Canada's Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced Thursday that the 490 Tamil migrants aboard the MV Sun Sea include suspected human smugglers and terrorists.
"We are very concerned that there are elements of the LTTE and the Tamil Tigers on board this vessel," Toews said.
In a press conference at Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt where the migrant ship is presently docked, Toews said that the "suspected human smugglers and terrorists did not come to Canada by accident," but rather chose this country because of its reputation for leniency in accepting foreign migrants and refugees.
All criminals on-board, he said, "will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law."
"We want to send a very clear message not only to individuals currently involved but to those watching this situation that this is an act Canada does not encourage," Toews said