Dear High Commissioner David McKinnon: Re: Your Canada Day Message to Sri Lanka.
Posted on July 9th, 2020

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr) Kings Grove Crescent . Gloucester . Ontario . K1J 6G1 . Canada.

7 July 2020
Your Excellency David McKinnon
High Commissioner for Canada in Sri Lanka
33A, 5th Lane
Colpetty
Colombo 3
Sri Lanka

Dear High Commissioner David McKinnon: Re: Your Canada Day Message to Sri Lanka.

We must stand together and embrace our diversity as strength.” And you continued and said, Canada would continue to support the reconciliation process through their long-standing collaboration on national languages and by assisting with demining work,”

High Commissioner, did you not hear a chorus of Sinhlese voices responding to you saying Oya okkoma boru..boru.”  With your smattering of the Sinhalese language, I suppose you were able to translate what they said.  If you didn’t, well this is what they said, All what he said was lies..lies.”  And do you know what High Commissioner McKinnon, I agree with those Sinhalese voices 100 per cent.  What you said was a load of Diplomatic disingenuous goody-two shoes, poppycock.  But since your bellywyck is Trade, I will excuse you for your partial ignorance about Canada’s acceptance of foreigners who are non-white as equals.

Here is a splendid opportunity for you to understand without prejudice, the ingrained white policy” in employment in Canada…”to embrace our diversity as strength.”  Nonsense!   You cannot embrace an inequitable population of Asian-browns and african/west indian blacks among the Canadian-whites and tell me that is where our Strength is. 

 Ummmm….Dream on High Commissioner McKinnon.

Diversity,  of a  Canadian Doctor qualified in Canada could practise  medicine with no problem anywhere in Canada , but a Doctor qualified in Sri Lanka will be changing  bed-pans in a Senior’s Home.  Such diversity has no strength, except for disappointment, and losing one’s dignity.  And some ‘Brown’ and ‘Black’ PhDs would be taxi drivers or Security Guards.  I have met them all, That should be an exercise of a  realty check for you, and you will be amazed!.

And here are the reasons :

  1. Story No, 1.  High Commissioner, you’re wanting to embrace diversity has strength., has little currency when Canada operates a discriminatory white policy where employment is concerned.  This has gone on for donkey’s years.   Here is the Litmus test that yours-truly, this brown-man, had experienced 49 years ago at the end of March in 1971.

The  Victoria Memorial Museum in Ottawa was closed in 1969, promising the public that it will be opened with brand new exhibition Halls in a year,  They didn’t have a clue what they were talking about as they knew nothing about Museum exhibition design.

The National Museums Corporation of Canada created a Design and Display Division, to research, interpret the Natural and Human Sciences and write storylines, design and construct 15 brand new Halls for the National Museum of Natural Sciences and the National Museum of Man.  This Division was housed at 39, McArthur Road in Vanier. 

This new Division had no difficulty to fill the positions of Chief (Tom Wood -War artist), Head of Design (Jacques Saint Cyr, The designer of the Maple leaf in the Canadian flag), and Head of Administration – Retd, Army Major Charles Jessop).  But they had difficulty to fill the position of Head of Thematic Research, with liberal research- a scientist who would understand design in Canada). So they went Headhunting and found ‘yours-truly’,  Asoka Weerasinghe, a research scientist (Geology/Palaeontology), an award-winning published poet, an award-winning artist and a sculptor in England, a musician/composer on the piano.

So they invited me to come over to join the Museums Design and Display team on 2 June 1970.   I accepted the offer and left a very good paying job as a Geologist at an engineering firm, Marples Ridgway in London.

After my Canadian immigration clearance in London I arrived in Ottawa on the 16th October and started working on 1 November., 1970, At the end of March, 1971,  Tom Wood,  Jacques Saint-Cyr, Charlie Jessop and I, Asoka Weerasinghe, received letters from the Public Service Commision requesting us to come to their offices on Albert Street, to sign the papers of permanency on 1st April.  All four of us were quite pleased.

