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Harper brushes off questions over Tamil candidate Paranchothy who praised terrorist group LTTE

by Anthony Reinhart and John Ibbitson

Stephen Harper insists the Conservatives maintain “a strong position against the Tamil Tigers” despite a party candidate’s role in hosting a televised tribute to the banned terrorist group in November.

“Our position on the Tamil Tigers has been strong and unequivocal,” Mr. Harper told reporters Thursday in Beaupré, Que. “This is the party that listed the Tamil Tigers [as a terrorist group]; previous governments have refused to do so, and our position on that is not going to change.”

Mr. Harper was responding to questions raised in a Globe and Mail story about Gavan Paranchothy, a Tamil broadcaster running for the Conservatives in the Toronto riding of Scarborough-Southwest.

The candidate, who changed his first name to Gavan after he was nominated last month, was known as Ragavan Paranchothy when he hosted a sombre TV special to mark Heroes Day, an annual commemoration of dead Tiger fighters. He referred to the militants as “strong and faithful people who stood guard for the Tamils, fought for freedom and peace.”

Mr. Harper’s party designated the Tamil Tigers an illegal terrorist group in 2006, and shut down their key Canadian support group, the World Tamil Movement, in 2008.

The Conservative Leader did not answer directly when asked how Mr. Paranchothy became a candidate and whether he would be dumped.

Mr. Paranchothy has told The Globe that he supports the ban on the Tigers, but has yet to elaborate on his opinion of the militant group. The Tigers used suicide bombings, child soldiers and political killings in their failed 26-year war for a separate Tamil state in Sri Lanka, which ended in 2009.

Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for Mr. Harper, said Mr. Paranchothy “was asked, and confirmed with the Conservative Party, that he in no way, shape or form was a sympathizer or supporter of the Tamil Tigers” before he was nominated. “If that had been the case ... he would not have been a candidate,” Mr. Soudas said.

As of early Thursday afternoon, Mr. Paranchothy remained the party’s nominee in Scarborough-Southwest. ~ courtesy: The Globe and Mail ~

2 Comments

From the looks of it, the Tamil diaspora will, sooner than later, succeed in sending at least 2 MPs to the Federal Parliament in Canada, 2 in the UK, 1 to the European Parliament with a host of others in lower legislatures in several countries in the E/U and Australia. All of them are joined in the common goal of gaining for the Lankan Tamils justice and the right to share power - denied to them so far on various pretexts. Added to this, is the new phenomena of the loss of their lands and immovable properties.

It is understood a week ago in a live TV debate in Canada, watched by millions on the run-up to the elections due on May 02, the 3 main candidates
PM Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff
and NDP leader Jack Layton - on the latter's suggestion - agreed all 3 major parties - plus Parti that in Quebec - agree to offer greater facilitation for the arrival of immigrants in Canada - priority given to those in States that cannot and will not offer protection for the life, livelihood and property of minorities in those countries. Stephen Harper looked sheepish in the debate and was to add the Conservatives will go along. In the UK PM David Cameron assures he is "for good immigration though not for mass immigration"
All these countries are obliged to honour their commitments to offer safe passage to fleeing immigrants in the various countries in the world undergoing war, war-like conditions, internal turmoil etc.,

ISS

Posted by: Ilaya Seran Senguttuvan | April 17, 2011 07:05 PM

and in the meantime, these same parties who are supposedly "for Tamils"., persist in excluding the Green Party froom the Democratic Process

For the moment, it suits them to play the Tamils., just as it suite the Liberals and NDP in the past to do the same

Harper is simply playing the age-old and effective ethnic card... - it has nothing to do with altruism or the pursuit of justice

Posted by: Anonymous | April 18, 2011 06:34 AM

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