Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Letter to Stockwell Day

by Vel Velauthapillai, B.Eng, June 17, 2008

In Sri Lanka, the problem is state terrorism and the Sri Lankan government is killings Tamils in much larger numbers than the civilians you mention in your public statements. Please ask the UN for reports or ask HRW (http://www.hrw.org/effectiveHRC/SriLanka/) for reports. Please remember you used the same HRW reports to support your decison to ban the LTTE in 2006. Why don't you use their recent reports to ban the Sri Lankan government and close their terror funding embassy in Ottawa? Sounds reasonable to me...

n the 1980s, Canada faced the similar scenario as what is happening in Sri Lanka in Quebec, but a civilized and mature Canadian leadership very peacefully resolved the issues and provided adequate powers to Quebec. If Canada had banned the Bloc Quebec, the situation may be similar to Sri Lanka.

Dear Hon. Stockwell Day:

I read your latest announcement about 'TERRORISM" and the ban on the World Tamil Movement today (Ref: http://www.publicsafety.gc.ca/media/nr/2008/nr20080616-eng.aspx).

Is it OK for Tamils to go to the Giant Tigers store? I am not kidding. As a Tamil Canadian, it is quite scary to think about! It looks like the Ministry has the power to ban any organization and threaten a whole community with possible criminal charges.

I am surprised to see that the Tories are bringing Canada to what feels like dictatorship. While US Democratic candidates Mr. Obama and Ms. Clinton are showing maturity and expressing a willingness to reconsider their "list of terrorists", you are encouraging state terrorism and rewarding human right violations.

After the Tories banned the LTTE in 2006, Sri Lankan government waged war against Tamils and killed more than 5000 Eelam Tamils. Now, the Sri Lankan government may plan to execute more massacres with newly pledged financial support from Iran.

In Sri Lanka, the problem is state terrorism and the Sri Lankan government is killings Tamils in much larger numbers than the civilians you mention in your public statements. Please ask the UN for reports or ask HRW (http://www.hrw.org/effectiveHRC/SriLanka/) for reports. Please remember you used the same HRW reports to support your decison to ban the LTTE in 2006. Why don't you use their recent reports to ban the Sri Lankan government and close their terror funding embassy in Ottawa? Sounds reasonable to me.

In fact, in the reverse, several Canadian UN officials, notably UNHCHR Louise Arbour, have been branded as 'terrorists' by the Sri Lankan government.

Tamils democratically decided to free themselves from Sri Lanka in 1977, long before the LTTE came into the picture. The problem is similar to Kosova, Tibet, or Bangladesh where a separation is needed to solve the problem. Tamils were waited for help from International community more than 30 years until 1977, then they decided to go separate and started to fight against Sri Lankan state terrorism.

In Canada, Tamils are a successful hardworking community with many thousands of doctors, professors, engineers, business leaders and other skilled professionals. It is true that many Tamils came to Canada as refugees, but they immediately started to contribute to the Canadian economy and very quickly joined with the Canadian mainstream, including in politics. Actually, Tamils have only few lawyers in their community, and this is why the Tories able to play with them and can target them now to be ripped off by lawyers fees. Tamils are well known for working 20 hours per day. In fact, many Tamils are moving to Alberta from Toronto and Montreal to fulfil the requirement for skilled workers.

It is very hard to believe such a educated community could be threatened by the LTTE for money. Even if that is the case, I believe the Canadian police and the RCMP are capable of handling the situation with available laws. In fact, there are many Tamils who have worked for the police, army, and the RCMP as well. Please recruite more Tamils to the police if you want to know more about what is happening in the community.

Branding Tamil organizations as terrorists, shutting down public voices or threating the Tamil community will not help in any way. In fact, it will be counter productive. If many Tamils are charged under terrorist laws, the rest will simply stop working and switch to public welfare because they know they will lose their hard-earned money anyway. On the other side, those who really want to help Tamils back on the island, will do so underground. Is this what the Tories want to achieve?

In the 1980s, Canada faced the similar scenario as what is happening in Sri Lanka in Quebec, but a civilized and mature Canadian leadership very peacefully resolved the issues and provided adequate powers to Quebec. If Canada had banned the Bloc Quebec, the situation may be similar to Sri Lanka. It is always better to learn from history and good / bad experience.

Tamils know how the Sri Lankan government has denied their rights using unnessary anti-terror laws (http://www.tamilsforjustice.org/).  It was the US who armed the Taliban, and it was the US who armed Iraq. Now, it is the US and Canada who help Sri Lankan state terrorists.

The problem is human rights and applying the best strategy to solve a problem. Dictatorship or governance using fear will cause more problems. Please don't play political games at the expense of a young fast-growing, productive, law-abiding community.

I believe Canada still honors freedom of speech. Please don't apply any criminal charges for directly writing to you. Things are getting much more scary for Tamils, Sir!

Sincerely,