Open Canadian Consulate in Jaffna – Conservative Party stalwart

Peter Kent, a former news anchor and candidate in the January 23rd Federal Election has called for the opening of a Canadian Consulate in Jaffna.

In an Op-Ed article appearing in the National Post over the weekend, Peter Kent welcomes the outlawing of LTTE but also calls upon the Harper government to put safeguards for proper delivery of Canadian Aid to Sri Lanka and also to monitor human rights violations of the Sri Lankan government. 

Peter Kent says, “Canada’s High Commission in Colombo is largely ineffective in monitoring human-rights abuses and government-sponsored civil unrest; we should push for a consulate in Jaffna.”

In his Commentary published in the National Post titled, “Now it’s time for Sri Lanka to act”, Kent appludes the new Conservative government’s actions on LTTE, but recommends “to demand better from Sri Lanka” as well.

He asserts, “Democratic principles finally trumped a decade of domestic political pandering this week when the Harper government fulfilled its campaign promise to list the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization. And, as should have been expected, the banning provoked both tears of relief and tears of frustration throughout one of Toronto’s largest ethnic communities.”

Peter Kent contested under the Conservative Party banner in the Jan 23rd elections in the Toronto Midtown riding of St. Pauls. This affluent central Toronto riding includes the mansions of Forest Hill and multicultural neighbourhoods straddling St Clair Avenue. The riding elected incumbent Liberal Carolyn Bennett in the polls. Conceding to Bennett on January 24th, Mr. Kent pledged “I will continue to be a strong voice for Toronto on all issues”.

Kent began his career as a radio journalist in the early 1960s. He then moved to television, joining Calgary station CFCN in 1965, and subsequently worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CTV, Global and NBC. Kent made his reputation covering the Vietnam War as a freelance foreign correspondent in 1966.

Continuing his commentary in The National Post, the affable Tory stalwart further says,

“The Tigers should have been outlawed in Canada long ago but, in a perfect world, the Conservatives should drop another shoe, soon, at the Sri Lanka High Commission in Ottawa. Why? Because our Tamil community is desperately torn between the life they enjoy as members of Canadian society — our constitutional rights and freedoms and opportunities to prosper — and the deepening plight of family and friends in their strife-torn homeland.

Almost a quarter of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population have fled the island nation since the early 1980s, seeking more peaceful lives in the U.K., Canada and other Western nations. Some 300,000 Tamils call Canada home — a world away from the vicious, institutionalized discrimination and brutal civil conflict in Sri Lanka that has claimed more than 60,000 lives over the last quarter-century.

They believe Canada and the international community are not doing enough to protect the rights of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. And that’s why some Tamil-Canadian leaders have embraced the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as protectors of the mostly Hindu Tamil minority from the Sinhalese ethnic majority, adherents of the state religion, Buddhism.

The Tigers are widely recognized as the originators of suicide bombings as well as for the forced recruitment of child soldiers in their armed struggle to create an independent Tamil state in northern Sri Lanka. Canada has long been a primary source of funds for the Tigers’ military operations.

Many in the Toronto community have made financial contributions to the LTTE — some willingly, others coerced. Those unable to pay have been reportedly told to borrow the money, make credit card contributions, or even re-mortgage their homes. Toronto police are aware of the practice but say victims have been afraid to file formal complaints.

On the other side of the issue, a number of Tamil community leaders who opposed banning the Tigers expressed concern Canada’s tough new stand will undercut the long-shot peace negotiations that are supposed to begin ”soon” in Switzerland.

That argument stands in stark contrast to the reality on the ground in Sri Lanka this week.

A series of suspected Tamil Tiger attacks on government forces and Sinhalese retaliatory violence against Tamil civilians has killed more than 40 people in the past seven days. That makes it the bloodiest week since the only partially effective 2002 ceasefire and raises fears of a resumption of all-out civil war.

Over the past few months I’ve spoken with many in Toronto’s Tamil community. Most are solid, law-abiding, taxpaying Canadian citizens — the sort of folks Torontonians are proud to have as neighbours. But they excuse Tiger terrorism on grounds that such action is necessary to defend the Tamil community from the institutionalized terror of the Sri Lankan government and the Sinhalese majority.

