SRI LANKA UNITED NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF CANADA

                                                                                                        Box 55292, 300 Borough Drive, Toronto, Ontario M1P 4Z7 Canada

                                                                                                        Website:   www.sluna.org                     E-mail:   sluna@idirect.com

 

 

By E-mail                                                                                                             June 12, 2009

 

 

The Editor

Toronto Star

1 Yonge Street

Toronto, Ontario

M5E 1E6

 

 

Dear Editor,

 

News Report re: Bob Rae’s Worst Nightmare

 

We refer to the report filed by Allan Woods on the subject published in today’s edition of your newspaper, and write to correct some of the misleading statements contained therein.

 

Our association is an independent community organization that mainly discusses issues relating to Canada and Sri Lanka, and also extends humanitarian assistance to the needy in our motherland irrespective of ethnicity or other background.  Our discussions are held openly and our views are conveyed widely through media releases and the website. 

 

Irangani de Silva, a former president of the association and a much respected member has expressed her viewpoint to a Sri Lankan newspaper, which is a right no one can deny her.  We find it somewhat disturbing that you have chosen to portray her in a negative manner without even giving her the opportunity to explain her position.

 

Allan Woods’ report is full of erroneous statements.  The global alliance of Sri Lankan expatriates did not call for freezing of funds of any group questioning the country’s sovereignty or proposing a power sharing deal with the Tamil Tigers, but instead proposed an alternative constitutional model involving wider power sharing at the centre, devolution to district units, decentralizing the administration and empowering the people at the grass roots in the rural areas by adopting India’s Panchayati system.  It is also absurd to say that Ms. De Silva made representations to the Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona when he attended SLUNA’s 25th anniversary last August to revoke the visa of the Liberal foreign affairs critic which apparently has been issued recently in 2009.

 

Even though we hold different views from that of Bob Rae, we have maintained cordial relations with him.We do not consider him an expert on Sri Lanka merely because he was nominated by Canada to participate in the Sri Lanka Peace Process facilitated by Norway.He may be an expert on federalism which he advocated as a solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka, but in Mr. Rae’s own words it was not favoured by the vast majority and deemed the “F” word over there.We certainly do not agree with the assertions made by him and his Liberal colleagues in the House of Commons to the effect that Sri Lanka was conducting a campaign of genocide against her Tamil population, and that 20000 civilians had been killed in the last days of the military operation against the Tamil Tigers whilst rescuing 285000 displaced civilians forcibly held as a human shield by this terror group.These guesstimates have been rejected by Sir John Holmes, UN Under Secretary General for humanitarian affairs as unverified and unreliable and hence not published by the UN.The request for a war crimes probe by Mr. Rae and other Liberals based on such data and allegations similar to that made in the Tamil Tiger propaganda arm called the Tamilnet was turned down by the HR Council of the UN in Geneva earlier on in May.

 

Contrary to what Bob had stated, Sri Lanka is not averse to dialogue.  Harsher critics such as David Milliband, Kouchner, Des Browne, numerous UN officials, Hon. Bev Oda, US congressmen, and an unending list of foreign visitors in addition to the multitude of HR and relief agencies have been allowed to visit the country and see the situation for themselves.  Sri Lanka has her hands full in providing relief to the large number of Tamil IDPs, weeding out Tamil Tiger suicide bombers and other killers that have mingled with the displaced civilians and gained entry into the relief camps, clearing the enormous amount of landmines laid by the Tigers, repairing the damaged homes and infrastructure before re-settling the IDPs in their former villages.  They have little time for Bob Rae and his Liberal colleagues who are using questionable statistics and echoing pro-Tamil Tiger propaganda to brow beat Sri Lanka and score brownie points in order to garner the Tamil diaspora votes in the GTA and other major Canadian cities, and thereby prevent the NDP from making inroads into this vote bank to retain their electoral advantage. 

 

We trust that you will give the fullest coverage to this letter in the same way that you accorded space for your correspondent’s news report.      

 

 

Yours very truly,

 

 

Mahinda Gunasekera

Honorary President

 

Contact address:  84 Tambrook Drive

                             Agincourt, ON M1W 3L9

 

Telephone Number:  416-498-0783