Connect with us


Genocide Bill against Sri Lanka passed in Canada



By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Influential Ontario Legislative Assembly has resolved that Sri Lanka subjected the Tamil community to genocide during the armed conflict. The Legislative Assembly voted in favour of Bill 104 (aka the Tamil Genocide Education Week Act),moved by Sri Lankan asylum seeker-turned Scarborough-Rouge Park member of Parliament Vijay Thanigasalam, at the third reading in the legislature, Canada and the UK-based sources told The Island. The first reading took place on April 30th, 2019, and the second on May 16, 2019.

 A key member of the Sri Lanka Core Group, at the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council, Canada backed the vote on March 23, 2021 against Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. Argentina, Armenia, Austria, the Bahamas, Brazil, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, Germany, Italy, Ivory Coast, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mexico, the Netherlands, Poland, South Korea, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uruguay voted against Sri Lanka.

The passage of Bill 104 took place on May 6, 2021 in the absence of a cohesive campaign by Sri Lanka to oppose the Canadian move, sources said.

On Twitter, Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario MP Vijay Thanigasalam declared the passage of Bill 104 ‘a historic event for Tamil people in Ontario and across the world. The Canadian media quoted Thanigasalam as having said: “Ontario is the first government worldwide to pass such a law.”

Thanigasalam, in addition to being Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly is also member, Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as well as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Transportation.

Sources said that the Canadian move had been made in the wake of the unprecedented rejection of retired Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner therein. Sources said that AM Dias was rejected on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes accusations. 

Former journalist Sithara Khan functions as the Acting High Commissioner since the SLPP government recalled Sri Lanka Ambassador there Asoka Girihagama, a career diplomat who reached the retirement age during his stint there. Girihagama, however, hasn’t returned to the country yet. Girihagama succeeded another career diplomat Ahmed A Jawad in late 2018.

The government recently made an abortive bid to dispatch outgoing Attorney General Dappula de Livera PC, to Canada.

The Bill 104, the Tamil Genocide Education Week Act, establishes seven days each year, May 11 to 18, during which Ontarians “are encouraged to educate themselves about, and to maintain their awareness of, the Tamil genocide and other genocides that have occurred in world history.” The weeklong event coincides with the conclusion of Sri Lanka’s successful war against the LTTE on the morning of May 19, 2009, on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon, sources said.

Several Sri Lankan organizations strongly opposed the move with some making representations to the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills. Among them was Dr. Neville Hewage, research fellow, Public Policy and Governance, International Center for Interdisciplinary Research in Law, Laurentian University, Ontario.

Hewage told The Island that the Ontario Legislative Assembly lacked jurisdiction to pass Bill 104 under any circumstances. Hewage in his comprehensive submission pointed out that the adopted Bill while making reference to a death toll of 40,000 to 75,000 in May 2009, referred to what it called other estimates which placed the number of deaths in 2009 (January 1 to May 18, 2009) at 146,679.

Canada based sources said that Vijay Thanigasalam openly identified himself with the LTTE even after the end of war. On Nov 26, 2011, Vijay Thanigasalam in a Facebook post stated: “Happy 57th birthday to our national Leader V. Prabhakaran.” However, Vijay Thanigasalam apologized for sharing LTTE material. The politician stated: “In the past I shared material related to the Tamil Tigers. I apologize and I no longer hold those views.”:

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Appointment of GM led to CEB chief’s resignation?



By Ifham Nizam

Amidst further deterioration of the power crisis, the Chairman of the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) M.M.C. Ferdinando has tendered his resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In a letter to the President, the Attorney-at-Law said that he is quitting due to personal reasons. Ferdinando will resign as Chairman/Member of the Electricity Board with effect from Feb. 1.

Sources close to Ferdinando said that the incumbent CEB Chairman did not want to be in that position following the appointment of Eng. Dr. D.C.R. Abeysekera as CEB General Manager. Abeysekera received his letter of appointment from Ferdinando on Tuesday (25).

Abeysekera received the appointment at the expense of Dr. Susantha Perera, whose designation as the GM on a temporary basis was resisted by the engineers’ union as he is a retiree.

Retired public servant Ferdinando was brought in as the CEB Chairman on July 19, last year soon after Sri Lanka entered into what was called a framework agreement with the US energy firm, New Fortress Energy. The agreement now challenged in the Supreme Court was finalised on 17 Sept, last year with Ferdinando endorsing it as an Advisor to the Finance Ministry.

Continue Reading


UK indicates sanctions against Lanka military



By Shamindra Ferdinnado

Close on the heels of UK Foreign Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad’s three-day visit here, the House of Commons has been told that measures were being contemplated as regards the Sri Lankan military.

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Minister Amanda Milling has told Parliament that the government regularly engaged with the US and other partners on issues relating to Sri Lanka. She has further said: “The UK government keeps all evidence and potential designations under the UK Global Human Rights sanctions regime under close review, guided by the objectives of the sanctions regime. We would not normally speculate about future sanctions targets, as to do so could reduce their impact.”

The Conservative Party member was responding to Labour Party’s Siobhain McDonagh on Tuesday (25). MP Milling was responding to a query McDonagh posed to the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Elizabeth Truss, what assessment she has made of the implications for her policies of the sanctions imposed by the US on General Shavendra Silva of the Sri Lankan army.

The US in Feb 2020 imposed a travel ban on General Silva, who is also the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS). Recently, the US extended its action against the Sri Lankan military by issuing travel ban on retired Maj. Gen. Udaya Perera.

The UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has commended the British stand.

Concerned Lankan military sources said that the UK in its capacity as the leader of Sri Lanka Core Group at the Geneva-based Human Rights Council (UNHRC) was planning further measures ahead of the next human rights sessions.

UK based sources told The Island that that type of written parliamentary question was usually answered by a government minister from the FCDO.

Sources explained as this particular question dealt with Sri Lanka, the minister responsible was Lord Tariq Ahmad, but as he represented the House of Lords he couldn’t make statements in the Commons chamber.

Sources added that it would be rare that a question on Sri Lanka would be directly responded to by the Foreign Secretary Truss

Commons member Amanda Milling is Minister of State for Asia, therefore her portfolio closely matches Tariq Ahmad’s brief.

Incidentally, the FCDO now has a British Tamil in a senior position. Maya Sivagnanam is South Asia Deputy Director for the Indian Ocean Region at the FCDO.

Continue Reading


JCPSM token strike cripples hospitals in Western Province



Strikers want Health Ministry to solve their problems within 10 days

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Joint Council of Professions Supplementary to Medicine (JCPSM) launched a 24-hour token strike yesterday (26) at 7 am at all hospitals in the Western Province. It consists of 16 unions.

The JCPSM has urged the government to address its members’s grievances including salary anomalies and issues related promotions. The strike had crippled hospitals in the province, Health Ministry sources said.

The JCPSM said emergency care, essential services and the treatment of COVID patients had not been affected by the strike.

President of the Government Nurses’ Association and former UNP National List MP Saman Rathnapriya said they had been urging the government to solve their problems for the past two months.

The College of Medical Laboratory Science (CMLS) President, Ravi Kumudesh told The Island that they would end the token strike by 7 am today m(27) and thereafter give the government 10 days to address their demands.

“We will launch a continuous strike if the demands are not met within 10 days,” he said.

President of the Government Medical Officers’ Forum (GMOF) Dr. Rukshan Bellana said that most unions seemed to have lost the ability to solve disputes through negotiations.

“The unions have become too politicised, and the people are suffering as a result.”

Continue Reading