         On Wednesday, 31 March, 1971,  morning,  the phone rang at the  office, and a person from the Public Service Commission tell’s me, Mr. Weerasinghe, please ignore the letter that we sent you to come over tomorrow to sign the papers of permanency.  It was sent to you in error.”

Is this some kind of an April Fools joke. Are the other three coming over to sign the papers”, I asked.

Yes, Mr. Weerasinghe, but we have decided to open the competition for your job across Canada.” I was smarting by then.

Let’s cut out that ‘bull-shit, I said.   You guys couldn’t find anyone to fill that position, and you found me in London, England, and invited me.  I left an excellent job in London as a Geologist and here I am, and you tell me this.

If I had known that there was a White policy” in employment in Canada which Says –

If you are White, you are alright
but if you are Black stay back,
and if you are Brown stick around,

Yes, my skin colour is a beautiful shade of an Azetic-Bronze- Brown, but I won’t stick around.  And I give you until noon on Monday, to make up your mind whether you want My services or not.  If you don’t want me, I will be on the first plane back to London, England, where I came from.  Let me tell you one thing.  It was not the country Canada that made me decide to come over,  it was the creative job in the National Museums, to interpret Sciences to the public through exhibits, an opportunity that I wouldn’t have missed.  A dream that I had since I was a child in Sri Lanka, to work in a Museum.”

          Well, High Commissioner McKinnon, the National Museums  Corporation was bothered and was in an upheaval. And the issue went up to the  Corporation ‘s  Museums Directors and finally to the Deputy Minister for National Museums, Mr MacKenzie.

          On Monday, 5 April, 1971, morning the phone rang at the office.  It  was  a  staffer from the Public Service Commission, who said, Mr. Weerasinghe, we are sorry for the confusion, please  come to our offices to sign the papers.,”

          Thank you.  It was an excellent decision, as it is a Win-win situation, for me as I know I would love working at the Museums  creating 15 brand new Halls, and the Victoria Memorial Museum gains an excellent creative research-Scientist.   But please don’t tell me that there was a confusion”  about my appointment.  Rubbish! as you all knew exactly what it  was all about.  As it was all about the  beautiful  brown colour of my skin, which I am very proud of. 

          And there is one thing that you can be sure of.  It is that no  white-Canadianis going to take my dignity away because I am Brown-skinned, a member of the visible minority population.

           High Commissioner McKinnon, if you ask me the question,  Asoka after 50 years in Canada, do you think that things have changed for the better to erase your ‘Second Class citizen” attitude  in Canada, my answer is an  emphatic No”.

           And I am still waiting after 50 years in Canada for your  Manthra to happen – We must stand together and embrace  our diversity as strength.”  The time has arrived for you to go and preach it to your, hypocritical, bigot-White-Canadians, High Commissioner  McKinnon.

  • Story No. 2: If the 1971s Canadian employment policy of
     If you are White you are alright,
    But if you are Black stay back;
     If you are Brown stick around”, had improved, my lead letter to The Ottawa Citizen, on Page B5, on Saturday, August 24, 2002, would not have picked-up ink, with a 5” x 71/2” photo of mine.

Minorities in the Public Service – Let us be visible from top down Re: 1 in 5 PS recruits to be visible minority, Aug. 19.

I have waited 34 years to read a headline like this one. And I am glad of the news.  It has been a long wait.  I believe in the honesty of Privy Council Clerk Alex Himelfarb and that he is the person who will get the job done.  It certainly makes sense to hold back the performance pay and bonuses of deputy ministers and senior executives of federal departments if they will not achieve  these targets,

     Not that there is  a lack of bright, clever,  intelligent, diligent, qualified visible minority candidates waiting to enter the public service,  There are oodles of second-generation visible minority youngsters graduating from universities who can be eligible for such appointments.  And, of course, their parents, with university degrees, with years of work experience, and the cream of the crop in their professions in their home countries, can be picked like potatoes from the taxi, security, cleaning and retail industries.

