Sri Lanka High Commission in Canada is not doing much.
Posted on October 10th, 2011

From a Sri Lankan Student in CanadaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” Toronto, Ontario

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Stephen HarperƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Canadian government is aggressively campaigning to pressure Sri Lanka on human rights and political reconciliation. He warned that heƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ll boycott the 2013 Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka. From his speech at the UNGA, the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird has also made the campaign a priority.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In countries like Canada where the LTTE diasporasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ politics/propaganda is powerful enough to the extent of influencing the government as well as the opposition to act against Sri Lanka, it is the duty of the Sri Lankan government to appoint extraordinary diplomats who are highly effective, efficient, patriotic and capable of not only countering the LTTE diasporasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ politics/propaganda but also promote Sri Lanka by encouraging them (Canadians) to come and see our rich multi-cultural heritage and the warm Sri Lankan hospitality. Unfortunately the Sri Lankan High Commission does not seem to be capable of doing any of the above.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ There is a large number of patriotic Sri Lankans among the Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities living in Canada who can be mobilized to organize multi-cultural events in Canada to not only promote Sri Lanka but also to show the Canadians how united we are as a multi-ethnic nation. Such events should be initiated by the Sri Lankan High Commissioner and her staff.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ For example, there is a large network of young professionals, artists, academics and community-minded individuals among the Canadian Sri Lankans who have formed a group known as the Sri Lankans without borders. Surprisingly there are many young Tamils and Sinhalese in this group committed to promote inter-communal harmony and solidarity among Sri Lankans. These young Canadian Sri Lankan men and women have voluntarily involved in several community projects to bring the Tamil and Sinhalese communities together and also to promote Sri Lanka among the Canadians. These people do not need any funds from the Sri Lankan government; they only need some support and encouragement from the Sri Lankan High Commission. What has the Sri Lankan High Commission done to promote such people to organize cultural events in Canada?

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Another good example is the Universities in Canada. Almost all the Universities in Canada encourage and fund the students from different nationalities to form an Alliance/Association and organize cultural and other events to promote their countries (of origin).

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ In most of the leading Canadian Universities, there is also a Sri Lankan Student Alliance/Association that carries the Sri Lankan Lion flag and also a Tamil Students Association that carries a Tiger flag. The LTTE diaspora works very hard to make sure that every Tamil student who enters the Canadian University should join the Tamil Students Association. They also do everything possible to make the cultural event very colorful and attractive and their parents help with all kinds of Tamil cuisines displayed at the stall.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Very unfortunately, even though there are enough of Sri Lankan students from the Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim and Burgher communities in the Canadian Universities, only a very few volunteer to join the Sri Lankan Student Alliance/Associations. Even though they obtain funds from the Universities, unlike the Tamils, the executive committee of these Sri Lankan Student Alliance/Associations does not have enough support or encouragement from the Sri Lankan community in Canada and most of the Sri Lankan parents do not have that patriotic feelings and therefore are not so interested in motivating their children. The Sri Lankan High Commission is also capable of guiding and helping these students to put up a good cultural show to promote Sri Lanka in a much better way but unfortunately the High Commission is not at all interested in even knowing that there are such Sri Lankan students associations, because so far these Sri Lankan students associations have never received any kind of support or even a word of encouragement from the High Commission. Each year, these few Sri Lankan students try their best and organize the cultural show even without any appreciation.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ These are just a few examples where the Sri Lankan High Commission can do a lot to promote Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government should make sure that in countries like Canada where a lot of Sri Lankan propaganda is needed; there should be some highly effective, efficient, patriotic and capable staff in the High Commission.


7 Responses to “Sri Lanka High Commission in Canada is not doing much.”

  1. jayt Says:

    I am surprised even some one like you exists in Canada. Sinhalese in Canada have have some dark spots in their hearts which they brought to Canada from a class in lanka. there are many countries that have a hight class only by income and they are patriotic but some sinhalese class people believe they are high class by genes, that mean they were toght to believe they of brown English and look down on someone like me who carries true Sinhalese culture from the village.
    I understood that Sl communities need a global group with new ideas to en-power Sinhalese to meet the world and I was willing rally around many thousand good Canadian and go fund raising to help build a strong community which give birth to powerful global Sinhales business community but that dream was dead after my attempt to gather Sinhales in Canada is failed. Later I realised These sinhalese are the one who were bureaucrats of every govts in lanka and that’s why today Sinhalese are with empty hands and mute in front of the world.

