August 16, 2010

Pt 1: Tamil Refugees - We have the latest on the 500 Tamil Sri Lankans on board a boat docked off the coast of British Columbia. The Canadian and Sri Lankan Governments say there could be terrorists affiliated with the Tamil Tigers on board. But the passengers, and many Tamil Canadians, say they are legitimate refugees fleeing persecution in Sri Lanka. (Read More)

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Pt 2: Cold Case # 3 - We rebroadcast the third documentary in David Ridgen's series on Canadian cold cases about the still-unsolved murder of nine-year-old Sharin' Morningstar Keenan. (Read More)

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Whole Show Blow-by-Blow

Today's guest host was Mike Finnerty.

It's Monday, August 16th.

A popular Port-au-Prince performer known as Sweet Micky has joined Wyclef Jean as the second music star running for president in Haiti.

Currently, the UN announced that the election monitoring delegation will be led by Simon Cowell.

This is the Current.

Tamil Refugees - Adele Barker

We started this segment with a clip from Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, outlining how the Federal Government plans to respond to the arrival of the ship.

The MV Sun Sea is now being held at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt, just outside of Victoria. Some of the migrants have already been transferred to detention facilities near Vancouver while there cases are reviewed. They're not charged with any crime.

Yesterday, the Canadian Tamil Congress said it had learned that one man who was on board died during the three-month long journey, and was buried at sea. The Canadian Border Services Agency is investigating that claim. In the meantime, officials say they've processed most of the migrants, and immigration hearings will begin this afternoon.

Vic Toews said yesterday they will all file refugee claims to remain in Canada. But as you heard, the Canadian Government has raised the possibility that some of the passengers might be affiliated with the Tamil Tigers, a group Ottawa has listed as a terrorist organization. Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada has accused the ship's captain of being a senior member of the Tigers and says "a considerable number" of passengers have links to the group.

The picture painted by Tamils differs starkly: They say that despite the end of the civil war, the persecution of their people in Sri Lanka hasn't stopped. Last fall, another boat carrying Tamil migrants arrived off the coast of British Columbia. The Current spoke to one of the people who was on it. He has a refugee claim pending now. We've agreed to withhold his name.

Adele Barker agrees conditions in Sri Lanka's North are far from worry-free. She's a member of the Sri Lanka Peace Campaign and author of the book Not Quite Paradise: An American Sojourn in Sri Lanka.

Articles: Canadian authorities board Tamil ship off B.C. coast / Sri Lanka's bitter peace one year on / Sri Lankan war inquiry commission opens amid criticism / Tamil boat not a crisis

Tamil Refugees - Neeraja Ganeshalingam

Neeraja Ganeshalingam is awaiting more news about the migrants today. She and her family believe as many as 11 of their relatives from Sri Lanka could be among the passengers. We reached her in London, Ontario, this morning.

Tamil Refugees - Sharry Aiken

Sharry Aiken says there is good reason to believe that many of the passengers on the MV Sun Sea could make legitimate refugee claims. She's a professor of law at Queen's University. She's also the past President of the Canadian Council for Refugees. And she has done research on the Tamil diaspora. Sharry Aiken was in our Toronto studio.

Tamil Refugees - Chitranganee Wagiswara

The Sri Lankan Government maintains its Tamil population is not being persecuted. Chitranganee Wagiswara is Sri Lanka's High Commissioner to Canada. She was in Ottawa.

The Current did request an interview with Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. He was unavailable this morning.


Cold Case # 3: Sharin (Repeat Doc)

For more than twenty-seven years Lynda Keenan has remained silent about the day her daughter disappeared ... about the long hours of waiting and wondering what had happened to her ... about the hope she held out that her daughter would return and the crushing blow of learning that her daughter was dead.

Sharin' Morningstar Keenan's body was found in Toronto in January of 1983. The police investigation pointed to a suspect. But no arrest was ever made. And the case remains unsolved.

With Lynda Keenan's help, the CBC's David Ridgen has re-examined the evidence and uncovered new information about the murder of Sharin' Morningstar Keenan. This is the third in his series of documentaries about Canadian cold cases. It's called Sharin and it first aired in March.

David continues to follow the cases. Check out for more information about them, as well as a tip line.

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