     However, I hope that such recruitment will not be an exercise to cluster the new visible minority recruits at the bottom of the public-service employment scales to make up the numbers, but that they would be spread right along the ladder up to senior executive levels,

     Although I cringe and have some difficulty accepting there will be two lists for recruitment one for whites”, and another for non-white”’ – unquestionably an aparthied system – I don’t care at this point anymore, as long as the federal government, which has encouraged these visible minorities to immigrate to Canada in the first place, gives back their dignity.
Asoka Weerasinghe, Gloucester

Say what you may, High Commissioner David McKinnon, your intentions may be genuine and sincere, to say to Sri Lankans in your Canada Day message that We must stand together and embrace our diversity as strength.”  I don’t see how you could when the Canadian racist  ‘white’ bigots will not allow the Brown and Black visible minorities stand shoulder to shoulder with the Canadian-whites, that exercise will  not be possible.  Embrace” you said.  Let’s not be naive.

  •  Story No. 3.   High Commissioner McKinnon, you may have wondered why the big fuss to employ a Liberal Research- Scientist to Head the Thematic Research Section of the Design and Display Division of the National Museum Corporation, and the Public Service Commission had difficulty to accept this Brown Asian scientist who was also an award winning published poet from London, England.  And this is why.

One late autumn of 1971, Dr. William Taylor, the Director of the National Museum of Man called me into his office and told me, Asoka we are in trouble with the storyline for the Orientation Hall because the Ethnologist and the North-West Archaeologist cannot agree.

You are an anthropologist, a geologist and palaeontologist and  also and also an archeologist and poet, why don’t you hide yourself for two days at home and come up with a long poem to see whether we could break this negative spell.”

So this brown Asian-poet did as asked by Dr. Bill Taylor.   The long Poem – The Trail of Mankind was accepted as the storyline for the Orientation Hall without an addition, editing or substraction.

High Commissioner, you may recall this Hall which was on the right when you entered the Victoria Memorial Museum with a human skeleton at the entrance with a crown on its head, and the long poem was piped softly from the recesses of the ceiling and also on panels.  So this coloured brown Asian scientist-poet won the day for the National Museum of Man.  So that was all the fuss about hiring me, a coloured.  And I was not willing to let any White- Canadian take away my dignity as I am a proud coloured-Asian, proud of the colour of his skin.

4, Story No. 4.  High Commissioner David McKinnon, here is the text book example  of  proof  positive that yours and my 1975 Canada was well into practising ‘apartheid’, not allowing a Brown-coloured person to be appointed to a higher position in a Federal government Department, or a Black applicant for that matter.. .Your truly, Asoka Weerasinghe, is a brown-coloured Sri Lankan who was employed by National Museums Corporation as the Head,’

Thematic Research Section of the Design and Display Division in Ottawa.  They found me in London, England, and thought that I would fit in the position perfectly.  And I  came to Ottawa on an invitation by Canada’s National Museums Corporation.  Started working on 1 November 1970.

The first two floors of the Victoria Memorial Museum with eight brand new Halls was officially opened by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, on October 4, 1974.   I was assigned to  guide Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau and his wife Margaet Trudeau through the Halls.

The International Museum reviews said they were excellent.

I continued working on the brand new exhibition Halls on the 3rd and 4th floors  interpreting Canada’s Natural and Human Sciences.

I created, for Canada, exhibits of  World Class- Excellence, within the walls of the Victoria Memorial Museum on Argyle Street.

Then, the summer of June 1975 came around and there was a meeting called at the Museum of Natural Science, Interpretation Division, and chaired by the Chief of Interpretation (Al.H).  All who attended were white” Interpreters trying to create new exhibits,  After the meeting was over, the Mammologist who attended the meeting, made a beeline to my office and said ‘Watch out Asoka, they are coming at you with their daggers drawn!”.  

