A protest in Canada during the last stages of the war
Vijay Thanigasalam MPP, a 29-year-old financial adviser has successfully presented in the Ontario Legislature, a Private Bill 104 Called , “Tamil Genocide Education Week Act”. Canada is one of the Geneva-based UNHRC’s Sri Lanka Core Group members who rejected retired Air Force Commander Air Marshal Sumangala Dias as Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner on the basis of uncorroborated war crimes accusations.
Responding to the passage of the bill on Twitter, Vijay, the Progressive Conservative party man says, “I am humbled and honoured to announce the seven-day period in each year ending on May 18th has been proclaimed as Tamil Genocide Education Week. This is a historic event for Tamil people in Ontario & across the world. Today, we are standing inside Queen’s Park with a gov’t law that recognizes the Tamil genocide. The Bill is the first law that has been passed to educate and recognize the Tamil genocide in the world.”
Thanigasalam, is a Member of Provincial legislature, Ontario’s, representing Scarborough-Rouge Park constituency. He went to Jean Vanier Catholic Secondary School and completed his Bachelor of Commerce in Finance at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. His Private Bill establishing seven days, May 11 to 18 each year, during which Ontarians “are encouraged to learn themselves about, and to be aware of, the Tamil and other genocides that have happened in world history.
Vice president of campaigns for the Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance, Shanmugalingam said, “With the passing of this Bill, Tamils can begin the healing process, and encourage Ontarians to learn about the Tamil genocide, and other genocides that have taken place around the world.”
National Council of Canadian Tamil (NCCT), speaking on the Bill stated, “By recognizing the Tamil Genocide, we affirm our collective desire to maintain awareness of this genocide and other genocides to prevent such crimes against humanity from happening again”.
However, Sri Lankan-Canadians objected to the use of term “genocide” – a word Canada or the United Nations have not applied in relation to the Sri Lankan conflict. Several other Sri Lankan groups strongly opposed the attempt making representations to the legislator’s standing committee on the basis that the conflict had ended with the defeat of terrorism of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam [LTTE] on May 18, 2009 – and recommending that MPPs should not vote for the bill. But all Tamil-Canadian groups supported it.
The second reading of Bill 104 in 2019, appeared at the Standing Committee on Regulations and Private Bills, was put to a third legislature vote on May 6. The bill once it received royal assent will become law.
The federal legislature of Canada is called Parliament of Canada, it is located at Parliament Hill in Ottawa, and is composed of three facets: Monarch, Senate, and House of Commons. The House of Commons is dominant by constitutional convention, with the Senate hardly ever opposed its will. The Senate assesses legislation from a less partisan stance. The monarch or Queen’s representative, the governor general, provides Royal assent to make bills valid in law.
Sri Lankan born asylum seeker Vijay Thanigasalam, was elected to the Provincial Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election by a narrow margin of 963 votes beating Felicia Samuel of New Democratic party and another Sri Lankan-Canadian Priyan De Silva who contested on Green party ticket, all first-timers in the newly formed Scarborough-Rouge Park electorate. Adorning the titular designation “Member of Provincial Parliament” [ the acronym MPP] which formally adopted by the Ontario legislature in 1938, The new MPP, a son of factory and daycare workers is also a member of Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs in addition to being the Vice-Chair, Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. Addressing the media Thanigasalam said, “Growing up in Scarborough, I know it’s been neglected for a long time,” he said. “A PC majority will bring a positive change to the area. Our very own Centenary hospital has an overflowing number of hallway health care patients and an overcrowded emergency room,” Thanigasalam continued, “That needs to be changed: our residents deserve to have quality health care”.
He now talks about Genocides! A law is applicable and reliable only when it is based on facts, truth and belief. In Democracy, belief is the base. When a law is based on outside knowledge it becomes relative and obviously weakens sovereignty of the institution. What right or jurisdiction do the non-Sri Lankan Tamils who are currently citizens of other Nations posses to make laws affecting a sovereign nation?
Canada’s pampering of the LTTE is cheap political agenda. There were war crimes committed by the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam during the final stages of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009. Accidental attacks on civilians is inevitable in a conflict where two conservative armed groups are battling. Further the LTTE is responsible of murdering learned Tamils, including senior northern politicians, like Amirthalingam and Sivasittamparam.
The Sri Lankan Army provided food, medicine, and clean water for Tamil civilians deliberately held by Prabakaran as human shields and trapped them within the battle zone. An approximate 350,000 civilians were trapped as the military advanced further into LTTE controlled territory. Concerns grew for the destiny of the civilians in a 30 square kilometre Zone in north-west of Puthukkudiyiruppu. The purpose of the exercise was to allow the trapped civilians to cross into a safe zone controlled by the Army. The UN and other human rights organisations blamed the Tigers of thwarting the civilians from leaving. LTTE had prevented hundreds of families from moving to safer zones by a strict pass system and forced family members to stay back to make sure the already parted members of the family return, a deliberate procedure in grave violation of international humanitarian law, designed with the intention of using civilians as a shield against the Army. LTTE in gross violation of unanimously adopted UN resolution 1539 (2004), was engaged in recruiting child soldiers as well.
The LTTE had been waging war for an independent state in the North and East of Sri Lanka since early 1980s, and captured many territories in the region. With all Norwegian mediated peace process failed in 2006 the Sri Lankan government launched offensives reclaiming areas controlled by the Tigers. Eastern territory was recaptured by mid 2007. Successive defeats forced the LTTE to retreat to the coastal areas in North-East in Mullaitivu District. The civilians were forced by Terrorists to go into the Vanni hide outs by January 2009, as explained. Can they account for the killing of civilians in US’s contemporary wars fought over the last decade across the GLOBE?
American poet Adrienne Rich wrote…
“…figures of ecstatic women striding
to the sibyl’s den or the Eleusinian cave—
such hands might carry out an unavoidable violence
with such restraint, with such a grasp of the range and limits of violence
that violence ever after would be obsolete.”
No 6 - “Twenty-One Love-Poems”