Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for his comments. He is always a thoughtful member. In particular, let me say that I agree with many of his comments with respect the conflict in Sri Lanka and the need for a just and durable settlement that respects the legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people and that responds to the many serious concerns about human and civil rights violations.
I spoke to that at the beginning of my speech in introducing this bill yesterday, and I did discuss the ongoing efforts of Canadian diplomats and members of this government's executive branch to do everything we can to ask the Sri Lankan authorities to deal with these issues in a transparent and serious manner. I entirely agree with the member.
Having said that, I think it is important to underscore that the bill does not deal with any particular source country.
Second, in dealing with that issue, I wonder if the member would care to comment or reflect on the fact that, since the cessation of hostilities last year, more than 100,000 Tamil Sri Lankan refugees who were under the protection of India, principally in Tamil Nadu, have since returned to Sri Lanka. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees has said that Tamil refugee claimants can no longer be presumed to have a bona fide claim. The UNHCR has also facilitated the return to Sri Lanka of many Tamil asylum claimants who were under temporary protection in southeast Asia.
Similarly, a CBC report last week indicated that Tamils living in India had paid smugglers to come to Canada, in part for economic reasons, in their words. Finally, according to a CBSA survey, a significant majority of successful Tamil asylum claimants in Canada have subsequently returned to the country from which they claimed to flee for reasons of fear of persecution.
Could the member comment on the fact that the situation according to the UN and other international observers has improved appreciably from the point of view of safety? However, I agree with him that there continue to be very serious issues that must be dealt with.
Finally and very briefly, the analogies to the St. Louis and Komagata Maru quite frankly border on demagoguery. Neither of those situations has any relevance to this. We would—