Complacency is the enemy of study. We cannot really learn anything until we rid ourselves of complacency. -Mao Tse Tung Quotations 1893-1976
It was recently reported in the media that the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird had said that the Commonwealth was failing its greatest test by letting Sri Lanka host the November summit, instead of pressuring it to improve its post-civil war record and protect its Tamil minority.“We’re tremendously concerned about the deteriorating and authoritative trend of the government in Sri Lanka,” Baird told a parliamentary committee. The federal government has suggested Canada may not attend the summit. Baird’s spokesman, Rick Roth, stated that: “Our government has spoken loudly and clearly on the issue of human rights in Sri Lanka, including our concerns on the lack of accountability for the serious allegations of war crimes, lack of reconciliation with the Tamil community, and with the events that have taken place since the end of the civil war.” (Source: Montreal Gazette)
It was also reported that in a statement, Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s high Commissioner to Canada, said it was “appalling and unprecedented for certain quarters to express views” opposing a decision by the Commonwealth Heads of State a few years ago about who would host the 2013 Commonwealth summit. The High Commissioner accused the Canadian government of strengthening “evil forces” through its threat to boycott an upcoming Commonwealth summit in Colombo. Sri Lanka needed support after facing “separatist terrorism for nearly three decades,” and ongoing post-conflict challenges. The High Commissioner also stated that “Notably certain separatist elements within the diaspora including in Canada, still continue to relentlessly disseminate anti-Sri Lanka propaganda and lobby political leaders and other decision makers.’ The High Commissioner further stated that: “Hostile criticism and unfair targeting of Sri Lanka by Canada only serves to further strengthen the evil forces working against Sri Lanka and does not contribute in any manner to the ongoing rebuilding and reconciliation process in the multicultural society of the country.” and added that Sri Lanka was looking to all members of the Commonwealth to “uphold principles of objectivity, understanding, mutual respect and the equality of sovereign states.”While the High Commissioner’s response is laudable whether making such a response alone is sufficient to counter the views of the present Canadian regime remains a question. Strong lobbying by the Sri Lankan government in a follow up effort is essential in the given scenario in Canada. More diplomatic efforts should be made to convince the Canadian Government that the false adverse propaganda disseminated by the diaspora media machinery regarding purported human rights abuses etc are baseless and have not been proven. It is also relevant to inquire from the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird about Canada’s stand on the human rights abuses taking place in Guantanamo Bay (as recently admitted by the US President Barak Obama),Abu Gharib and other prison camps run by the USA and the on going violations caused by the deadly drone attacks of the US on innocent civilians. These heinous on going human rights abuses are so great so as to make such abuses unable to be compared with the purported abuses alleged to have taken place during the civil war in Sri Lanka many years ago.
On 14th April 2006, it was reported in the World Socialist Web Site that Canada banned the LTTE under its Anti Terrorist Legislation. Thenceforth, anyone who knowingly provided financial support to the LTTE could be jailed for up to 10 years, while persons who fundraise or otherwise “facilitate” the work of the LTTE faced 14 years’ imprisonment. That the government intended to use these provisions to imprison and deport LTTE supporters was underscored by Public Security Minister Stockwell Day’s announcement that the government has established an anti-LTTE “snitch-line.” Day urged members of Canada’s large Sri Lankan Tamil exile/immigrant community to denounce LTTE activists to state authorities using a special, dedicated telephone line. In justifying the ban, Day claimed that LTTE activists have used threats of violence to coerce Canadian Tamils into making financial contributions. But such threats are already illegal under Canadian criminal law.
But since the decimation of the LTTE, the present Canadian Government has permitted Canada to be used as a base for the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) which is a purported government in exile among the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora which aims to keep alive the idea of Tamil Eelam, a state which TGTE aspires to create in the north and east provinces of Sri Lanka The Sri Lankan Government very correctly views this as a “ploy to perpetuate terrorism.” For its part, the TGTE has maintained that it is a democratic organization, and intends to use soft power and not military power to its end. The exact words found in TGTE constitution are: “Whereas the TGTE has guided us towards a democratic system of government, in order to establish an independent state of Tamil Eelam based on the principles of peace, non-violence, tolerance, pluralism, transparency and accountability”. Formed following the defeat of the LTTE and the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War, the TGTE is based internationally, including in Canada, the UK, Norway and the USA. Its Prime Minister is Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, the former international legal advisor to the LTTE. Global elections were amongst Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora communities in May 2010 to elect members to the first Transnational Constituent Assembly of Tamil Eelam, the first step towards the formation of the PTGTE]
It is time that the Government of Sri Lanka adopted a strong stand and lodged an official protest against Canada and other western nations for permitting terrorist organizations under the guise of democratic associations organizing and regrouping to pose a threat to the sovereignty of our Nation. The politicians in Canada and other western countries are lured by the franchise of the diaspora who fund the political campaigns of such politicians in order to assist such persons to secure office. Once in office such politicians facilitate the activities of such pro-LTTE organizations. Under International Law no country may assist terrorist organizations to de-stabilize sovereign nations. The stance adopted by the Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird in opposing the decision to hold the CHOGM in Colombo is a reflection of the extent to which such organizations are able to influence the decisions of the present regime in Canada.
In conclusion as quoted at the outset of this piece as that great Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung stated the Sri Lankan Government can not be complacent about organizations such as the TGTE increasing their influence on the western nations but it is advisable that meaningful steps are taken by our foreign service to counter such unwarranted interference by foreign nations under the influence of such organizations, in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.