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Wednesday, February 09, 2011 - 5.05 GMT

MV Sun Sea too costly for Canadian tax payers


The arrival of the MV Sun Sea off the coast of British Columbia last August has cost Canadians at least $25 million, so far.

The ship arrived in Canadian waters in mid-August after a three-month journey from Thailand. The ship brought 492 ethnic Tamils from Sri Lanka to Canada claiming refugee status.

The government released supplementary spending estimates Tuesday morning that show the arrival of the MV Sun Sea had the biggest impact on the budget of the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA). The agency has asked for $22 million to pay for "incremental costs relating to the mass migrant arrival of the MV Sun Sea, Toronto Sun reported.

The RCMP has also had to spend a small fortune because of the ship's arrival. The estimates show the Mounties want $2.1 million to cover their expenses.

A further $908,000 is allotted to the Immigration and Refugee Board hearings that have been ongoing since the ship arrived.

The spending estimates don't include the cost of health care the federal government provided for the refugee claimants or a reported $2 million spent to provide legal services for the passengers.

Bill C-49 introduced by the present Canadian government proposes several changes to the immigration and refugee act, including penalties for refugees who arrive in Canada aboard a ship such as the Sun Sea.

Some passengers from the Sun Sea have been released, but others remain in custody.






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Last modified: February 09, 2011.

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