Fmr. Canadian PM speaks out against boycotting CHOGM

21 October 2013 03:50 am - 22     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Canada should not boycott the upcoming Commonwealth meetings in Sri Lanka, former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said.

“If you were going to boycott the Commonwealth because of illustrations of improper government or abusive treatment of people within some of the member countries, some days you wouldn’t have too many people around that Commonwealth table for tea,” Mulroney said during an appearance on CTV’s Question Period.

“There’s a lot of developing countries in there, countries with problems, and the best thing I think that we can do is be there at the table and illustrate, by our presence, the value of what we’ve learned as a country over 146 years and how we conduct ourselves with our democracy and with our generosity to friends internationally.”

Mulroney said the 53-nation Commonwealth is a powerful group and Canada should work within it to make a statement. For example, Mulroney pointed to the accomplishments of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who, at the 1961 Commonwealth leaders’ meeting, denounced South Africa’s apartheid policy and joined forces with Asian and African government leaders to push through a resolution making racial equality a condition of Commonwealth membership. South Africa subsequently withdrew from the Commonwealth and was not re-admitted until its apartheid regime ended in the 1990s.

“Working within the Commonwealth, we were able to score more heavily than by sitting outside,” Mulroney said.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced earlier this month that he would boycott November’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in Sri Lanka because of the country’s failure to investigate war crime allegations and human rights abuses during and after its civil war, which came to a bloody end in 2009.

“Canada believes that if the Commonwealth is to remain relevant it must stand in defence of the basic principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human dignity, which are the very foundation upon which the Commonwealth was built,” Harper said in a statement. “It is clear that the Sri Lankan government has failed to uphold the Commonwealth’s core values, which are cherished by Canadians.”

He also said Canada would review its financial contributions to Commonwealth programs.

Deepak Obhrai, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, will attend the meetings in Harper’s absence.

  Comments - 22

  • Lankan Monday, 21 October 2013 09:26 PM

    Its well known in Canada that Brian Mulrony could be bought by bribe. There is track record.

    Suq Madique Monday, 21 October 2013 06:00 AM

    Maybe not the PMs but Canada and India are attending the CHOGM and will be represented.

    hello Monday, 21 October 2013 01:29 PM

    Nothing to celebrate. He did not say that he approves Sri Lankan conduct.

    jude Tuesday, 22 October 2013 01:26 AM

    Harper will never be forgiven by Tamil diaspora, Because he's the man who Banned LTTE in Canada.!!!

    Suq Madique Monday, 21 October 2013 02:04 PM

    Well said.

    jude Tuesday, 22 October 2013 01:34 AM

    Harper attended a meeting in Congo last year. Congo is the killing fields of Africa!!, Over 400,000 women get raped every year in Congo. Scores of (in thousands) get killed by the Militia every month!!!!..Harper attended because of interest in Congo's Mineral resources.!!!!..Pure Hypocrisy!!!!!

    Nims Tuesday, 22 October 2013 07:44 AM

    Yeh, everyone knows that the diaspora has money even to bribe Hilary.

    Nims Tuesday, 22 October 2013 07:47 AM

    Let Herpies have Dosa, ulundu wade and plain tea with the diaspora at Udupilodge.

    R.Dias Monday, 21 October 2013 08:34 AM

    Former ..means outdated...not worth he has no say Canada...

    ANTON Monday, 21 October 2013 04:25 AM


    ind Monday, 21 October 2013 04:33 AM

    Exactly. Because one day if member countries too start boycotting common wealth and there won't be a number to match for Tea Table !! But no use telling these things to Harper. He is busy with collecting Tamil votes !

    Rationalist Monday, 21 October 2013 04:40 AM

    Stephen Harper is like an Ostrich who likes to hide his head in the sand!

    Duminda N Jayatileke Monday, 21 October 2013 04:42 AM

    Cananda and mabe India are not coming. Accept it and move on and have CHOGM with the few African countries that are left.

    bimba Monday, 21 October 2013 04:47 AM

    Matured leader than present PM of Canada, SF and TNA guys

    ind Monday, 21 October 2013 05:09 AM

    Seems like you are very happy if they don't attend.

    Flatwhite Monday, 21 October 2013 05:15 AM

    Current PM of Canada is under LTTE threat and also may be he is on their payroll. He is looking at tamils to save him before the next election as his eviction is obvious.

    Gamarala Monday, 21 October 2013 05:20 AM

    Spoken like a statesman and not like the diaspora controlled nerd who is the PM now.

    Be Fair Monday, 21 October 2013 12:30 PM

    well well, Canadian history 146 years, SL over 2500
    War 30 years, Canada looking at only the last stages.
    I the citizen suffered for 30 years........
    Does this equal, hell no. So Canada you can stay away. As im sick of these ...........

    Lucky Weeramantry Monday, 21 October 2013 12:39 PM

    Thank You Sir For Your Statesmanship.

    Max Monday, 21 October 2013 05:32 AM

    It's all done for votes, if he thought, there would be more votes by attending, he would attend.

    siva Monday, 21 October 2013 06:40 PM

    Harper was not going- But Canada is not boycotting it is sending its deputy foreign minister with a delegation.

    Right mind Monday, 21 October 2013 05:55 AM

    Harper is very busy in trying to grab 45K votes for the next election and he can not think out of the box similar to the former Prime Minister

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