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Enactment of Ontario’s Genocide Bill subject to Lt. Governor General’s approval



‘Actions of a few shouldn’t be allowed to jeopardize bilateral relations’

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government has requested Canada not to enact Bill 104 recently adopted by the Ontario Provincial Parliament that resolved that Sri Lanka had committed genocide during the war.

Authoritative sources said that in terms of the Canadian Law in spite of the passage of the controversial Bill 104 moved by Member of Parliament Vijay Thanigasalam (Scarborough—Rouge Park) of Sri Lankan origin, it wouldn’t be enacted until Ontario Lieutenant Governor General Elizabeth Dowdeswell gave her consent on behalf of the Canadian Government. Thanigasalam represents the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.  The Lt. Governor General is appointed on the recommendation of the Prime Minister.

Sources said that Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena would meet Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon to discuss this matter. If Ontario Legislative Assembly succeeded in its high profile project, it would lead to similar propaganda operations in other parts of the world, sources said.

Sources said that Sri Lanka’s Counsel General in Toronto and the High Commission in Ottawa on numerous occasions raised the issue with relevant authorities as part of overall efforts to thwart Thanigasalam’s move. Sources said that contrary to reports, Bill 104 had been carried through without a vote in the Toronto Legislative Assembly on May 6 taking advantage of the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic that restricted the participation of the majority of members.

Responding to a query, sources said that Thanigasalam’s project had been facilitated by the Committee on Regulations and Private Bills coming under the purview of Logan Kanapathi also of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario (Markham—Thornhill). Sources said that actions of a few Canadians of Sri Lankan origin shouldn’t be allowed to undermine relations between the two countries.

In the wake of the passage of Bill 104, the government roundly condemned the Ontario Provincial Parliament’s move, pointing out so called ‘Tamil Genocide Education Week’ is based on what the Foreign Ministry asserted ‘a flawed premise, unfounded assumptions and blatant lies.’

The government emphasized that the UN or other foreign governments never blamed Sri Lanka for genocide.  

Meanwhile, informed sources said that Sri Lanka’s former High Commissioner in Ottawa Asoka Girihagama yet to return in spite of being recalled after the change of government in Nov 2019 took over the mission in the year before soon after his retirement from Foreign Service. Sri Lanka is yet to name a High Commissioner in the wake of Canada’s refusal to accept retired Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias and outgoing Attorney General Dappula de Livera, PC, turning down the plum diplomatic post.

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Death threats won’t deter us – EC Chairman




Nimal Punchihewa (Chairman ECSL) picture by PRIYAN DE SILVA
Chairman of the Election Commission of Sri Lanka Nimal Punchihewa told The Island that members of  the election commission won’t be deterred by death threats.
He said that members of the commission  M M Mohamed,  K P P Pathirana and S B Diwarathne have been repeatedly threatened and the police have not been able to apprehend the perpetrators.
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Three people dead after torrential rain in New Zealand




At least three people have died due to flash flodding in Auckland (picture BBC)

BBC reported that at least three people have died and one is missing after New Zealand’s largest city experienced its “wettest day on record” on Friday.

Auckland is said to have received 75% of its usual summer rainfall in just 15 hours.

A local state of emergency was declared as authorities managed evacuations and widespread flooding.

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Chris Hipkins thanked emergency services for their swift response to the disaster.The new prime minister travelled to Auckland, where he also expressed his condolences to the loved ones of those who died in the floods.

“The loss of life underscores the sheer scale of this weather event and how quickly it turned tragic”, he said in a news conference on Saturday afternoon.

The downpour flooded the airport, shifted houses and resulted in power cuts to homes for hours.

New Zealand’s defence forces were mobilised to assist with evacuations and emergency shelters were set up across the city.

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Parliament prorogued on Friday night



President says cabinet agreeable to fully implementing 13 A until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment

Parliament was prorogued from midnight Friday (27) by President Ranil Wickremesinghe under powers vested in him by Article 70 of the Constitution, parliamentary sources said on Friday.

The Department of Government Printing was due to issue the relevant notification on Friday night but it was not out as this edition went to print.However the President’ Media Division (PMD) confirmed the prorogation on Friday evening saying that President Wickremesinghe “is expected” to make a policy statement based on the decisions taken after the 75th Independence anniversary when parliament recommences on Feb.8.

A separate bulletin said that the president had informed the party leaders Conference on Reconciliation that the cabinet was agreeable to “fully implementing (the) 13th Amendment until party leaders decide whether or not to abolish the Amendment.”

Parliamentary sources explained that a prorogation which is a temporary recess of parliament, should not extend to a period of more than two months, However, such date for summoning parliament may be advanced by another presidential proclamation provided it is summoned for a date not less than three days from the date of such fresh proclamation.

Political observers believe that the prorogation is related to the president’s effort to secure as wide a consensus as possible on the National Question. They dismissed speculation that it is related to the scheduled local elections. This issue was clarified by the PMD bulletin.

When parliament is prorogued, the proclamation should notify the date of the commencement of the new session of parliament under Article 70 of the Constitution.During the prorogation the speaker continues to function and MPs retain their membership of the legislature even though they do not attend meetings of the House.

The effect of a prorogation is to suspend all current business before the House and all proceedings pending at the time are quashed except impeachments.A Bill, motion or question of the same substance cannot be introduced for a second time during the same session. However, it could be carried forward at a subsequent session after a prorogation.

“All matters which having been duly brought before parliament, have not been disposed of at the time of the prorogation, may be proceeded with during the next session,” states the paragraph (4) of article 70 of the constitution.

In the light of this constitutional provision, a prorogation does not result in an end to pending business. Thus, a pending matter may be proceeded with from that stage onwards after the commencement of the new session.

At the beginning of a new session all items of business which were in the order paper need to be re-listed, if it is desired to continue with them.At the end of a prorogation a new session begins and is ceremonially declared open by the president.

He is empowered under the constitution to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each session of parliament and to preside at ceremonial sittings of parliament in terms of the provisions of paragraph (2) of article 33 of the constitution.The president is empowered to make a statement of government policy at the commencement of each new session. In the past, it was known as the Throne Speech which was delivered by the Governor-General.

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