High Commissioner’s Reply Re Obhrai’s Visit to Jaffna
Posted on December 21st, 2013

Ira de Silva London Canada

Ms. Shelley Whiting
High Commissioner for Canada in Sri Lanka
Canadian High Commission
33A, 5th Lane, Colpetty 
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Attention: High Commissioner Shelley Whiting
Dear Madam,

 I have read your feeble, evasive  response to the article in The Island Newspaper regarding Mr.Obhrai’s comments when he reported back to the Canadian Tamils in Toronto, Canada after visiting Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth meeting. It was clear to Canadians that his visit and the message from the Canadian Government  was on behalf of Canadians who were anti Sri Lanka and who had in the past supported LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. Just as Minister Kenney before him, he dutifully reported back  to only his Tamil backers on his return to Canada and again repeated the accusation that he had been denied a flight to Jaffna.
Since it was the responsibility of your office to make  the necessary arrangements for Mr. Obrhrai to visit Jaffna, in an effort to practice the transparency which Canada claims to follow,  please make  public the following:
The name of the private airline with whom  you made the reservation, for what date and when the reservation was “suddenly cancelled”. At this time it could hardly be considered a “security” concern.
Did you contact the SLAF for an alternate reservation.? If so, when was the contact made with the SLAF as the SLAF maintains there was no contact by your office. Surely there has to be some documentation regarding any airline reservation so why the evasive response?  
When was the decision made to lay a wreath at Elephant Pass? Was the wreath taken from Colombo or was the wreath picked up in Jaffna?  Either way it had to be planned in advance. In  his ignorance of local history Mr.Obhrai thought it was at a “neutral” spot. In fact it was the place of three battles with the LTTE and a spot where there was a great deal of blood shed particularly in 2000 where nearly a thousand Sri Lankan soldiers died. Were you aware of this fact?
Mr. Obhrai claims the ” Sri Lankan government said that they were shutting down flights to Jaffna for security reasons.” Where  did he get that inaccurate information from? Was it from you and if so was it another cover up to hide the planned episode with the wreath. 
The wreath had three different messages in English, Sinhala and Tamil. Unfortunately for your office, you can not explain that subterfuge by placing the blame on the Sri Lankan authorities.  It was a deliberate  effort on your part to carry different messages and in the case of the message in Tamil, it was for the minorities who died in the war. For the benefit of your Tamil vote base, the majority Sinhalese who were killed by the thousand by the LTTE, did not count because from your Canadian perspective you were only concerned with the lives of Tamils  who died as are your Tamil vote base in Canada. It was clearly to appease the LTTE supporters who celebrated when Sri Lankan forces were killed, whose votes the Canadian Government seems desperate to secure.  If the difference in the messages was not deliberate, it illustrates  the incompetence and bias of your office. Perhaps it was that same incompetence that resulted in the inability to get a flight to Jaffna as the British and New Zealand offices in Colombo got flights without any difficulty. 
Once in Jaffna, it Is said, Mr. Obhrai ” continued with his planned programme.” If the wreath laying  was part of the planned programme it is another indication that your office had this stunt planned all along and that the statement that the blame for the flight cancellation was attributed to the  SLAF is another attempt to cover up your real plan for this trip.  
Further, Mr. Obhrai during his meeting with the Tamils on his return, stated that the Sri Lankan authorities facilitated his trip to Elephant Pass. For those arrangements to have been made indicates that this farce with the wreath had been pre-planned. You were with Mr. Obhrai. Was it your way of explaining away the incompetence/inefficiencies of your office in Colombo? Do you not consider it strange that the other leaders who came to Sri Lanka with or without any hidden agendas had no problems? The British who had the same agenda to placate their Tamil vote base were still facilitated by the Sri Lankan authorities. Why was it that you had a problem? 
It is unfortunate that you chose to cover up your real plans and are now seeking to make false allegations to justify going to Elephant Pass and, disregarding the request by the Sri Lankan officials, proceeded to lay the wreath on a beach without anyone around merely as a photo opportunity to appease the Tamil vote base in Canada.  As a High Commissioner one would expect that you would be aware of diplomatic protocol and abide by it. Canada keeps talking of democratic values, core values and  other principles but disregards them whenever it wants to act as a colonialistic bully. Other than the LTTE supporters in Canada, you are not convincing anyone else. Also please note that Sri Lanka is no longer a colony and that you have no right to behave as if it were a colony. Canada is a former colony too and I am sure that Canada would not tolerate this type of behavior  on it’s soil by any foreign representative. 
You claim that The Island report did not have the facts. Since you do it would be appreciated if you would, in the interests of truth, accountability and transparency provide answers regarding the planning and trip details of Mr. Obhrai’s visit.
Yours truly,
Ira de Silva

One Response to “High Commissioner’s Reply Re Obhrai’s Visit to Jaffna”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:


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