British Columbia

2nd Tamil migrant ordered deported

A second man who arrived in B.C. aboard a cargo ship last year has been ordered deported after admitting to once being a member of the Tamil Tigers.
The Immigration and Refugee Board has ordered the deportation of a second former member of the Tamil Tigers who arrived in B.C. in 2010 aboard the MV Sun Sea. (DND)

A second man who arrived in B.C. aboard a cargo ship last year has been ordered deported after admitting to once being a member of the Tamil Tigers.

The man insisted he quit the banned terrorist group nearly two decades ago and never participated in combat.

His lawyer, Shepherd Moss, told the Immigration and Refugee Board Thursday that about 20 years ago, the man completed more than a year of training with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE.

The man was then assigned to a security detail off the coast of Sri Lanka, but never had a combat role, Moss said.

He asked to leave several years later and was punished with forced manual labour for more than a year before he was eventually allowed to leave.

"He was discharged from the LTTE and he's had no further dealings with that group since then," Moss said.

"So he joined voluntarily and he left voluntarily."

Immigration and Refugee Board adjudicator Daphne Shaw Dyck said she was required by law to issue the deportation order because the man admitted membership in the Tigers, which the Canadian government considers a banned terrorist group.

"Even though you stated you did not engage in battle, your training and role within the LTTE is admitted and unambiguous," Shaw Dyck told the man, who sat with his arms crossed and appeared to be listening intently.

Moss signaled that to fight the deportation he would appeal his client's case directly to the federal public safety minister.

The man became the second passenger from the MV Sun Sea to be ordered out of Canada because of membership in the Tigers.

The two men were among 492 Tamil migrants — 380 men, 63 women and 49 minors — who landed off the West Coast last August  and immediately made refugee claims.

The man ordered deported last week  also admitted to being a former Tiger. His lawyer suggested he, too, plans some form of appeal but didn't elaborate.

Most released, 57 detained

To date, 386 of the adults have been released from custody and 57 are still detained, according to the Canada Border Services Agency. The 49 children were not officially detained, although most were kept in a provincial jail with their mothers.

The federal government has accused more than 30 of the passengers of having links to terrorism, war crimes or human smuggling.

The Sun Sea was the second vessel carrying Tamil migrants to arrive since 2009, when a smaller ship, the MV Ocean Lady, sailed to B.C.

The Ocean Lady was carrying 76 migrants who immediately filed for refugee status. The federal government alleged some were connected to the Tigers, but all have since been released.

The Refugee Protection Act allows claimants who are labelled inadmissible on security grounds to appeal directly to the public safety minister if they can demonstrate "their presence in Canada would not be detrimental to the national interest."

Options available to people ordered deported include challenging the order in Federal Court or applying for a pre-removal risk assessment, which determines the potential risk a person faces if returned to their home country.