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Rajkumar Subramaniam (far left), is an elected member of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. The man in the centre is unidentified. At right is Tim Hudak, Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader. The picture was obtained by The Globe and Mail from a source.
Rajkumar Subramaniam (far left), is an elected member of the National Council of Canadian Tamils. The man in the centre is unidentified. At right is Tim Hudak, Ontario Progressive Conservative party leader. The picture was obtained by The Globe and Mail from a source.

Tories' bid to win over South Asians opens party to Tamil Tigers' remnant Add to ...

Absent from Facebook are his photos with the famously elusive Mr. Prabhakaran. In an e-mail interview, Mr. Subramaniam said the photos, obtained by the Globe from an anonymous source, were taken in 2002, during a ceasefire to allow for peace talks. He said the Tiger leader paid a surprise visit to an orphanage where Mr. Subramaniam was doing relief work.

While the NCCT shares Mr. Prabhakaran's dream for a Tamil homeland, Mr. Subramaniam wrote that the "NCCT distinguishes itself with the promotion of non-violence."

* Amaleethan Xavier, media co-ordinator for the NCCT elections, whom Patrick Brown, Conservative MP for Barrie, called "my friend Amaleethan" in a Twitter photo taken at a polling station. Mr. Xavier is a Conservative organizer in suburban Toronto.

* Ragavan Paranchothy, the broadcaster seeking the federal Scarborough-Southwest nomination. Mr. Prabhakaran's successor, Kumaran Pathmanathan (known as KP), told a Toronto-based Tamil journalist that he was on the phone with Mr. Paranchothy at the moment of KP's arrest in Malaysia three months after the war's end.

Asked to explain, Mr. Paranchothy said, "I returned a call from someone in Malaysia at that time … I don't know if I was speaking to KP or if I was speaking to one of his assistants. ..."

Mr. Paranchothy, who refers to himself as a journalist, said he "can't come right out and be very critical" in his reports, since "the media I work for obviously cater to the Tamil community." Asked if that meant he takes sides with the Tigers' brand of "freedom struggle" over the terrorist designation his own Conservative Party has applied to it, he said, "I guess I should say yes and no."

* Balan Rajaratnah, a member of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE), an elected group of expatriate Tamils from around the world also pushing for a separate state.

The TGTE and NCCT issued a joint statement last April, before both groups held their first elections. The message appeared in a Tamil-language newspaper with the NCCT logo on its front page and a World Tamil Movement e-mail address as contact information. Co-signed by Nehru Gunaratnam, the message stressed the importance of unity "to win a free Tamil Eelam."

To further make the point, Mr. Rajaratnah and Mr. Gunaratnam appeared together on Tamil television to promote the NCCT elections.

In November, Mr. Rajaratnah told The Canadian Press his "Peel Tamil Community Centre," an entity with no building, staff or website, had endorsed the federal Conservatives' anti-human-smuggling Bill C-49 despite its objections to it, in hopes of being rewarded with federal funding.

"Our way of working is to work with the government to get something from the government," Mr. Rajaratnah said, adding that he had been assured some elements of the bill would be removed.

Other NCCT officials have displayed unambiguous support for the Tiger cause in campaign materials, at protests and on Facebook pages.

Siva Vimalachandran, a York University student who is an NCCT national director and treasurer, posed for Toronto Life magazine wearing the Tigers' emblem over his shoulder. Mr. Vimalachandran was a negotiator for Tamil demonstrators who occupied the city's busy Gardiner Expressway in the spring of 2009.

At the time, Bob Runciman, a veteran PC caucus member, told the legislature that Ontarians were "undoubtedly concerned over the loss of innocent life [in Sri Lanka]… But they are not supportive of in-your-face abuse of our laws and the public promotion of an internationally recognized terrorist organization."

The Tigers were infamous for using suicide bombings, child soldiers, political assassination and brutal repression of Tamils who did not share their singular dream of "Tamil Eelam," a separate state, on Sri Lankan soil. Mr. Harper's government cited these methods, and repeated Tiger violence during a ceasefire, when it listed them as a terrorist organization in 2006.

The government banned the Tigers' Canadian fundraising arm, the World Tamil Movement, two years later. It had been labelled a terrorist front by the RCMP and condemned by Human Rights Watch for aggressively collecting "war taxes" from reluctant Tamils.

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