A Letter to Conservative MP Roxanne James by Dr. Asoka Perera – Canadian Sri Lankan
Posted on December 5th, 2013

Dr. Asoka Perera,  Brampton Ontario Canada

Roxanne James, Conservative MP for Scarborough Centre, Ontario
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety & Emergency Preparedness House of Commons, Ottawa
 
Dear MP Roxanne James:
 
Let me give you a brief introduction about myself before I open my pen. I hail from beautiful island of Sri Lanka and currently residing in Brampton at the above address. I am a Canadian Citizen, work as an environmental consultant and therefore believe the fact that I have a moral right to forward my output over the comments you have highlighted in your letter to the voters of your riding. 
Your letter dated November 21, 2013 regarding the Canada’s Prime Minister’s decision to boycott the Commonwealth Heads of Governments Meeting held in Sri Lanka in November 2013 captured my attention over certain comments. 

To begin with the reply, I would like to draw your attention to the following statement you made in your email letter. “I can assure you that Canada is deeply concerned about the situation in Sri Lanka and has been monitoring and urging them to improve the situation and prevent violation against the Tamil people. The absence of accountability for the serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian standards in Sri Lanka during and after the civil war is unacceptable”. 
 
This statement shows your poor knowledge and understanding about the current situation in Sri Lanka. As we are aware of the fact that there is no clear cut definition for civil war and therefore I would like to take the widely used word in Oxford Advance Learning Dictionary which defines civil war as “a war between groups of people in the same country”. There are few ethnicities living in Sri Lanka that comprised of majority about 80% Sinhalese, 12% Tamils and rest Muslims and other minorities. The war that took place between Tamil Tigers and Sri Lankan government forces in any means cannot be recognized as a civil war by this definition. During 30 years of separatist terrorist war, majority of Tamil community lived and still living in south of Sri Lankan in Sinhala dominated western province mainly concentrated in Capital Colombo and suburbs. There was no war between Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in Sri Lanka. It was purely between LTTE separatist terrorists and government forces who try to dismantle the LTTE terrorist war machinery to bring the peace to the island nation. 
 
It is good to know that Canada is deeply concerned about the violations against the Tamil people. My humble request for you is to list those violations against Tamil people that Canada is deeply concerned so that we can initiate a meaningful dialogue with you to rectify the situation. Sri Lanka ended the blood bath in May 2009. Since then, Sri Lankan government has initiated very comprehensive, realistic and holistic approach to restore the long lasting peace in Sri Lanka. Lesson Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) made very important and significant recommendations based on the principles of restorative justice to address the issues during the war period. This process is now effectively going on in Sri Lanka.
 
If you can recall the memory, it was Sinhala community living in the boarders of eastern Tamil villages who approached Tamil people, once the Tsunami hit the eastern coast in 2004 and devastated the coastal belt, ignoring the atrocities LTTE committed against boarder villages of Sinhalese. It would be better to mention you that our 2500 years of historical culture and civilization have brought out nation up in the doctrines of love, kindness and compassion. Our ancient society did not have any room for hatred within human. Our communities have co-existed in Sri Lanka in harmony until British took over the island in 18th century and destroyed all our rich cultural and social values.  
As soon as the war ended in May 2009, it was all Sinhalese who organized train and truck loads of food, water, medicine and necessary commodities to war ravaged Tamil people. Sri Lanka initiated two main development programs called Negenahira Udanaya “East Reawakening” and Uthuru Wasanthaya “Nothern Spring” to help build the war ravaged north and east. Infrastructural development including highway systems, water and electricity supply projects and telecommunication facilities initiated without delay. It took long years to clear the mine fields to make room for resettlement and this process is still being taken place. Resettlement plans are being progressively implemented. Peace prevails now from south to north and east to west. What else you are expecting from a country which is trying to stand up from scratches after thirty years of separatist war that paralyzed the entire life style of this beautiful nation. It sounds to readers that you and Canada expect Sri Lanka to stop these development and humanitarian activities and move to Hague to sit on the electrical chair.  
 
To justify your claims to your riding voters, you have quoted Canada’s Prime Minister’s explanation as to why he would not attend CHOGM in Colombo. “It is clear that the Sri Lankan Government has failed to uphold the commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians. As such, as the Prime Minister Canada, I will not attend the 2013 CHOGM in Colombo, Sri Lanka. This is decision that I do not take lightly”. Commonwealth core values as described in commonwealth website consist of 16 parameters (Source : http://thecommonwealth.org/our-charter). 
 
