Sri Lankans seething over Ontario Tamil Genocide Bill | Sunday Observer

Sri Lankans seething over Ontario Tamil Genocide Bill

14 May, 2021
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, signing the Royal Assent officially bringing the Bill into effect. (Courtesy: Tamil Guardian)
Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, signing the Royal Assent officially bringing the Bill into effect. (Courtesy: Tamil Guardian)

The Sri Lankan community in Canada has expressed shock and dismay over the passing of a Bill at the Ontario Provincial Parliament recently to recognise a ‘Tamil genocide’ in Sri Lanka, on ‘misrepresentations and unfounded assumptions’.

The Bill 104, which successfully sailed through a third reading received Royal assent by Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Elizabeth Dowdeswell, on May 12, making it into law.

The process to get this Bill passed took two years to complete. Thus, Ontario became the first jurisdiction in the world to recognise a genocide against Tamils in Sri Lanka, Canadian media reported.


‘The Tamil Genocide Education Week Act’, establishes seven days each year from May 12 to 18, to encourage Ontarians “to educate themselves about, and to maintain their awareness of, the Tamil genocide and other genocides that have occurred in world history.”

It is widely known the Tamil genocide claim was given birth by propaganda wing of the LTTE which is still vying for a separate state in Sri Lanka through its network of well established Diaspora fronts, scattered world over.

In Canada this LTTE voice is allegedly sustained by ex-leaders of the outfit who fled the country shortly after the Security Forces defeated the LTTE in May 2009, ending a three decade long battle against terrorism waged by the terror outfit in which their main target was the civilians, and also through sympathisers of the LTTE who have infiltrated Canadian political circles.

During the chaotic aftermath which followed the end of the nearly three decade long conflict, the LTTE through its established network of human smuggling, shipped some of its surviving cadres to Canada via Thailand.

The Canadian authorities intercepted two of such rickety vessels MV Sun Sea and MV Ocean Lady, carrying ex-terrorists among other illegal immigrants in 2010 but later some were released. The Sri Lankan community members in Ottawa who are up in arms against the unfair law, filed a case challenging it in the Ontario Superior court on May 10, before it received the Royal assent on May 12.

They have said neither the UN nor the Canadian government have called the Sri Lankan battle against terrorism a genocide, even after 12 years of its ending, and a provincial government could not issue such a decree. The Act can also be challenged in the Federal Appeal court and the Supreme Court if redress is not granted by the lower Courts, a senior diplomat said.


A senior state official said while the government was monitoring the disturbing developments, and the Sri Lankan High Commission and the Toronto Consulate General continued engagement with the Federal and Provincial governments, it could not take part in a domestic legal battle.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena met the Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon on Monday to express displeasure over the passage of the genocide Bill.

“The Minister explained that the Ontario Legislative Assembly makes a finding that ‘genocide’ has taken place in Sri Lanka contradicting the official position of the Government of Canada which had confirmed that it has not made such a finding. He sought immediate intervention of the Canadian Government in the matter.’

The foreign ministry in a media release earlier said, ‘blatantly false claims and misrepresentations’ have been made in the ‘politically motivated’ private member Bill which includes ‘grossly exaggerated number of casualties’ at the conclusion of the conflict to prove allegations of genocide.


In response to the Government’s protest, the Mayor of Brampton Patrick Brown said in a twitter message, “This is foreign interference in Canadian domestic affairs.

The Sri Lankan High Commission’s ongoing denial of the Tamil Genocide and their organised propaganda is offensive. We don’t support revisionist history and absolve war crimes in Canada. Thank you for Bill 104! “

The Bill which brought disrepute to the country was moved by 32-year-old Canadian politician and Scarborough - Rouge Park riding Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Vijay Thanigasalam who was flagged in 2018 for glorifying terrorist leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran and Black Tigers - the LTTE suicide squad. Quoting the LTTE leader who ordered the killing of two state leaders - President R. Premadasa and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi - and many others including Tamil intellectuals who spoke against his bloody cause, Thanigasalam wrote on his facebook page, “The Black Tigers are the protective armors of our ethnic community.”

He also posted, “Happy 57th Birthday to our National Leader V. Pirapaharan,” on Prabhakaran’s birthday with a picture of the terrorist leader in a camouflage combat uniform.

He removed the posts soon after a media backlash. The spokeswoman of his party, Progressive Conservative (CP), Melissa Lantsman told Canada’s News Global in June 2018, “The candidate (Thanigasalam) removed any such material before he stood as a candidate, more than one year ago.


The party obviously does not share this view and that material is unacceptable,” adding the party’s provincial nomination committee was confident he did not support those views.

The LTTE still remains a banned terrorist organisation in Canada. A senior diplomat said, however, due to successful antics by LTTE fronts and pro LTTE groups, the Canadian soil has been freely exploited for illegal fundraising and for propaganda purposes by the defunct terror group.”

The Scarborough Mirror reported, although Tamil-Canadian groups lobbied for the bill’s passage, other Sri Lankans lobbied against it.

Anura Ferdinand of the Sri Lankan Canadian Action Coalition told the paper, in 2019 his community met 71 MPPs who, he said, had no idea, ‘there is another side to the story’ or other ethnic groups were also harmed in the battle against terrorism. The parents of Sri Lankan children of other ethnicities have expressed concern that this false narrative of genocide which has also been conveyed to school boards will unfairly target their children.

Honorary Professor, Kotalawala Defence University, Sri Lanka Dr. Rohan Gunaratna who had studied the LTTE for years, told the Sunday Observer said,”Canada should develop a zero tolerence approach against terrorism and extremism.”

Dr. Sarath Chandrasekera, an academic representing Canadian Sri Lankan centre for Social Harmony expressed, ‘A immigrant Canadians we are very conscious that immigrant communities must not import into Canada, their divisive and hateful political and ethnic battles of their home countries,’ adding that, ‘The need of the hour is harmony driven bills and not divisive political agendas.’