Mystery ships and risky "Boat People" : a discourse analysis of newsprint media and coverage of the 2009 Tamil refugee migration
thesisposted on 2021-05-23, 15:02 authored by Ashley Bradimore
This study seeks to identify how Canadian newsprint media portrayed seventy-six Tamil refugees who arrived off the coast of Victoria, British Columbia on October 17, 2009. The corpus consists of articles published between October 2009 to January 2010 from The Vancouver Sun, The Toronto Star, and National Post. Using discourse analysis, I questioned issues of framing, representation, and identity and sought to understand how the Tamil refugee migration was understood within public dialogue. The study found that there was an overall negative representation of the Tamil refugees as the press emphasized issues of criminality and terrorism, and constructed the refugees as 'risky'. The discussion placed security -- rather than human rights -- as a focal point and portrayed the immigration system as both "failing" and "abused" by "bogus claimants". This security framework provided the necessary political environment for refugee reform Bill C-11 to be ushered through parliament later that spring.