Longtime Tamil refugee facing deportation from Canada for allegedly raising funds for terrorist Tamil Tigers

Steve Mertl
National Affairs Contributor
Daily Brew

The bloody, decades-long ethnic war in Sri Lanka has been over for three years but its after-effects still ripple through the Tamil diaspora around the world, especially in Canada, a haven for thousands who fled the bitter conflict.

The National Post reports the Canada Border Services Agency is asking the Immigration and Refugee Board to order the deportation of a Sri Lankan refugee who's lived in Canada for 15 years on grounds he was a bag man for the terrorist Tamil Tigers.

"I can confirm that the CBSA has requested an admissibility hearing for a person they believe is inadmissible to Canada, as there are reasonable grounds to believe the individual was or is a member of the World Tamil Movement, and as a member engaged in fundraising for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam,"  Faith St. John, a CBSA spokeswoman in Vancouver, told the Post.

[ Related: Immigration Minister seeks new powers to bar certain visitors from Canada ]

The man's name has not been released because of confidentiality rules surrounding proceedings concerning UN Convention refugees. But the Post reported the man, who is free while his case proceeds, has lived in Canada since 1997 and was accepted as a convention refugee the following year.

The Tamil Tigers were the military arm of the independence movement that aimed to carve out a separate state on the island of Sri Lanka (once known as Ceylon), which is dominated by the majority Sinhalese.

Years of tension flared into full-scale civil war in the early 1980s, sparking an exodus of Tamil refugees to other countries, including Canada. The fighting ended in May 2009 with a victory by Sri Lankan government forces and the death of Tigers' leader Velupillai Prabhakaran in the army's final sweep through the rebels' stronghold.

[ Related: Sri Lanka frees Tamil Tiger leader ]

The war's end sparked another wave of refugees, including shiploads of Tamils who arrived off the coast of British Columbia in 2009 aboard the vessels Ocean Lady and Sun Sea. Some have been accepted as legitimate refugees — the latest in August, according to the Post — but others have been rejected because of suspected affiliation with the Tigers.

The World Tamil Movement was founded in Ontario in 2006 and became known for pressuring Tamil expatriates into donating money to the Tigers by implying threats to relatives back home.

The RCMP raided the group's Toronto and Montreal offices in 2006, turning up requests from the Tigers for money and lists of weapons, the Post reported. The Mounties concluded the World Tamil Movement was part of the Tigers' fund-raising apparatus and the government banned it as a terrorist organization in 2008.