Hudak denies candidate has ties to banned Tamil group
The Canadian Press
Published Monday, March 7, 2011 5:11PM EST
TORONTO - Opposition Leader Tim Hudak is disputing allegations that his party has opened the door to remnants of a banned Tamil Tiger front group.
Claims that the Ontario Conservatives have recruited a candidate with links to the Tigers are nothing but "rumours and innuendo," he said Monday.
"It's not true," Hudak said.
"The reality is that we have a thorough screening process and the candidate has passed this test, and I'm satisfied with that."
Hudak was responding to a Globe and Mail report that a Tory candidate in the riding of Markham-Unionville, Shan Thayaparan, helped run an election for a new Tamil separatist group called the National Council of Canadian Tamils.
The newspaper said the council's key adviser is a former spokesman for the outlawed World Tamil Movement.
Conservative party spokesman Alan Sakach said Thayaparan was a volunteer returning officer for the council.
"The NCCT is not an organization that's been identified as having terrorist links," he said.
Sakach said the party was aware of the allegations involving Thayaparan, which were thoroughly investigated. All candidates are vetted through a process that includes a criminal records check, as well as credit and bankruptcy checks, he said.
"We investigated and there was nothing there," Sakach said.
Thayaparan was not immediately available for comment.
The Globe also reported that another Tamil who was in direct contact with the top Tiger leadership in 2009 is seeking the federal Tory nomination in Scarborough-Southwest.
Both ridings sit near the heart of the world's largest Sri Lankan Tamil community outside Asia.
The federal Conservatives added the separatist Tamil Tigers to its official list of terrorist organizations in April 2006, making it a crime to fundraise for the group. It banned the World Tamil Movement -- the Tigers' Canadian fundraising arm -- two years later.