Around 32 years ago, a fisherman from Newfoundland helped a group of Tamil Canadians who were stuck in the middle of the sea and didn’t know how to move forward. It was a regular day for Gus Dalton. He was with his crew on his boat fishing all day long, but that’s when he spotted two lifeboats. People were vigorously waving their hands so Dalton could notice them.
Dalton found then and realized that they were in dire need of his help. He told his crew to drain and their catch into the seas so he could take the children, women, and sick on board. Then, he tied the two lifeboats on either side of his fishing boat and went to the shores. That one time, when he cared for unknown people rather than his business, Dalton turned into a hero for Tamil Canadians for all the coming generations.
Siva Mehanathan was among the 155 refugees who set sail in the two lifeboats from Germany after were trafficked all the way from Sri Lanka. Newfoundland was around 300 km from Germany’s coast. Even though the sea was calm, it was foggy making it almost impossible to navigate. First, people thought they came all the way from Asia but later confirmed that they started their water journey from Germany. There are around 300,000 Tamil Canadians in Canada today. Most of the first generation Tamil Canadians came during the 1980s and 1990s through family-sponsored visas or as refugees.
Getting recognized by the government
Almost after four decades of his humanitarian deeds, Dalton was recognized by the government. He awarded by the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Medal, which identifies people who’ve done exceptional work and brought pride to the country. The Canadian Tamil Congress calls him a real Canadian hero and a main protagonist in the Tamil Canadian history.