What really happened”, I asked.  Al, told us that,we cannot knock

Asoka’s work, but we cannot let a coloured guy tell us what to do.”  High Commissioner, if this comment is not one of raw classic ‘Apartheid’, then what is it.?” 

High Commissioner David McKinnon, this white-Canadian got my goat as no White-Canadian will try to undermine my dignity since my skin colour was that of a beautiful shade of an Azetec-bronze.   

Follow this conversation that I had with Al.H.     

Al, what’s this announcement that you made at  the meeting about exhibits, telling the interpreters to not to corporate with me, the

Head of Thematic Research Section of the Design and Display Division, by saying, ‘We cannot knock Asoka’s work, but cannot let a coloured guy tell us what to do’. 

 You  disappoint me Al.  Since we may have to work together for at least another five years, that observation of my colour should not have been brought into our work.  Especially, with my 20 white-staff minus one, the Botanist,  Dr. Fazal Mohammad, a Bangladeshi,  working on the Botany Hall.

Do you know what Al,  I am quite aware that you white-guys have difficulty to accept that I, the brown-Asian, in the Museums campus in Ottawa,  was identified by the Deputy Minister Mckenzie, to lead the Musuomobile Programme, and informed by memo to all the Directors of Museums of the Corporation.

This is going to hurt you Al, as my observation about you and of your colour is most acceptable by me – that my Brown colour is on the crown of your Head, and your White is on the sole of my feet.  

But that’s OK!   I have no reason to point it out to anyone.

So lets not be stupid about all this, and you better come down from your high-horse.  I know you seem stunned by my observation and seem that I have choked you.  And now you know where I am coming from.

Let’s shake hands, forget about all this.  I have no intention to declare war on you, and I hope you will sanitize yourself with your Apartheid’ notions about coloureds, specially me, as I won’t

take it that kindly.  Lets have some harmony at our workplace.  Al, now that you know where I am coming from, and the contributions of Excellence” that I have contributed to these exhibition Halls , let’s enjoy our Interpretive-creations and be proud of ourselves.  Yes, I’m a coloured, a Brown, and so are you a coloured, an egg-shell White,  and as a poet I could conjure the images of two beautiful people. Brown and an egg-shell White/ a halo of a heavenly delight…”

Let’s shake hands Al. Come on, let’s not be stupid. We both have

great jobs to do, and let’s enjoy it.  I have no hard feelings anymore.  Trust me.”

High Commissioner McKinnon,we were cautious from then on and

not trample each other’s toes, and we were extremely civil.

High Commissioner McKinnon, back to your comment in your Canada Day message to Sri Lankans, We must stand together and embrace our diversity as strength” is a charm for a Happy Canada. Since Canada is peppered with white- racist bigots, you will have to drum your manthra into their thick-skulls to succeed.  I don’t think it would happen in my lifetime, but I pray that it happens during your lifetime, and for you to be proud of being a citizen of non-racist- Canada.

Sincerely,

Asoka Weerasinghe (Mr)

3 Responses to “Dear High Commissioner David McKinnon: Re: Your Canada Day Message to Sri Lanka.”

  1. Nihal Perera Says:

    Well-said Asoka!

    HC McKinnon is a typical Canadian (Western in general) hypocrite who loves to preach BS to the developing countries like Sri Lanka, what they don’t practice in his own country.

    Systematic discrimination is a fact of life in all the Western countries. Canada is no exemption. One has only to look at Canadian history how White Canada discriminated against its own indigenous people for generations. And still do.

    Canada has no right to preach to Sri Lanka about reconciliation, diversity, HRs and inclusiveness of minorities, while it has been systematically discriminatingly against a segment of its own population for centuries.

    This is hypocrisy at its best. Shame on you Mr. McKinnon!

