“Ontario Genocide Bill, a fraud on the people”
Canadian Sri Lankans of non Tamil desent who are enraged over the passing of the Tamil Genocide Education Week Act by the Ontario Legislature, on the false premis continued to condemn the new law and decried that this action was a ‘blatant quid pro quo to harvest votes’ from a select segment of the Tamil community in Ontario.
They said the passing of the Bill without credible evidence to support a genocide claim against Tamils in Sri Lanka violated Ontario’s Human Rights Code and it amounts to breach of the Criminal Code’s prohibition of public incitement and willful promotion of hatred.
The Act will make way to observe a Tamil genocide week from May 12-18 including in schools in Ontario each year and Sri Lankan parents of non Tamil desent have expressed fear for the safety of their children.
A Barrister and a solicitor of Sri Lankan descent Viresh Fernando who is educated, trained and qualified as a lawyer in Canada has written to the Prime Minister and Attorney General of Toronto, that as a matter of policy Ontario should not permit or promote the importing of “back home politics”, referring to the example of February 2021 armed clash in Brampton between two groups of Punjab Sikh Canadians and Hindu Canadians.
The Sri Lankan Canadians protesting against the Bill
He said that this Bill backed by the segment of community who continues to support terrorism and the LTTE which is banned in Canada, is an insult to the broader law abiding Tamil Canadian community who are immense contributors to Ontario.
Besides under the division of powers set out under the Canadian Constitution the Ontario Legislature has no jurisdiction to adopt such law, he has explained.
The LTTE, through its numerous fronts continue to hold the ordinary peace loving Tamils living overseas, including in Canada, to ransom. It is suspected that fearsome extortion campaigns still continue in the West to sustain the defunct organisation.
Barrister Fernando has pointed out that the Integrity Commissioner for the City of Brampton, Ms. Muneeza Sheikh, is conducting an investigation to determine whether Mayor Patrick Brown violated Brampton City Council’s Code of conduct by his false assertion of “Tamil genocide” on February 24, 2021. The City of Brampton has acknowledged that it had no evidence to support Mayor Brown’s assertion.
He has described in the letter that the term “genocide” was coined in the aftermath of the holocaust to describe a systematic series of actions with a specific goal in mind, pointing out that the United Nations High Commissioner for human Rights, after a 15-month long investigation admitted that his office could not find any credible evidence of a genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka.
None of the renowned international organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch or the International Committee of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have made such claims.
He has written to the Premier and the Attorney General that the Canadian Government, the Cabinet office, Ministry of Education, the City of Toronto or the City of Brampton have stated that they have no documentary or other credible evidence of a “ Tamil genocide”.
“In March 2019, Toronto Mayor John Tory was requested to provide a proclamation asserting “Tamil genocide”. Senior protocol official of the City of Toronto requested for an input from the Global Affairs Canada (the Department of the Canadian Government which manages Canada’s diplomatic and consular relations).
The Global Affairs Canada strongly advised against such a proclamation. Subsequently, the officials conveyed to the Mayor the advice of the Global Affairs Canada and presented to the Mayor a draft proclamation that did not refer to genocide.
Nevertheless the Mayor issued the proclamation asserting “ Tamil genocide” stating that he was doing so for political reasons. The proclamation was immediately challenged at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and due to the pandemic a hearing on the merits has been delayed.
In this backdrop, Barrister Fernando stressed that this Bill which has now become law after receiving the Royal assent on May 12, 2021, is ‘fraud on the people of Ontario’. He says it was against the rule of law and done purely on political reasons hurting the feelings of a peace-loving segment of Sri Lankan Canadians and jeopardising the safety of their children.
Despite the negative portrayal of the end of the battle against terrorism and bogus claims of genocide, the Tamil community, especially the Hindus began to thrive after the war was brought to an end on May 2009 while they continued to live peacefully in any part of the country.
Those living in the South as well as those within the Northern region, revived their traditional and cultural ceremonies, without fear of LTTE instigated violence.
Local media reported in July 2010 how the 136th annual Aadi Vel Festival was held in Colombo with renewed vigor, colour and glamour.
“The beautifully decorated wooden carved cart left the Colombo Sammānkodu Śrī Kathirvelāyuthaswamy temple in Sea Street and reached the Sammānkodu Śrī Mānikka Vinayagar temple at night.
The colourful procession paraded through the main streets in Colombo. Traditional musicians playing the Thavil and Nāthaswaram led the procession.
The festival wended through many main streets in Colombo (Sri Lanka’s commercial capital) after a lapse of 16 years. The colourful procession started from Pettah and wound through York Street, Echelon Square and Galle Road to Bambalapitiya, which has been the route for the annual Vel Festival for more the 100 years.” (Kataragma.org)
Last week President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Sanjay Rajaratnam, PC, a member of the Tamil community as the Attorney General, the chief legal officer of the State, an action which could mock the Canadian move.
There has never been a Sinhala- Tamil communal clash since 1983, and the Tamil Christians and Hindus live in harmony with the Sinhalese and other communities all over the country. This genocide claim in Canada is a slap in the face for these peace-loving ordinary citizens of Sri Lanka
BY MANJULA FERNANDO
(Courtesy of Sunday Obsever)