Patrick Brown – A name well known in the Canadian Tamil Community. He is one of the noteworthy young political leaders who do not hesitate to associate himself with the Tamil Community in Canada. No one can deny the fact that Tamil Canadians have also been responsible for the ups and downs of his political journey, from the time he resigned his position as a Member of Parliament for Barrie to his current term as the Mayor of Brampton.
“What has Patrick Brown delivered fruitfully to the Tamil Community during his B2B (from Barrie to Brampton) journey?” asked ‘Pattinathar’ (name has been changed). I was a little overwhelmed when he asked me this question. Pattinathar had his reasons for such question.
‘Pattinathar’ knew that I was one of the In-house members of the “Tamils for Patrick” group that worked tirelessly in support of Patrick Brown during his leadership campaign for Ontario PC Party. ‘Pattinathar’ knew me better during my campaign activities like writing articles, participating in many political talk shows on Radio and TV and fiercely arguing on social media with many of the PC Party opponents among Tamil community – all on behalf of the “Tamils for Patrick”
In addition, ‘Pattinathar’ was also aware that I was not in complete agreement with or fond of some of the campaign ‘promises’ that came from the executive leaders of “Tamils for Patrick”. These differences were caused by personal as well as honest policies that we expect in politics. I can reveal few examples of those profound differences here:
During the campaign period, we were instructed to meet the potential Tamil voters with a campaign message saying that “When Patrick Brown becomes the Premier of Ontario, Tamil people will be given higher positions in many government boards such as regulatory boards of LCBO.” Whenever we were told to do this, I would state my opposition out loud. My argument would be that it was NOT decent to make such ‘attractive’ promises in public.
But, the executive leaders of Tamils for Patrick will make an argument to defend such statement – “This is how we must run our campaign in order to get votes from our (Tamil) community”.
On another occasion, executive leaders of the group will insist that we state, “Patrick Brown was the only Member of Parliament from the Conservative Party of Canada who came to support us when we stood helplessly in the Canadian streets in 2009 during the Sri Lankan government attacks against Tamils.”
I would ask the question: “Aren’t we politicizing it now?” According to me, this type of campaign message was not the right way of gathering votes. Often I would say, “What Mr.Brown did was a humanitarian act, aren’t we politicizing it now?. Again, this statement will raise conflicts among us and end up in an argument.
But in a short span, it became apparent that these kinds of emotional campaigns and attractive promises were the main reasons behind Patrick Brown’s popularity among the Tamil community. In other words, the “Tamils for Patrick” experience taught me an important lesson: Our Tamil community accepts and expects these types of campaign techniques, whether we give credence to it or not.
There was another reason why ‘Pattinathar’ asked me the question, “What has Patrick Brown delivered fruitfully to the Tamil community during his B2B journey?”
When Patrick Brown set out to run for the Mayor of Brampton in 2018, similar techniques were used once again on the Tamil community living in Brampton. It is now revealed through sources in the inner circle that Patrick Brown’s Tamil team was again throwing out campaign promises to the Tamil Community at large.
“Once Patrick is our Mayor, we will give municipality jobs to Tamils living in Brampton”; “We will build a cultural center in Brampton for Tamils, We will sign a memorandum of understanding with the municipalities in the North and East of Sri Lanka”, “We will strive to send Sri Lankan war criminals to prison “,”We will fight for the rights of Eelam Tamils through our human rights organizations”, and so on.
I think Pattinathar is one of those who believed in these promises which were not fulfilled. The promises given during the election period may have planted seeds of hope in the form of employment for his daughter at City hall, and a contract for his own cleaning company. But, the anger and embarrassment, caused by the fact that none of the ‘promises’ were fulfilled, resulted in the form of dissatisfaction that reflects on his face even today.
He (Pattinathar) continued, “They are now insisting that a Tamil genocide memorial monument would be built in Brampton by Mayor Patrick Brown. Though the truth is, it was not initiated by the Mayor or his Tamil team. The building of the monument was requested by two organizations namely Brampton Tamil Association and Brampton Tamil Seniors Association. The public land for construction was suggested by a Regional Councillor. The momentum is going to be built by using public funds.”
I have already heard this story through other sources as well. The instances that took place in Brampton regarding the building of the Tamil monument are quite fascinating. Following the demolition of the Mullivaaikaal monument at Jaffna University in Sri Lanka, a group of Tamils in Brampton approached Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros, who represents wards 3 and 4. Their request to him was about the possibility of a monument to be erected in Brampton. All possibilities were discussed with Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros and a fruitful agreement was reached by the group. It was then decided to bring in a proposal to the City council.
