Wednesday, June 10, 2009

We Know How to Crack the Sri Lankan Nut

Time for Canada to support Sri Lankan High Commissioner

In the wake of Sri Lanka's move to deport Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae, some Canadians may be unsure as to how to proceed with the matter.

They shouldn't. It's time to pack Sri Lankan High Commissioner Daya Perera on a plane and send him back where he came from.

Rae has been accused of supporting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also known as the Tamil Tigers. While Bob Rae had given speeches questioning Canada's lack of involvement in the humanitarian crisis that accompanied the escalation of hostilities between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE, to suggest that Rae supports the Tamil Tigers is precisely how he describes it:


"Basically, I was told when I got to the airport I was a security risk," Rae says. "To describe me as 'an LTTE supporter,' as an army spokesman has done today, is a lie, pure and simple. I have been a steady critic of the abuses of human rights that were part of the LTTE's tactics."

In fact, Bob Rae has always been a steadfast opponent of terrorism while favouring programs of reconciliation. Whether it was opposing Hezbollah terrorism while calling for a substantive peace process between Israel and the Palestinian government (as well as its neighbours), or opposing the extremist groups that perpetrated the Air India bombing -- an act that Rae speculates may have adversely affected his 2008 Liberal leadership bid -- Rae's bonafides vis a vis terrorism are as sound as anyone's.

Rae did write a blog post criticizing the Sri Lankan government's alleged lack of attempts to reconcile with the Tigers, writing:
"'The war is over,' the crowds will shout.

But there is a difference between a war ended by agreement and a war ended by death and destruction.

If there is no magnanimity in victory there is no victory. I think of the possibilities of peace in the years after 2000 and I weep at the lost opportunity, the lost lives. So many dead now that were once alive, debating the possibilities of peace.
That is a far cry from supporting the LTTE. The Sri Lankan government's slandering of any Canadian Parliamentarian cannot be tolerated.

Beyond Rae's treatment, the diplomatic impacts of the Sri Lankan government's behaviour are deep and profound. Rae isn't even the only Canadian Parliamentarian to be denied entry into Sri Lanka. Conservative MP Deepak Obhrai was told that the Sri Lankan government allegedly couldn't accommodate his visit.

Making matters infinitely worse is the recent attack on the Canadian High Commission in Colombo.

It's evident that the country of Sri Lanka has no intentions of continuing diplomatic relations with Canada in good faith. There is no reason in the world why we shouldn't oblige them.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

Dan Shields - "Go Away, Bob Rae"

Vijay Sappani - "Sri Lanka Deports Bob Rae. Did the Conservatives Plot It?

Russ Campbell - "Rae banned in Sri Lanka"

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