Tamil Eelam flag vs. Tamil Tiger flag

On the left is the flag of the Tamil Eelam. On the right is the flag of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a.k.a., the Tamil Tigers.

Tamil Eelam flag
Flag of Tamil Eelam
Tamil Tiger flag
Flag of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam

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Tamil Canadians chant, march, and block a Toronto highway in protest.

The video below was captured by a biker who was close to the demonstration. The protesters flew large, bright-red Tamil Eelam flags with some Canadian flags interspersed. Some of the protesters marched ahead with a banner that said, “SRI LANKA, STOP THE GENOCIDE”. Police stood by, and the chanting of the protesters alternated with the sound of the police siren. Later in the video, the protesters started running and shouting down the street with flags flying.

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There are more Sri Lankans in Canada than in the United States.

In 2006, about 103 625 Canadians and residents of Canada were of Sri Lankan ethnic origin. Canada has admitted far more immigrants from Sri Lanka than the United States. Below is a graph showing the total number of Sri Lankan immigrants admitted to Canada versus the United States from 1991 to 2003.

Total Immigration admitted to Canada and the United States from Sri Lanka, 1991-2003

In the period of 1991 to 1995, Canada admitted 37 345 immigrants from Sri Lanka, while the United States admitted only 6 492. This means that Canada admitted about 475% more Sri Lankan immigrants than the United States during that period. While the total number of Sri Lankan immigrants in Canada is already several times greater than that of the United States, given that the total population of Canada is about one tenth the population of the United States, the number of Sri Lankan immigrants admitted to Canada per capita during that period would be about 58 times that of the United States.

Within Canada, about 138,675 people spoke Tamil, and 19,830 spoke Sinhalese in 2006. In Toronto of the same year, 110,450 people spoke Tamil, and 12,690 spoke Sinhalese.


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Tamil Canadians rally against the genocide occurring in Sri Lanka.

As many as 10,000 Tamil Canadians gathered in downtown Toronto on Friday to raise awareness about the genocide occurring in Sri Lanka. The protestors of colour were against the Sri Lankan government killing innocent Tamil civilians, and formed a massive human chain, creating a traffic gridlock around Union Station.

Unfortunately, CBC News incorrectly reported that they were protesting the Sri Lankan government’s offensive against the Tamil Tigers.

Here are some comments by the protestors on the misleading CBC News article:

Jago_Combo writes (emphasis mine):

This protest is not about the Tamil Tigers. This is about the Tamil Civilians in Sri Lanka who are being killed in alarming numbers everyday by the Sri Lankan government – we are talkign about ordinary civilians.

We need the support of Canada to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to adopt a ceasfire and bring humanitarian aid to the Tamil civilians which the Sri Lankan government has restricted. If we sit idly and not do anything, we are ignoring a genocide in progress that is being perpetrated by the singalese government.

If your ancestors were being innocently killed and driven out of their native country, wouldn’t you do something?? This issue is more important than the slumping economy – it is about savings lives and protecting human rights.
Please Canada, take a lead on this issue and call for a ceasefire!

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South Asians in Canada: Ethnic Origin and Country of Birth

South Asians were the largest visible minority group in Canada according to the 2006 Census. However, South Asians are a very diverse group with respect to both ethnic origin and country of birth.

Ethnic origin of South Asians in Canada

Ethnic origin (also known as ethnic ancestry) refers to the ethnic or cultural origins of the respondent’s ancestors. An ancestor is someone from whom a person is descended and is usually more distant than a grandparent. Ethnic origin should not be confused with language, place of birth or citizenship. For example, a person of Haitian origin may speak French, be born in Canada and have Canadian citizenship. Since 1981, when respondents were first permitted to report more than one ethnic origin in the census, a distinction has been made between single response, multiple responses and total responses. [...] Most of the data that are reported in this document refers to the total response count for each ethnic group, unless otherwise indicated.

13.1% of South Asians reported multiple ethnic origins. The “ethnic origins” or “ancestral backgrounds” of South Asians are shown in the bar graph below. (As a person can have more than one ethnic origin, these ethnic categories are not mutually exclusive.) Most South Asians (69.0%) were of East Indian ethnic origin.

East Indian, 69%. Pakistani, 9.3%. Sri Lankan, 7.8%. Punjabi, 4.1%. Canadian, 2.7%. Tamil, 2.7%. European, 2.6%. British Isles, 2.5%. Bangladeshi, 1.8%.

Since there were 1,262,900 South Asians in Canada according to the 2006 Census, the number of East Indians in Canada was about 871,000. (For individuals who want to compare the size of the largest South Asian subgroup with the size of the Chinese “visible minority” group, the number of East Indians in Canada (871,000) was lower than the number of Chinese (1,216,600).)

Country of birth of South Asians in Canada

29.3% of South Asians were Canadian-born, while 70.7% were foreign-born.

A majority of the foreign-born South Asians came from countries in the Indian subcontinent, such as India (48.8%), Pakistan (14.6%), Sri Lanka (11.7%) and Bangladesh (3.6%). The other leading source countries of birth among the foreign-born South Asian visible minorities were Guyana (4.2%), Trinidad and Tobago (2.5%), Fiji (2.4%), the United Republic of Tanzania (1.9%), Kenya (1.8%) and the United Kingdom (1.6%).

Applying these foreign-country percentages to the percentage of South Asians that were foreign-born (70.7%), and adding in the percentage of South Asians that were Canadian-born (29.3%), we can extrapolate a more integrated overview of South Asians’ countries of birth.

Country of birth Percentage
Canada 29.3
India 34.5
Pakistan 10.3
Sri Lanka 8.3
Guyana 3.0
Bangladesh 2.5
Trinidad and Tobago 1.8
Fiji 1.7
United Republic of Tanzania 1.3
Kenya 1.3
United Kingdom 1.1
Other 4.9

The pie chart below was generated from the above data:

South Asian's Country of Birth pie chart

Sources:

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