Toronto Metropolitan University
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The Political Discourse Behind Canada’s Unusually Harsh Detention Practices: The MV Sun Sea Case

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posted on 2021-05-24, 10:41 authored by Shaina Singh
On August 13th 2010, the MV Sun Sea ship carrying 492 Tamil asylum seekers arrived off of the coast of British Columbia. Immediately upon arrival the Tamil asylum seekers were detained for a prolonged period of time, subjected to intensified interrogation techniques, and unfairly questioned even when in possession of identifying documents. This paper examines how the government used political discourse to try and justify the unusually harsh detention of asylum seekers. Through a critical discourse analysis strategy, eight newspaper articles will be analyzed and the theories of securitization, discourse, and orientalism will be used to advance certain political ideologies. The political justifications of detention operate through the theme of the egocentric state, and the theme of categorizing and demonizing asylum seekers. The final theme discussed is the concept of victimization, which will offer an alternate perspective to this paper’s main focus on political discourse.





  • Master of Arts


  • Immigration and Settlement Studies

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • MRP

Thesis Advisor

Graham Hudson