My answers are respectful but firm. There can never be any justification for terrorism against civilians. Suicide bombings and child soldiers have no place even in so-called ”wars of liberation.” Donations to the LTTE or any of its front organizations cannot be excused as humanitarian aid.

That said, as the Harper government moves confidently to restore Canada’s tarnished image abroad, the Sri Lanka tragedy should be added to our list of diplomatic priorities. This country annually sends hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Sri Lanka, precious little of which is delivered to Tamil areas.

Canada’s High Commission in Colombo is largely ineffective in monitoring human-rights abuses and government-sponsored civil unrest; we should push for a consulate in Jaffna.

Within the Commonwealth and at the European Parliament — even at the moribund United Nations — Canada’s voice should be raised in defence of fundamental human rights. Canada is right to ban terrorist organizations such as the Tamil Tigers. But, we have an equal responsibility to demand better from Sri Lanka.”

– Peter Kent is a Global TV executive who was a candidate for the Conservative party in the Jan. 23 federal election.
[TamilWeek Apr 16, 2006]

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  1. details civilian killings by Sri Lankan forces and paramilitaries after Geneva Talks

    103 civilians, including six children, have been killed by Sri Lankan forces and its paramilitaries since Geneva Talks on 24 February untill April 27, according to a report issued by the Political Head Quarters of the Liberation Tigers Friday. 12 Tamil civilians were killed on February 27, March 5, 6, 9, 20, 22, 24, 25, and 28, and the first attack on SLA posts after the Geneva Talks in February took place on April 8th after the assasination of Trincomalee district Tamil activist Mr. V. Vigneswaran. “Readers can now make their own conclusion about who is responsible for deteriorating situation following the Geneva talks,” the report issued by the LTTE concluded.

    Download the report with details in PDF format

    Full text of the reports follows:

    Tamil civilians murdered, by and under the supervision of, Sri Lankan Armed Forces since Geneva talks on 24 February until April 27 2006

    The Tamil civilians murdered by, and under the supervision of, the SLAFs since the Geneva talks on 24 February are given in a Table in this report. With a brief explanation of the data in this Table. This Table tells the story of the gruesome terrorizing nature of the murderous campaign by the SLAFs. After reading this Table, it is not too hard to imagine the state of terror in which the Tamil people are living in the SLAFs controlled areas of Northeast.

    These murders were carried out by two main methods. These are, killing by direct shooting of the SLAFs and killing by direct shooting of the paramilitary while SLAFs stood guard nearby.

    In the case of direct shooting by the SLAFs, the victims are first arrested on a false pretext. They are then shot and the bodies just thrown in a public place to be “discovered” by the people. The murder of five young men in Puthur on 18 April is a typical case of this style of SLAFs murder.

    The other style of SLAFs murder is carried out using paramilitary. These murders are carried out after the SLAFs prepares the ground for the safety of and escape route for the paramilitary which then carries out the murder. Sometimes the roads are cleared of vehicles by the SLAFs so that the crime can be committed with minimum number of eyewitness. SLAFs has stood at the doors of neighbours preventing the neighbours from going to the aid of the victims. In all such murders people reported the presence of SLAFs nearby. When murders had to be committed too close to a SLAFs presence, people observed that the SLAFs vacated the place just before the murder is carried out; returning only after the paramilitary has safely escaped. The close synchronization of the movement of SLAFs and the paramilitary during these murderous campaigns are clear signal that the two are working closely together. These paramilitary murders are carried out in three distinct styles. These are, balaclava wearing gunmen arriving in white-van at night at the victim’s home; helmeted motorbike riders shooting and escaping in daylight; and missing people surfacing as bodies

    In Trincomalee, Sinhala mobs have also been used by the SLAFs to kill Tamil civilians. That the SLAFs stood by as Sinhala mobs continued the mayhem is now well known and reported in the international media.

    Following all such face to face killing, police is brought in to remove the bodies, a judge is also usually present at the scene, and the bodies are taken to the hospital for a postmortem report and the bodies are released to the family. The case is brought to the courts. As is now the hallmark of the Sri Lankan justice system it stops here. The Table gives the names of civilians killed grouped according to the styles of murdered described above.

    To these styles of murders, two more styles must be added. These are, the killing by SLAFs planted claymore mines targeting civilians and killing by aerial bombing and shelling of civilian settlements.

