Harper urged to locate Canadian Embassy branch in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 July 2007, 05:04 GMT]
Citing difficulties faced by relatives of Tamil constituents of Pickering- Scarborough East in accessing Canadian Embassy located in Colombo, Mr. Dan McTeague, Canadian parliamentarian, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Harper, urged him to consider locating an Canadian Embassy branch in Jaffna. The MP also pointed out to the Prime Minister that Colombo is engaged in "ethnic cleansing," and continues to "marginalize the Tamil population."
Full text of the letter follows:
June 27, 2007
Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Langevin Block, 80 Wellington Street
Ottawa , Canada K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister Harper:
I am writing to you concerning the plight of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka.It is clear to many observers of the region that the situation in Sri Lanka has become untenable as the Sri Lankan government continues to marginalize the Tamil population.
One of the methods the government employs to denigrate the Tamils has been to resort to what can only be described as a novel approach to ethnic cleansing. It appears the government has instituted a program designed to bring about the removal of Tamils from the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo.
Several Canadians of Tamil origin in my constituency have indicated to me that their loved ones have encountered considerable difficulties in accessing the services of the Canadian embassy in Colombo. Moreover, ongoing immigration applications and even the simple the act of acquiring information from the embassy has been impeded by this targeted policy of removing Tamils from the capital area.
Mr. Prime Minister, the world community can ignore the facts all they want but it will not change the realities. The peace in Sri Lanka resulting from the tsunami has long since dissipated.
There have been countless reports of extra-judicial killings and government-sponsored activities designed to subjugate, or eliminate entirely, the Tamil presence in Sri Lanka – a fact that seems to have been lost entirely by our immigration section in Colombo who continue to delay approving legitimate humanitarian and compassion applications.
Quite frankly, I am appalled Mr. Prime Minister, that the Government of Canada does not even seem to be taking seriously the reports on the situation in Sri Lanka that it receives from our own political officials at our embassy.
I am also very troubled that while every consideration was given by your government, as well as when your party was in opposition, to labeling certain Tamil groups as terrorists, the same condemnation and attentiveness by Canada to the actions of the Sri Lankan government towards the Tamils has been severely lacking.
Prime Minister, to facilitate access by Tamils to Canadian representation in Sri Lanka, I hereby request your assistance in the opening of a Canadian consulate in the city of Jaffna that is capable of providing immigration services.
Moreover, I also request that the Government of Canada be a little more focused and pro-active in recognizing what is going on in Sri Lanka and that it speak out more clearly against the violence and discrimination that the Sri Lankan government is placing on the Tamil people.
I look forward to your reply at your earliest opportunity.
Hon. Dan McTeague, P.C, M.P.
Hon. Peter MacKay, P.C, M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
Hon. Diane Finley, P.C., M.P .
Minister of Citizenship and Immigration