Chris Alexander, MP for Ajax-Pickering, spoke in the House of Commons on Tamil Heritage Month
Mr. Speaker, over the past several weeks I had the great pleasure of attending several Thai Pongal celebrations, including in my home riding of Ajax—Pickering where the Durham Tamil Association and the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham did a great job showcasing the talents of many Canadians of Tamil heritage.
With Canada now home to the largest Tamil diaspora outside South Asia, I was proud that Tamil Heritage Month was officially launched throughout the GTA on January 9. This great initiative began in my home region of Durham with declarations by the City of Pickering, Town of Ajax, Town of Whitby, City of Oshawa and the cities of Toronto, Brampton and Markham soon afterward.
At Thai Pongal, Tamil Canadians give thanks for a bountiful harvest and abundant blessings. They leave the past behind and open themselves to the new. Unfortunately, for four long years since the end of a protracted conflict, the government of Sri Lanka has failed to live up to this spirit. There has been no serious reconciliation and no accountability for alleged war crimes and mass killings. Even basic rights continue to be denied to Sri Lankan Tamils. With the recent impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, the Sri Lankan government has shown a gross disregard for the rule of law.
I ask my colleagues to join me in wishing all Tamil Canadians a great Tamil Heritage Month and a happy Thai Pongal.