Saskatoon StarPhoenix

Government wise to maintain ban on Tamil Tigers

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The federal government is right to stand fast against pressure to remove the Liberation Tigers Tamil Eelam from its list of banned terrorist groups.

As has been the case in London and several other cities around the world, supporters of the LTTE, who claim themselves to be representi­ng Tamils in war torn Sri Lanka, have been marching on the streets in Ottawa and Toronto in recent weeks to demand that Canada intercede in the civil war by demanding a ceasefire and to end the proscripti­on against the Tigers.

Immigratio­n Minister Jason Kenney correctly points out that Canada indeed has called for a ceasefire, as the protesters demand, but that it won’t remove the ban on a terrorist group whose damnable gift to the world is the concept of suicide bombing, and which has had no compunctio­n about forcibly recruiting child soldiers in its decades-long war to carve out a separate country for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

It’s disturbing to see these protesters, numbering in the thousands and clutching red flags emblazoned with the crossed-rifles Tiger logo, claim themselves to be representi­ng the interests of ordinary Tamils as they demand the right to raise funds legally for the terrorist group. It’s shocking to see young children being used as pawns by their parents in pursuing their extremist cause, with the tots chanting songs about “the struggle” and carrying giant Tiger flags down the streets of Canadian cities.

There’s a good reason why the Canadian government in 2006 banned the LTTE after years of leaders such as former prime minister Paul Martin and other senior politician­s presumably unwittingl­y supporting the Tigers’ cause by attending public fundraisin­g events. And there’s good reason why the LTTE should remain on that list, despite the attempts of Tiger supporters to pressure the Conservati­ve government to reverse itself.

Just ask Tamil storeowner­s in Toronto whose premises have been set alight or trashed for failing to carry pro-Tiger material whether those protesters with LTTE flags represent their interests.

Just ask the innocent Tamils among the Diaspora of 200,000 in Toronto whose families are forced to ante up “war taxes” to keep the civil war going, even as the nearly defeated LTTE now demands a ceasefire. (That past ceasefires have been used by the LTTE to resupply itself using “taxes” extorted from Tamils abroad to continue the war might in part explain why UN calls for a ceasefire are falling on deaf ears in the Lankan government.)

Mr. Kenney and the Conservati­ve government are right to stick to their guns on banning the LTTE, as much for the sake of Tamils trying to make a new peaceful life for themselves here as it is for Canada’s duty to curb internatio­nal terrorism.

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