On Tuesday August 11, the Canadian Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson along with Minister of State Sport Hon Bal Gosal and Conservative Members of Parliament Parm Gill and Brad Butt attended a Tamil community round table discussion. The event was held at Brampton, Ontario.
The public consultation was intended to solicit the community stakeholders’ views on the current situation in Sri Lanka as well as to discuss the pending UN Human Rights report.
Speaking about the Canadian Government’s position with respect to Sri Lanka the Conservative Foreign Minster affirmed unequivocally that Canada would not deviate from the long-standing principled stance on Human Rights. Canada is strongly advocating for independent international investigation as starting point for accountability and reconciliation, regardless of whoever is in power in Sri Lanka.
The Minister further went on to state that the Canadian Government expects to see tangible results beyond rhetoric from the Sri Lankan Government and that officials are watching the Parliamentary elections closely.
Other key points highlighted by Minister Nicholson during the meeting…
- Whether at the Commonwealth or other international fora, Canada’s Conservative government has never been shy to hold the horrendous record of the Rajapaksa regime to account, and to rally the world to action even though initially the latter may not have been inclined to do so.
- Beyond the current political climate, Canada is waiting to see whether Sri Lankan authorities repeal the Prevention of Terrorism Act, an Act designed to enhance the subjective powers of the presidency.
- As long as Stephen Harper is, Prime Minister, Canada will continue to be at the forefront in advocating for the expeditious return of Sri Lanka’s internally displaced people to their own land, and for the rebuilding of their lives.
Tamil representatives also briefed the Foreign Minister on various issues affecting the people of North and East such as militarization, land occupation, security, harassment of civilians, and the lack of religious freedom. The Minister showed keen interest in hearing the details from the community and reiterated the Conservative Government’s commitment towards peace and prosperity for all Sri Lankans.(SL Guardian)