Ontario’s new Tamil Genocide Education Week hailed by some, called unfair by others
Posted on May 14th, 2021

BY MIKE ADLER Courtesy Toronto.com

Tamil Canadians support bill, while some Sri Lankan Canadians say ‘there is another side to the story’

Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition

Anura Ferdinand of the Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition, and other members of the community objecting to Ontario’s passage of Bill 104, are shown during a Zoom call on May 10, 2021. – Zoom screenshot

Tamil Canadians hailed its passage as a historic event, but other Ontario residents from Sri Lanka see unfairness in a bill proclaiming a Tamil Genocide Education Week.

Members of the Sinhalese community reacted with dismay after Scarborough MPP Vijay Thanigasalam’s Bill 104 received third reading at Queen’s Park on May 6.

In a May 10 news conference, some said they expected a legislature committee to hear their deputations against the Progressive Conservative MPP’s bill, which declares a decades-long Sri Lankan civil war a genocide that the Sri Lankan state perpetrated against the Tamils,” and proclaims May 11 to 18 an annual week to educate Ontarians about it.

The committee on May 5 heard no debate, sending the bill back for a final reading with a speed Sinhalese community members say was meant to help PC MPPs get re-elected next year in Greater Toronto ridings with large numbers of Tamil voters.

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Tamil-Canadian groups lobbied for the bill’s passage, but other Sri Lankans lobbied against it, including Anura Ferdinand of the Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition. Ferdinand said that in 2019 his community met 71 MPPs who, he said, had no idea there is another side to the story here.”

Ferdinand said the bill makes no mention of Sinhalese or other ethnic groups harmed in Sri Lanka during the war, which has not been called a genocide by the United Nations or Canada.

Ramila Senanayake, from Maple, said she sent Premier Doug Ford statements from Sinhalese-Canadian schoolchildren in Greater Toronto already unfairly targeted with this false narrative” of genocide.

Proclaiming a genocide education week, Senanayake said, is like a bell you ring. You can’t unring it.”

She doesn’t deny Tamils suffered during the war, but said school boards have allowed the separatist Tamil Tigers, who were defeated in 2009, to be seen as heroes, a view she said passing Bill 104 will support.

To make them into heroes and to make us into villains is a totally inaccurate retelling of our history.”

Sanjee Perera said some children from his community identify themselves as Guyanese or Trinidadian at school to avoid being bullied over events in Sri Lanka.

An Ottawa man on May 10 launched a constitutional challenge against Bill 104 in Ontario Superior Court, arguing that declaring a genocide is up to the federal government, not the province.

Thanigasalam, whose family fled Sri Lanka during the war, could not be reached for comment.

A press release from the Scarborough-Rouge Park MPP, however, said the Conservative government, by passing the bill, demonstrated its commitment to fighting injustices and standing up for the Tamil people who call Canada home.”

One Response to “Ontario’s new Tamil Genocide Education Week hailed by some, called unfair by others”

  1. Noor Nizam Says:

    The below given website will be a very good resource for those interested to learn more about questions on “HOW BILLS ARE PASSED IN THE LEGISLATURE OF ONTARIO IN CANADA”. This website of the Legislature of Ontario (Provincial Government of Ontario) clearly explains the various options and next steps that “CAN BE TAKEN and that CANNOT BE TAKEN”.
    Can The Action Team – SLCAC, Ottawa, Canada publish the names of the Board of Directors of this group and the SRILANKANCANADIAN.CA (https://www.srilankancanadian.ca) for the knowledge of the readers/audience please. Can the publisher also provide whether this Organization/group is registered (if so when) under the Federal Laws or the Provincial Laws of Canada as a Non-for-profit organization and has it been approved as a “CHARITY” to collet funds legally in Canada or Internationally?
    Experiences over the brutal armed struggle between the Sri Lankan Armed forces and the brutal LTTE and the operational PR activities of the LTTE Front lobby groups in Canada, North America, EU, Europe and Scandinavia under different disguises has shown us the hidden hands behinds groups which prop-up under deceptive names and activities that are a threat to our “MAATHRUBOOMIYA” and The Sovereignity of Sri Lanka sometimes patronized by VIP’s without knowing the real situation on the ground of these institutions in the respective countries mentioned above.
    It is in the aftermath of the statement published by the Hon. Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Minister of Public Security of Sri Lanka, that there are signs of the revival of the LTTE activities abroad and in the country, the writer was influenced in thought to write this content. The writer who has a longstanding experiwnce and committment in being in the forefront of defending the Sovereignity of our “Maathruboomiya” against the onslaught of the LTTE Front organizations in North America and Scandinavia and a longstanding contributor of articles and “open letters” calling for enhanced committment by our political leadership to defend our country from all evils, both political and administrative, in this “Forum/Webnewspaper, looks for and advocates “TRANSPARENCY” and “ACCOUNTABILITY” when it comes to matters like this, for the knowledge of all concerned, especially the educated youth and young professionals who wish to stand and defend our “Maathruboomiya”.
    Noor Nizam – Peace and Political Activist, Political Communications Researacher, SLFP/SLPP Stalwart and Member “Viyathmaga”.

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