arrived in 2009 on the MV Ocean Lady and in 2010 on the MV Sun Sea. I congratulate our government in recognizing the parallels with the Vietnamese boat people, and for learning from the past. Journey to Freedom Day is long overdue. It is a day that we can be proud of, a day signalling our return to a more humane and generous attitude toward refugees.