  2. jayt Says:

    Sinhalese were motivated happy, proud and patriotic when Sl were ruled by lanka royals. but sinhalese slowly lost everything after this democracy was introduced which does not fit for Sinhalese. Since this politic system was introduced, it started with killing of politicians and this sadness continues. Whole South Asia is same.

  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    jayt: I am sorry to learn of the complaints you have. However, we have to realise that Sri Lankans from different social backgrounds have all suffered one way or another in the past 30 plus years over different internal wars in Sri Lanka, for whatever reason those wars were waged, oth by the JVP & the ltte. In my view, most of those who migrated to other countries just want to be left alone in peace, to have a job, educated their children etc. in reasonable good health. They do not want to get involved in politics and other problems from Sri Lanka. It is not that they do not care. It is just that the effort to mend society is just too much to handle. Also, the strong ltte rump presence there is not helpful.

    How can the Embassy there help ? I recall that the High Commission in UK in the 1970’s had a cafeteria where Sri Lankan food was served, wholesome & reasonably priced. It became a happy meeting place/eating place for all the Lankan students and workers there. At this cafeteria, blending in, eating, laughing, smiling & accepting each other came naturally for the mostly Sinhala population there at that time. Perhaps some helpful notes can also be copied from the California Sinhala group who are very much together.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Please note that the High Commission there has to serve all those who have come from Lanka, viz. both Sinhala & Tamil communities. This fact alone creates difficulties.

  5. Anura De Silva Says:

    First of all, the above is written by a Sri Lankan student in Canada and most probably a foreign/international student who do not know the problems most parents have in Western countries like Canada. Let us not blame our people (Sinhalese) but at the same time, if the Tamils students can organize and do things in a big way with full support from their parents, then the Sinhala students should also be able to do well if they get some support from their parents or at least from the SL High Commission.

    On the other hand, this student is not requesting the SL High Commission to send their staff or fund them but s/he is only requesting some encouragement, motivation, and appreciation to those who are really engaged in some good activities to promote peace and harmony among Sri Lankans and especially those who promote Sri Lanka and its culture to the people of those countries. This is not a difficult task for any High Commission and I know many SL embassies around the world that do such things very effectively. For example, arranging a media coverage will help promote their activities.

    The SL High Commission is not only to serve the SL community living there but also to promote their country (SL) in all other aspects as well.

  6. TorontoCentral Says:

    I recieved an e-mail regarding this perticular article and I guess this is a first hand expeirence from the founder Presdient Prathap Perera of Canadian Sri Lankan Student Alliance and I find his response to be quite adqequate as we are just regular readers. I attached his e-mail below for everyone to see.

    Thank you,
    Subject: Re “SL Guardian Article: Sri Lankan High Commission in Canada is not doing much” Have you seen this article?
    Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2012 16:04:26 -0500

    Hi everyone:

    I came across an article of interest that was published last year and thought of bringing it to your attention. Please see the article link and my response to the article below:

    After reading the above article I was quite taken back by the analysis of the Sri Lankan Student’s Alliances chapters in Canadian Universities. It must be noted that the writer’s reference to Sri Lankan Students Alliances [SLSA] in Canada is a bit vague and misleading to the general reader.

    As the founder President of the Sri Lankan Student Alliance [SLSA] & several of its chapters I would like to highlight and point out that the article lack the basis for argument when describing the current reality of Sri Lankan Students Alliance’s accomplishments, milestones and membership growth since it was established in 2003 (not to be mistaken with Sri Lankan Student Associations).

    However the writer do bring up several key facts regarding the Tamil Student Associations in Canada as well as the lack of encouragement shown by Sri Lankan parents to allow their children to join Sri Lankan Students Alliances and Associations in Canadian Universities. What I really wanted to clarify here was that SLSA’s former committees and current executive committees in various University chapters has always maintained a friendly relationship with the Sri Lankan Consulate in Toronto and High Commission in Ottawa. Both these establishments have always been very receptive and supportive towards SLSA’s invitations and activities in Canada without ever involving or interfering in SLSA’s day to day business.

    Prathap Perera

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