Mayor Brown and his Tamil team are known for making promises to the Tamil community and then putting them on hold. There seemed to be a common fear, that If Mayor Brown and his Tamil team found a wind of this particular monument project proposal, they would simply snatch the ideas and the project might be dragged for a few more elections. Consequently, the ideas were brought into motion and it proved evident that a project for Tamils can be accepted without it being discussed with outsiders.
On January 20th 2021, Regional Councilor Martin Medeiros brought the motion to the City hall and proposed his plan to erect a Tamil memorial monument in the City of Brampton. The councillors together with the Mayor approved the first phase of reading. It is not surprising that after Regional Councilor Martin Medeiros submitted his proposal, many, including Mayor Brown, would have thought, “We could or should have done this ourselves.”
Only then did the news spread to outsiders. Tamil community was exuberant and rejoiced. Along with it came various opposing reactions in the community too.
On January 27, 2021, the City Council held the second phase of reading to finalize the proposal. A Tamil community member representing Brampton Tamil Association and Brampton Tamil Seniors Association attended the meeting and requested that the monument to be named the “Tamil Genocide Memorial”. That amendment too was approved by the City Council.
“Everything was rightfully done in the City hall. We as a community owe a big thanks to all the members of the Brampton City Council including the Mayor. But, an illusion is now being created among the Tamil community that the Mayor Brown came up with the monument project on his own. This is not true,” ‘Pattinathar’ emotionally concluded.
There is another major aspect to this story. Since this monument project was brought to the Brampton council during Mayor Patrick Brown’s time, is it not the moral and/or ethical duty of Mayor Brown to make it clear to the Tamil community as to who submitted the project? There are doubts among many that he is NOT doing it so.
This doubt can also be confirmed by observing a greeting message that was delivered by Mayor Brown for the Pongal festival hosted by the Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC). During his whole speech at this event, Patrick Brown did not mention Regional Councillor Martin Medeiros name even once. Why?
In that Pongal message, Mayor Patrick Brown presumes, “My chief of staff is Tamil… my senior advisor is Tamil… my scheduler is Tamil… our IT director is Tamil”. Fine but it is to be noted here that those positions were not given to Tamils through an open and/or transparent application process.
It is widely rumored that candidates were named to these positions for personal reasons in order to satisfy someone close to the Mayor’s Tamil team. (Furthermore, Patrick Brown adds in the message that the new Chief of Peel Regional Police Nishan Duraiyappa is Tamil as well). Though I understand that Mayor Brown is openly clamming his Tamil connections in public to appease the Tamil community, I still strongly believe that this kind of speech is an act of deception which makes us – the Tamils – look silly.
What has Patrick Brown delivered fruitfully to the Tamil community? This question does not mean that he did nothing for the Tamils.
The question I raise here is whether he has done anything productive for the betterment of the Tamil community in Canada. The answer is clear: “NO” – No productive work has been done by Patrick Brown for the Tamil Community so far!”
If Patrick Brown had been sincerely concerned about the Tamil community, not in the least we expect these followings, isn’t it?
(1) The foundation for a Tamil community center in Brampton as his team promised during the election campaign, should have been laid by now
(2) He should have re-initiated the work of the previously announced Brampton-Vavuniya twin City agreement
(3) He must have raised his voice for Tamils in Geneva through the organization CHRV (Canadian Human Rights Voice) which was established by his Chief of Staff, Babu Nagalingam.
(4) He should have at least raised his voice through the CHRV for the release of the innocent people imprisoned in Sri Lanka.
(5) He should have done something for the Tamil refugees in South India through the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, with whom Patrick Brown has been maintaining good friendship for a very long time.
According to many, Patrick Brown has given the Tamil community only empty proposals & promises so far and delivered personal favors to some in the inner circle in return for his election victory.
However, everything he says now about war crimes and genocide is valuable, but, they will be considered hereafter like “fireworks lit up to divert the attention” of those who are emotional about the rights of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
There was a time when many volunteers like myself held the campaign banners in support of Patrick Brown thinking that something good will happen to the Tamil community. Many of us also thought that it was our duty as ‘Tamil Conservatives’ to elect Patrick Brown to office. But, if our Tamil community did not get what we expected from him, what is the point for us to often listen to his claims that his Chief of Staff is a Tamil?
Originally written in Tamil by Canada Moorthy
Translated by Bella Dalima