Feature Article

Canadian Tamils chose to desert Liberals in favour of Leftists

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 May 2011, 06:17 GMT]
Scarborough's Tamil community had chosen this campaign to desert the Liberals. "That community turned against us completely and some of us paid the price," said six-times winning Liberal candidate John Cannis, who lost his seat in the general elections in Canada this week in Scarborough Centre parliamentary constituency. Meanwhile, according to Rathika Sitsabaiesan, who won the Scarborough-Rough River constituency for the leftist New Democratic Party, in the last days of Sri Lanka's civil war in May 2009, Liberal politicians had not appeared to support protestors on Toronto's University Avenue or on Parliament Hill in Ottawa where, she said, only the NDP leader Layton came to address the crowd, reports Mike Adler in Inside Toronto.com, adding that "Liberal MPs at the time said they didn't want to appear because protestors were displaying flags of the banned [LTTE]".

29 year-old Rathika won Sacrborough-Rouge River with a big margin to become the first Eezham Tamil parliamentarian in Canada.

Cannis, cited by Inside Toronto, said that the Liberals lost the opportunity by not fielding a Tamil candidate to Scarborough-Rouge River, which was a safe seat for the Liberals and where the incumbent since 1988 Derek Lee was retiring.

Cannis, argued that if a Canadian Tamil candidate had run for the party, Liberals would have won Lee's riding and the "signals" it sent may have given him enough votes to win his own three-way race in Scarborough Centre.

"The NDP was smart" to have chosen Rathika Sitsabaiesan, he said.

The Liberal candidate Rana Sarakar, CEO of the Canada-India Business Council, came third in the polling.

However, it was not merely a party choosing a Tamil candidate.

The Conservatives nominated popular Tamil-Canadian broadcaster Gavan Paranchothy in Scarborough Southwest but he couldn't carry the riding against New Democrat Dan Harris.

According to Mike Adler, a factor may have been a widely-shown Conservative ad, which showed footage of the MV Sun Sea landing last August with 491 Tamil asylum-seekers on board and said the re-elected Tories would crack down on people smugglers who "take advantage of our generosity."

The Scarborough-based National Council of Canadian Tamils called on the Conservatives to apologize to the community and remove the ad, which the group said, "insinuates that Tamil refugees who are forced to arrive (in Canada) through unconventional means are 'criminals.'" Mike Adler observed.


External Links:
InsideToronto: Scarborough Liberals struggle to make sense of losses in safe ridings


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