Canadian Conservative Party calls for increased participation in peace process

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 January 2006, 08:12 GMT]
The Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) Thursday announced that it has prioritized Canada's role in the Sri Lankan Peace process. The CPC leaderhsip said the party also wanted to increase assistance spending to further build the conditions for a negotiated peace in Sri Lanka.

Canada’s role in the peace process, untill now, has been limited to support for the peace process and providing technical advice and expertise on federalism to both the parties involved in the peace process.

Canada's Conservative leader Stephen Harper
Canada's Conservative leader Stephen Harper
"The Conservative Party of Canada’s priority is to increase Canada’s diplomatic participation in the Norway peace process in Sri Lanka, backed by increased Canadian assistance spending to further build the conditions for a negotiated peace in Sri Lanka," the CPC statement said. "Canada has a long history as a peace broker and the Conservative Party believes Canada has a responsibility to further the goals of peace in Sri Lanka," the statement further said.

Criticizing the current Liberal government, the opposition Conservative party said in its statement, "Despite repeated Liberal promises that Canada would play a greater role in the peace process, Canada's approach has been minimal, leaving Canada's interests in peace on the margins. There has also been serious concern that Canadian aid for the tsunami disaster was not equitably distributed to those hardest hit in Sri Lanka."

"A Conservative government would increase Canada's humanitarian and development assistance spending in Sri Lanka and would ensure that it is equitably distributed to people in need through non-governmental organizations. This increased spending would be afforded from the Conservative Party platform commitment to increase Canada's overseas development assistance spending by $450 million over the next five years above the currently planned levels by the Liberal Party," the statement added.

Addressing the Canadian Tamils in an all-party debate in Toronto on Tuesday, Ms. Browes, a prominent conservative candidate said, "If we are honoured with your support to form the government, I can assure you that our response to the peace process as it relates to Sri Lanka will be much different than the inaction of the present Liberal government."

In September 2004, the Tamil community in Canada held a massive “Pongu Tamil” rally calling on Canada to play a greater role in the peace process. One of the declarations called on the Canadian government to bolster the fragile peace process by offering Canada as a venue to host a round of peace talks.

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