  2. Nimal Says:

    QAsoka
    Very sorry to hear about your plight in Canada,perhaps AL is not inspired by you or have the confidence in you to be a team leader.
    I grew up with burghers,whites and with 3 Iranian families in SL and that gave me confidence the fight the bigotry and other difficulties and I found that the people that hated me began to accept me that led me to me their section leader, only just 4 months in the country in 60s where racism was rampant. Sadly I had to leave that job to join the university. To get a night job I targeted one hotel in Victoria where the owners kept rejecting me but I never gave up, dressed up nicely kept coming to the same family run hotel every Sunday and they were impressed with my determination and gave me a chance and my most valuable accommodation came with the job.First they were vey cold and business like and accidently told them that I came from a beautiful country, with a big house and servants etc.He reacted hard by asking me to go back to my country of birth, if it is that good.That was one of my first lessons in the country of the former colonials. But I impressed on them daily in a humble way, worked 23 years without a night off except for the week I had my collage exams. After my graduation I was given a job as an engineer of a well known telecommunication company,did both jobs.The hotel owners were so impressed they treated me as their son,where iI was sleeping on the couch on a very cold day and the two owners knelt besides me and put a blanket.After working continuously for 18 years they were silently showed their sadness for me having and going out with many sudu girls because they thought that they could give the hand of their only daughter and own the whole hotel that is worth over 100 million though she was one of my dancing partners, didn’t like herb as she was a bit lazy and her mum was fat and my formula for finding the partner for ever is to marry a girl who will be slim for ever, but since her mother was fat I had to say no.We are still friends and she ill and bed ridden. I am glad I am married to a Japanese who is still look young and slim.
    Coming back to your subject above one must honestly admit that the Western world much above our nations in the third world,the reason why we are living here.
    We are being given opportunities to do better for our selves and the average person is reasonable,the reason why my honest work here in UK had made me a rich man,though I sufferd some serious obstacles but on the whole they were very fair and gave me a chance to set up business and expand which I can’t do this in the country of my birth.
    I invested my hard earned money I made here in SL but I have to fight many obstacles which is corrupt in nature.
    Our government polices are deceitful in SL,one time my foreign born wife had a joint account now it is taken out and my foreign born son has no rights what so ever to own my investments worth a several billions.
    So it is right for the Canadian gentleman to point a finger at the country where rights of people are violated where some privileged people are more equal than the others. We are sadly going back to the precolonial days.
    I must also disagree with Canada for being a poodle of the present regime in White House where the Canadians are holding the daughter of the CEO of Hawaii.which is very wrong.
    I am glad that I have tree business in UK,in a very prime place in London and thanks to the decent system here that I was able to excel to such heights.Must go very bust to correct.
    By the way when I got married my English bosses invited over 100 foreign guests who were regulars to the hotel in the past at their expenses but the nasty workers was so jealous did not free me to go on my honeymoon and returned to work that night and when the guest asked me why I did not go for my honeymoon and told them that it was my twin brother who got married and the owners felt so much for me and I won the heat and minds of the staff I eventually managed in the telecom company I worked 38 years and they some to see me every 3 months all the way to this part of London just to have a meal and drinks. This world in not perfect but you must get on with it,surly Canada must be more attractive to the writer, for him to live there.I am attached to SL because Iam in Sympathy with the suffering people left behind,reasonI have invested heavily for their benefit.People likeCBK and MR is aware of this.

  3. Nihal Perera Says:

    Asoka,

    Ignore this colonial ass-kisser and Sudda worshiper who writes under the name of “Nimal”. I don’t think it’s even his real name. All I know is this guy is anti-SL and bullshits about his so-called achievements in defunct and bankrupted British empire, which is struggling after Brexit, and corona virus.

    This is not the first time he is trying to ridicule and laugh at people who try to defend motherland. He is a loser, and pay no attention to him.

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