“In the past I shared material related to the Tamil Tigers. I apologize and I no longer hold those views,” Vijay Thanigasalam wrote on Twitter late Tuesday.
The apology came after Global News asked the PC Party to comment on Facebook posts about the late Tamil Tigers’ rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.
According to captured posts shared by a community member, in 2011 Thanigasalam posted photos of Prabhakaran wearing a camouflage uniform. “Happy 57th Birthday to our National Leader,” it read.
Another post commemorated the Black Tigers, the Tamil Tigers suicide squad.
“The Black Tigers are the protective armours of our ethnic community,” it read, quoting the rebel boss. “They are the eliminator of obstacles of our war path. They are burning humans that destroy the armed power of the enemy through their inner will power.”
PC Party spokeswoman Melissa Lantsman said Thanigasalam had taken down the posts and the party’s provincial nominations committee was confident he did not support those views.
“The candidate removed any such material before he stood as a candidate, more than one year ago. The party obviously does not share this view and that material is unacceptable,” she said.
“Mr. Thanigasalam does not support those views.”
But the apology was quickly condemned on his Facebook page, where he was called a “sellout.” “You don’t seem to be for our people anymore,” another post read.
Thanigasalam is running in the Scarborough-Rouge Park riding. His website says he studied at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology in Oshawa and works for “one of Canada’s leading banks.”
The Tamil Tigers fought a lengthy insurgency for an independent homeland for Sri Lanka’s persecuted ethnic Tamil minority. Their use of political assassinations, suicide bombings and attacks on civilians led Canada and other nations to brand them as a terrorist group.
During the armed conflict, the Tamil Tigers used Canada as a key support base. Front organizations in Toronto fundraised, produced pro-Tigers propaganda and lobbied for the rebel cause.
The main Tiger front group, the World Tamil Movement of Ontario, was raided by the RCMP and ultimately shut down by the federal government after evidence showed it was an arm of the rebel leadership in Sri Lanka.
The conflict ended in 2009 with the defeat of the rebels by government forces who killed thousands of civilians. But some continue to support the Tigers and the quest for a separate Tamil nation on the small island off India’s southern coast.