Reaffirming the core values and principles of the Commonwealth as declared by this Charter:
1. Democracy
2. Human rights
3. International peace and security
4. Tolerance, respect and understanding
5. Freedom of Expression
6. Separation of Powers
7. Rule of Law
8. Good Governance
9. Sustainable Development
10. Protecting the Environment
11. Access to Health, Education, Food and Shelter
12. Gender Equality
13. Importance of Young People in the Commonwealth
14. Recognition of the Needs of Small States
15. Recognition of the Needs of Vulnerable States
16. The Role of Civil Society
 
Out of these 16 core values, Canada is concerned about the human rights and rule of law in Sri Lanka. It is very understood that Sri Lanka is just trying to emerge as new state of nation building after the 30 years of devastating terrorist war. 
Vise versa, Canada is a developed country and preach Sri Lanka to promote and respect for human rights and rule of law. Now, look at the Canadian human right status at UN.
 
Canada is currently undergoing Universal Periodic Review at UN regarding the alleged human rights violations against Aboriginals or first nations.  Member states of UN human rights council Cuba, Norway, New Zealand and Iran are pointing fingers at Canada for not implementing the 162 recommendations given by UN to rectify the situation. While rejecting the charges, Canada’s representative to UN Elissa Golberg claims that Canada can clean its own back yard using its rule of law. It would have been better if Canada stand behind the Sri Lanka at UN saying that Sri Lanka can clean its own backyard without others help as well.
 
Canada’s human rights violations loudly speak the disappearance of Aboriginal women and girls from Vancouver and suburbs in British Colombia. It is widely speculated that disappearance of females in Aboriginal or first nation communities are linked with a systematic program to eliminate them from the territories. As we all know that females are center blocks of reproduction of communities.  Environmental and Aboriginal activists are demanding international probe to scrutinize the oil sand development in Calgary that claims to have intoxicated the fish communities in down streams where fishing is the main source of food in first nations there. 
 
Sources: 
http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/09/25/325969/canada-criticized-for-un-rights-concerns/
http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/09/19/cuba-iran-criticize-canadas-human-rights-record-as-un-panel-calls-for-review-of-violence-on-aboriginal-women/
http://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/30/canada-safety-indigenous-women-under-un-scrutiny
http://www.hrw.org/americas/canadahttp://www.hrw.org/news/2013/04/30/canada-safety-indigenous-women-under-un-scrutiny
Sri Lanka was badly criticized by these western countries and Diaspora during the war claiming that Sri Lanka is engaged in genocide of ethnic Tamil community. This claim became a meaningless Mantra after the war ended in 2009 and initiation of reconciliation soon after. Now same group of people and countries are chanting another Mantra against Sri Lanka saying the islanders are committing crimes against humanity. Moving forward, they want Sri Lanka on trial for alleged war crimes in the final phase of the war. Canada too represents this group ignoring and hiding its own human right issues.  
 
Canada set a very weak precedence in boycotting 2013 CHOGM in Sri Lanka ignoring the common principles of commonwealth nations. Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting was a multi-lateral nation forum where all member nations unanimously agreed the venue of the meeting at the conclusion of last meeting. By boycotting the CHOGM 2013, Canada has grossly violated this mutual agreement and acted very partially on the principles of irrelevant bilateral issues.  
 
Ms James, I have tons of facts to straight in front of you. It sounds that you are trying to take a political millage from Tamil voters residing in your constituent. I have no objections for this, but my humble request for you is not to drag this Sri Lankan issue into your electoral campaigns. The Diaspora living in your riding is Canadian like me and we cast our vote in the next election based on political situation at the time. My family has been regular voters of conservative party for past few occasions, but I would re-assess the relevance of my vote when it greatly matters during the next election process.
 
I would like to get your feed back to my response. If you need any clarification or dialogue, I would love to represent with few of our community members to make you better understand regarding Sri Lankan current situation.
 
Thank you
Sincerely
Asoka Perera, PhD  

3 Responses to “A Letter to Conservative MP Roxanne James by Dr. Asoka Perera – Canadian Sri Lankan”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    DR. ASOKA !!

    As long as Tamil have millions in the LTTE Treasury, to bribe and buy over top politicians, and top officials in all Goverments, nothing is going to change. Their mouths open with loud pronouncements against Sri Lanka, when they see the Dollar Notes. Denigrating Sri Lanka by these people will never stop.

  2. Sooriarachi Says:

    Good on you Dr Asoka Perera for asking MP Raxane James to list out at least some of the discrimination they are so concerned about. In fact I am yet to see a list from anybody who supports Tamil agitations.
    As for your article, it is excellent but had one error. The Sinhala civilisation is not 2500 years old but far greater by several times 2500. This 2500 refers only to the continuous written history the Sinhalese have. This documented history is used as a reference when studying the history of the entire South Asian region, in the absence of any other continuous record for that length of time.

  3. TorontoCentral Says:

    Well written letter Dr. Asoka, hats off to you and your organization.

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