Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Voters lists 'most disturbing' items seized in Tamil raids, documents say

Precisely how Elections Canada voters lists ended up in the offices of an alleged terrorist front group is a lingering mystery that Canadian officials say they will likely never solve. But privacy officials now say they are auditing federal practises with an eye to plugging such leaks.

An RCMP affidavit revealed this week in Federal Court states that federal voters lists were among the "most disturbing" items seized in raids on the World Tamil Movement's Toronto offices in 2006. Police said the lists were the type that are sent to federal candidates and ministers for elections, and yet they turned up in the office of the non-profit group, the surnames of ethnic Tamils highlighted in yellow.

Such lists were once publicly posted, but they are now distributed only to Elections Canada officials and candidates' campaigns. They are released expressly to help advance Canadian democracy, and misusing them is an offence under the Elections Act that can lead to a $1,000 fine or three months in jail.

The RCMP investigation seeks to prove the non-profit was a fundraising arm for foreign rebels who have been known to use child soldiers and suicide bombers in their bid for a separate state in Sri Lanka.

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