    Some of the claymore attacks and also one incident of face to face attack have been carried by SLAFs that penetrated the Forward Defense Lines of the LTTE. Since these murders are carried out inside LTTE area by the SLAFs these have been grouped separately in the Table.

    The styles of murders to look for in the Table

    direct shooting by the SLAFs,
    direct shooting by the paramilitary while SLAFs stood guard nearby, carried out in three distinct styles
    balaclava wearing gunmen arriving in white-van at night at the victim’s home;
    helmeted motorbike riders shooting and escaping in daylight; and
    missing people surfacing as bodies.
    SLAFs assisted Sinhala mobs,
    SLAFs planted claymore mines that target civilians,
    SLAFs aerial bombing and shelling of civilian settlements and
    SLAFs killing inside LTTE area
    Other major issues to look for in the table

    The number of Tamil children and women killed by the SLAFs since the February 2006 Geneva talks are highlighted in the age and gender columns of the table. Six children under the age of 18 have been killed. Three children were killed in the so called “limited operation” carried out by all three armed forced of GoSL in Trincomalee on 25 April. Among them is a four year old child. The photos of the dead bodies of these children are in page 8. Fifteen women were also killed by this SLAFs murderous campaign.

    The murders of the three high profile community leaders, Vigneswaran on 7 April, Vilvarasa on 20 April and Senthilnathan on 26 April must also be highlighted as all the three men had the potential to be parliamentary representatives for Northeast. Their murders represent an attempt to eliminate the development of democratic leadership among the Tamils.

    Another very important aspect of these civilian murders that is missed by most international observers is the fact that a total 12 Tamil civilians were killed on February 27, March 5, 6, 9, 20, 22, 24, 25, and 28. Then on April 7 Tamil activist, Vigneswaran, was killed. The first attack on SLA posts after the Geneva talks took place on April 8th. Readers can now make their own conclusion about who is responsible for deteriorating situation following the Geneva talks.

  2. Talks are not going to solve the problem but self-rule will. Tamils have been seeking their own governance under a federal form of solution but there is no will on the part of the SLG to give a federal structure with full administrative, legal,and military power to function as a structure with corelative powers and partnership with the SLG. If a self-rule with existing LTTE administrative structures can be accomodated by the SLG and would be resolved on a friendly basis to coexist then the problems will be settled without much blood shed. If the SLG will not acknowledge the existence of the shadow government of LTTE and would not want to recognise it then the war is the next alternative. If the SLG is willing to take on the tigers in a battle without harm to civilians it would be an impossible task. Bloodshed and heavy casualty will be the end result of a vengeful war. The Co-Chairs also must take this into consideration and recognise the governance of tigers immediately for a settlement.

  3. President Rajapakse is still holding on to his claim of air attacks in trinco was the right thing he has done as in retaliation to suicide attack on army chief. What he is telling is that the blind shots fired from air was meant to attack the LTTE but were there any LTTE casualities other than innocent civilians. Part of the area attacked was SLG area. If his terminology of tit-for-tat against tigers had not produced any result his claim for air bombarment seems futile and invalid. He is now shedding crocodile tears to bring disrepute to foreign news reports that are showing the facts to the world where as his own media cannot hold it’s tongue of dismal failure in repoting. Foreign medias are reporting facts and that is pissing off dictator Mahinda. When will this idiot see srilanka through proper vision without his closed vision.

  4. Wimal weerawansa is outraged against the SLMM and is telling that their condemnation of the air attack as a breach of the CFA. He is telling that the SLMM should go back to their lands and give similar decisions back in their lands or perhaps he is telling them again to go away because of their verdict against the SLG. If they would have talked against the LTTE he would have accepted it with thanks. This man wants all the IC persons to listen to his nasty chauvinistic attitudes. Time is ripe that the IC should tell this man where to stop in his dirty practices. He is definitely a blockade to peace and he will never allow tamils to get selfrule because JVP in it’s uprisings in the past couldn”t achieve anything. When he sees signs of LTTE”s victories his jealousy against the LTTE makes him to hate the tamils at large.

