Canada Post is defending one of its programs after a family created a customized stamp honouring a Montreal Tamil separatist who advocated violence.
The family of V. Navaratnam, whowas a vocal supporter of a Tamil state, purchased the personalized stamps through a Canada Post program.
But Jim Phillips, director of the picture postage stamp program, said there wasn't anything unusual about the request for stamps and that he wasn't aware of Navaratnam's political beliefs.
"It's not an official Canadian stamp issued by the government of Canada or Canada Post. That's the difference. It's a customizable postage ordered by a family," he said.
For as little as$24.95, anyone can create a stamp, with a picture of their choice on Canada Post's website.The Crown corporation doesreserve the right to refuse, for any reason, the photographa person hassubmitted.
The stamp can be used to mail a standard-size envelope weighing up to 30 grams to anywhere in Canada.
Stamps ordered for memorial
Grieving family members account for thousands of orders placed each year.
Navaratnam died last December. Shortly after, his son, Jegan Mohan,filled out an online order formasa way of paying tribute to his father.
Navaratnamwasa member of the Tamil Federal Party.Mohan said his father was the first politician in Sri Lanka to say Tamils should take up arms andfight for a separate homeland. He was also celebrated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, a rebel group banned in Canada.
"He called upon the youth to rise, if necessary to use arms, to succeed, because he felt all peaceful means of achieving the full aspiration of the Tamil people had failed," Mohan said.
One hundred and fifty stamps with Navaratnam's picture on them were made for his memorial service in Toronto.
"Over 700 to 750 people were there at the gathering," Mohan said, "so they were really scavenging for stamps."
Mohan saidthe proceeds fromthe sale of the stamps are going to a trust fund for Tamil studies at the University of Jaffna, in Sri Lanka.
Phillipssaid Canada Post has no plans to review its picture postage program.
"Canada has simply fulfilled a request for a grieving son whose father has just passed away. That's exactly what we've done, and that's exactly what we do for thousands of times a year for many other Canadians whose loved ones pass away."