‘Our position has been strong and unequivocal’:
Canadian PM reiterates strong opposition to Tigers
Canadian Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper
was on the defensive yesterday after the media reported that one of his
party candidates for Parliament had hosted a televised tribute to the
LTTE, an organisation banned in Canada as a terrorist group.
Harper told reporters his Conservative Party holds “a strong position
against the Tigers.” His Government banned the Tigers in 2006, despite
days of protests by Tamil immigrants in Ottawa, Canada’s capital and
Toronto, the country’s largest city.
Their aid agency, the World Tamil Movement, was suppressed in 2008.
Still, Federal police and security agencies claim that the Tigers
raise money in Canada and smuggling rings bring wanted Tamil terrorists
The controversy arose on Thursday morning after the daily Globe and
Mail reported that Conservative candidate Gavan Paramchothy, a
broadcaster, had hosted a pro-Tiger television show last November.
Paramchothy, who travelled with Harper to South Asia in 2009, is
running for the House of Commons in the Toronto suburb of Scarborough,
which has a large Tamil population.
“Our position on the Tigers has been strong and unequivocal,” Harper
told reporters at a press conference near Quebec City in French-speaking
“This is the party that listed the Tigers (as a terrorist group);
previous governments have refused to do so, and our position on that is
not going to change.”
Paramchothy had hosted a television special to celebrate Tigers’
Heroes Day. According to the Globe and Mail, Paramchothy referred to the
LTTE as “strong and faithful people who stood guard for the Tamils,
fought for freedom and peace.”
The show was broadcast on the Tamil Vision International satellite TV
and on a multi-cultural radio station in Canada.
No charges were laid in connection with the broadcast then.
In another interview, Paramchothy accused the Sri Lankan government
of genocide. He won the Conservative nomination for Scarborough in