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NCCT demands apology over Canadian ad labelling refugees as criminals

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 30 March 2011 08:47 No Comment]

ConservativeAd_01_Front The National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) called on Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, to withdraw a Conservative party election advertisement that calls Tamil refugees as "criminals", demanded an apology to Tamil Canadians, media in Toronto reported. The ad features a photo of the MV Sun Sea which arrived off the shores of British Colombia in August last year with 491 Tamil refugees fleeing war and persecution from Sri Lanka-a country where the President, his brothers, and several Army Commanders have allegedly committed war crimes. The ad calls the Tamils aboard "criminals" who trying to abuse Canadian generosity.

"This election ad is xenophobic and borders on racism," said Krisna Saravanamuttu, NCCT spokesperson. "It is reminiscent of the political rhetoric used to turn back Sikhs and Hindus on board the Kamagata Maru in 1914, and Jewish refugees on board the MS St. Louis fleeing persecution in 1939. In these cases, refugees fleeing persecution were labeled "criminals" and vilified by politicians appealing to the worst instincts of Canadians to score political points and votes," a Toronto-based financial publication reported, quoting NCCT spokesperson.

"We are confident that Prime Minister Harper would not have approved this ad, if he had seen it," said Saravanamuttu. "We urge the Prime Minister to review the ad and do the right thing by removing it from his party’s campaign website as well as the party’s You Tube account and apologize for labeling refugees and immigrants as criminals."

The NCCT also calls on the leaders of Canada’s major political parties, Conservative candidates, and human rights groups like the Canadian Jewish Congress, Bnai Brith, and Amnesty International to review the CPC ad and join with us in calling for its retraction. "This election should be about uniting Canadians, no matter our ethnicity and how we arrived in Canada," noted Saravanamuttu, according to the financial publication.

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