Toronto – The Tamil Tigers have been added to Canada’s list of outlawed terrorist organizations, the National Post has learned.
The designation was to be finalized yesterday, a day after Cabinet met to accept a recommendation from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service.
An official announcement was scheduled for Monday.
The Tigers are the 39th terrorist group to be outlawed under the Anti-Terrorism Act, and the first added to the list by the new Conservative government.
The move was spearheaded by Stockwell Day, the Minister of Public Safety, who in opposition repeatedly condemned the Liberals for not outlawing the Tigers.
The decision means it will now be a criminal offence to participate in the activities of the Tamil Tigers, formally known as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or LTTE, a Sri Lankan separatist group responsible for more than 160 suicide bombings. For example, anyone convicted of financially supporting the Tigers could be imprisoned for up to 10 years.
But while the Tigers were placed on the list, the government stopped short of listing any of the terrorist group’s Canadian front organizations.
The Cabinet order will likely have implications both at home and abroad. It will criminalize the Tiger “war taxes” that have long been paid — both voluntarily and involuntarily — by some Tamil-Canadians. Also, Canada has the world’s largest Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, estimated at 250,000, and the listing could deal a blow to the Tigers, who are heavily dependent on Canadian and other foreign donors.
“It is estimated that between one and two million dollars are raised annually in Canada, making it one of the largest contributors of funds to the LTTE worldwide,” according to a classified CSIS report circulated in 2000. “The LTTE has traditionally raised these monies through the use of fronts groups”