  5. The continuation of air strikes in kokilai in the east is deemed as it’s part of protection against LTTE enemies though considered as CFA violation.The initial air bombardments were supposed to have been made as a retaliatory attack on a limited basis as revenge on tigers for the attack of the army chief in colombo. If Sarath Fonseka is deemed as a valuable person by SLG and the retaliation by air strikes on trinco as considered an appropriate counter measure and further they are not CFA violations as said by Rambukwela is it right for the tigers also to take counter measures against the SLG for the many lives killed recently by the forces. As much as Sarath Fonseka is big wig for SLG so was Kousalyan to the LTTE and why cann’t the tigers attack back. The main reason was that CFA held them back. If SLG can get away with their attacks as non violation of CFA why can’t the tigers do the same and maintain they did not break the truce. It looks like the CFA is binding on the LTTE only and not on SLG and if so why should the LTTE stick to the CFA any longer.

  6. Chandrika may be happy that she is out of the present turmoil but she knew that the para military camps would get this lash because during her time she knew how Karuna had to flee away from the wrath of the tigers. Now that she being in the observation deck has still not voiced her grief for the tamil lives lost in the air bombardments. But quickly responded to the attack on Sarath Fonseka. The sinhala leaders are not willing to show any kindness toward the tamil civilians and the time has come for the LTTE to take a lead role to protect all innocent civilians from genocidal attacks by the SLG. Chandrika will not commit a political suicide by entering into the frying pan of sinhala leader’s race and greed for power.

  7. The tamil nation of srilanka cannot depend on the sinhala chauvinist government to grant them their basic rights to living in their own homes lands and the sea sorrounding it. The fundamental rights of tamils have been denied by these evil sinhala regimes. Talking to these inhuman and antitamil sinhala government is like pouring water on the duck’s back. The only way out for tamils is to fight the evil oppressive sinhala forces and drive them out of the tamils homes,lands and sea and reclaim their lost sovereignty. Fight is the only language the sinhala rulers can understand so now the time has come for that. Depending on talks with this brutal government for any kind of deal is not going to materialise and the world players cannot help the tamil cause either. The world powers will not go against the sinhala governmant. The time has come for the tamils to fight back and chase the occupying genocidal government forces out and to destroy them if they would not go.

  8. The compounding of the tamil issue by trying to isolate the LTTE from the tamils is the most outrageous criminal act by the SLG and the IC and perhaps the closest neighbour India. These forces together have laid out the safety net to trap the tigers and to bring them into submission. The latest move by the SLMM in trying to retract their previous verdict of CFA violation with regards to trinco air bombardments is a sure proof that there is a hidden hand or perhaps many hands are making them to withdraw their verdict in one form or another.Pakistan wants to make a good sale at this ripe moment to strengthen the hands of the SLG to continue their genocide of tamils. Knowing full well that the tamils have suffered long enough to get their own tamil self-rule these instigations by the IC in colaboration with the SLG seems determined to wage a sinister move to make the tamils to be a continuous looser against the sinhala governments. If the IC has any doubt what the tigers are capable of is not because of terrorism as is portrayed but determination to win freedom from sinhala domination. Tamils don’t want to conquer somebody elses property or land or sea but they are willing to fight tooth and nail to win their lost rights,homes,lands and sea. The declaration of tamil Eelam should not be delayed and the occupying forces should be kicked out forth with. If they don’t want to leave then they will face a fatal blow.

  9. Under the caption of strict counter action against the tigers Mahinda has openly started his genocidal attacks on tamils. Most of the people killed are youths and young people. These people are shot at by these genocidal Mahind’s forces on pretext of counter attacks for their attacks but closely watching the situation proves beyond doubt that his intention of genocide is now fullu under implementation. This action of his is prompting the tamils to stay indoors or stop their day to day activities. The well planned attacks are already cooked up and the list of tiger suppoters and sympathisers are supposed to be targetted. The basic motive behind these killings is to kill as many tamils as possible during this so called peace dispensation. Tamils are killed for no other reason other than being tamils. He is calling all party conference but tamil parliamentarians are not called which clearly shows that he has categorised the entire tamil polity as terrorists and tigers. But he is keeping some boot lickers like Devanada,Anandasangaree and few tamils with just not even a small percentage support of tamils to be his ministers and spokespersons for tamils. What a hay day he as the big wig in the SLG is practicing just to continue his genocide of tamils with the blessings of the IC. The IC on the other hand will condemn the tamils and it’s leadership all the way but would not do so to the SLG in the wake of these killings and genocide.

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