25 June 2012
Ambassador Elissa Golberg
Canada’s Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva
5 Avenue de l’Aviana, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland.
Dear Ambassador Golberg:
I have just read your statement of June 18, 2012, on behalf of Canada to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. In your statement you said “….and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations…”
With that statement, you have failed us Canadians one more time when commenting on Sri Lanka, as did Foreign Minister John Baird when he performed his Song and Dance at the UN Security Council about Sri Lanka, and former Conservative Foreign Minister Lawrence Cannon who put out a pathetic Press Release after the Tamil Tigers, the most ruthless terrorist group in the world were militarily eliminated after a 27-year long blooding war, on 19 May 2009. He had difficulty to acknowledge the amazing feat when every other western country patted the back of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government saying , “Marvellous, well done, chaps, we got lots to learn from you guys how to get rid of terrorists single handed without requesting for even Canadian troops to come and help you all as is being done in Afghanistan!” So the Canadian’s negative policy on Sri Lanka keeps marching on unabated.
As a Sri Lankan-Canadian here is the problem that I am grappling with. All you Canadian Sri Lanka watching politicians and Foreign Affairs Sri Lanka watching bureaucrats obviously do not believe in the Cosmic Law of ‘Cause and Effect’ like I do. Perhaps, this is a deliberate effort in case you all paint yourselves into the corner as a bunch of hypocrites.
The “Effect” that you are complaining about is, “….ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violations”. Right, Ambassador Golberg? Are you not interested to find out the “Cause” of all this and go after the culprits who kept the Tamil Tigers life-line alive providing them with oxygen? Well, I don’t think you are going to challenge me when I say that one of the culprits was none other than, yours and my Canada. Here’s the reason why Canada should hang its head low in shame and not white-wash ourselves and say, “Sri Lanka, we Canadians are Holier than Thou.”
For 13 long Liberal years under the helm of Prime Ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, Canada let the Canadian Tamil Tiger sympathizers collect, mainly by extortion, 2 million dollars a month to stuff the Tamil Tiger war-chest to buy a sophisticated armoury of guns, bullets, land mines, claymore mines, et cetera to go on killing innocent Sri Lankan civilians in scores of hundreds, and taking away their ‘right-to-life’ which had been hijacked for 27 years by Tamil Tigers. And you with a straight ‘We are Holier thou” face, complained to the UNHRC demanding Sri Lanka’s accountability for getting rid single handed of these Tamil Tigers, the most ruthless terrorists in the world. That is a bit pretentious, onerous, vulgar, and disingenuous, isn’t it, Ambassador Golberg? You experienced what terrorism was all about having watched the Talibans in Kandahar going about with their Tamil Tiger copy-cat killings that also killed our Canadian soldiers.
Aren’t we Canadians a bunch hypocrites, when on May 6, 2000, Liberal Finance Minister, Paul Martin, and his cabinet colleague, Minister responsible for CIDA, Maria Minna and several Liberal MPs, supported the fund raising event for the Tamil Tigers by attending a $60-a plate dinner in Toronto. And you complain about “Sri Lanka’s accountability”. Ha! What rubbish, and your comment is not worth two prairie straws swaying in the wind in the more sky than land country.
Perhaps, Canada can be a bit more honest and accept being accountable for the deaths of 114 people and for the 1,338 others who were maimed for life being victims when the Tamil Tigers brought down the Central Bank Building in the Fort, Colombo, on 31 January 1996. Ambassador Golberg, you can claim your right to ask me, “Why should Canada admit to be accountable for those deaths and injured?”
Here’s why, Ambassador Golberg. It was in 1994 that Canada allowed a Tamil Tiger sympathizer to cut a cheque from his account in a bank in Vancouver for $7.5 million to buy 50 tonnes of RDX and plastic explosives from a Chemical Factory in the Ukraine. These were the explosives that were used in the truck bomb that brought down the Central Bank Building in Colombo, on January 31, 1996. And it were the same explosive material that were used to bomb the entrance to the Temple of the Buddha’s Tooth Relic in Kandy on 25 January 1998, killing 12 and seriously injuring 13 others. You better believe it, whether you and I like it or not, we both have Sinhala and Muslim blood on our palms together with 34 million other Canadians. And my Conservative Government had the gall and temerity to get you to make a statement saying, “…and countries like Sri Lanka have yet to ensure full accountability in addressing serious human rights violation.” That is being bombastic, cruel, and having a colonial attitude saying that “we are the masters of your destiny, Sri Lanka”. That shows our hypocrisy to its 10th degree.
And you slapped the wrist of the UN Human Rights Council Commissioner for “her reference in her report to the situation in Quebec.” You said, “The Government of Quebec has pursued mediation efforts with student representatives. Demonstrations continue to occur – daily. Freedom of assembly is alive and well in Quebec. The law adopted in Quebec frames the exercise of these freedoms by preserving peace, order and public safety.”
Hmmm…I am not sure of that! I think the reference to Canada and human rights violation in the context of the Quebec students, was as according to the students spokesperson Leo Bureau-Blouin, Bill 78 is the biggest set back to the students fundamental rights. The students marched down Montreal streets and knocking on cauldrons along the sidewalks in defence of Free Speech. It is important to note that the Quebec bar association, many legal experts, unions, opinion leaders and even anti-corruption hero Judge John Gomery, severely criticized Bill 78 for its restrictive laws that impedes on human rights. So which ever way you try to slice the pie and white-wash Canada, the issue of the freedoms of fundamental rights sticks out like a sore thumb. If Sri Lanka had tried this stunt and curb the University student’s freedom of speech, you bet, Canada would have been one of the first countries who would have pounced on Sri Lanka as human rights violators and advocating that “Canada is Holier than Thou”.
While the worst student protests in Canadian history took place at Concordia University in Montreal in 1969, when hundreds of students protested against a professor who consistently gave lower marks to black students. They destroyed the computer lab, set fire to the building, rioted in the streets and caused more than $2 million in damage. That the curbs by the Quebec Government on the ongoing protest by the students in Montreal that the UNHRC Commissioner has pointed out as a human rights violation, you bet, will very likely earn a page in Canadian history too like the Concordia incident!
Since Sri Lanka is on it way to recovery, rehabilitation and reconciliation having been haemorrhaged for 27 bloody years by a Tamil terrorist war that was aided and abetted by Canada, it is time that Canada jump off Sri Lanka’s back and stop playing the monkey, in the game of “We are Holier than Thou”, because however much we try to pretend, we are just not as bunch of bright eyed goody two-shoes.
Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr.)