Tory candidate denies ties to Tamil Tigers

Gavan Paranchothy (left), Conservative candidate in Scarborough Southwest, is denying allegations of ties to the Tamil Tigers, a group listed as a terrorist organization by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2006. (Courtesy GavanParanchothy.com) (Courtesy GavanParanchothy.com)

Scarborough Southwest’s federal Conservative candidate Gavan Paranchothy has denied any connection to the Tamil Tigers, a separatist organization formerly based in northern Sri Lanka.

The organization was also listed as a terrorist group by Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government in 2006.

It has been reported Paranchothy was in charge of organizing a tribute to the Tamil Tigers that was also broadcast on television last year.

Paranchothy and his campaign manager Bret Snider did not respond to The Toronto Observer‘s requests for a response to the allegations by deadline.

November 2010 Heroes Day broadcast, hosted by
Conservative candidate Gavan Paranchothy

In November of last year, Paranchothy hosted of a program on Tamil Vision International Television commemorating Heroes Day, a memorial to dead Tamil Tiger fighters.

Paranchothy has since changed his first name from Ragavan on that television program to Gavan for the federal election. He was nominated as a candidate on March 12.

After cancelling a news conference on April 14, he issued a written statement.

“A recent media story has made insinuations that I am a supporter or sympathizer of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE),” he said in the statement. “I must make clear that it is not true and that I absolutely condemn terrorists and terrorism.”

He added the allegations of ties to the Tamil Tigers stem from his legitimate work as a journalist.

“When Robert Fisk interviewed Osama bin Laden, or when Christopher Hitchens interviewed Abu Nidal, nobody accused them of being terrorists themselves,” he said in the statement.

Liberal incumbent Michelle Simson in Scarborough Southwest said she has no first-hand knowledge of Paranchothy’s past.

She also said it is absolutely fundamental that background checks should be made before a candidate is chosen to run for federal office.

“The media was asking a valid question,” she said. “It all started with him changing his name. The media has the right to delve into issues brought up by candidates running for public office.”

NDP candidate Dan Harris said there are not enough proven facts for him to properly comment on Paranchothy’s alleged connections to the Tamil Tigers.

Stefan Dixon, Green Party candidate, agreed with Simson that candidates should show more clarity about their past.

“All candidates should be very forthcoming with their history because this shows their integrity,” he said. “This clearly shows that there is a lack of transparency in the Conservative Party.”

2 comments:

  1. To get a vote from LTTE supporters the Conservative might lose 1,000 of their traditional votes from strong Conservatives who are anti-terrorism supporters as this relationship with the LTTE is contrary to Conservatives policy and principle.
    … The majority of the Canadian Tamils are law abided citizens and only a handful of these people misguide and mislead the Conservative politicians. Unfortunately some of the parliamentarians are the victims of it. It is not a biased opinion and it can be proved with evidences when it is required.

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