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Canadian Prime Minister joins politicians in marking 'horrific events' of Black July

Canada’s prime minister joined politicians across the aisle in commemorating the anniversary of Black July today, a week of anti-Tamil pogroms thirty-seven years ago that killed thousands of people across the island.

Canada shares an important history with Tamils, housing the largest fraction of Eelam Tamils outside of South Asia. Approximating 140,720 residents who identify as “Tamil” according to a census released by Statistics Canada in 2016.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued this statement, which reiterated calls for an accountability process "that has the trust and confidence of all victims". See the full statement below.

“Today, we remember the horrific events of Black July in Sri Lanka and honour the memory of its victims".

“In July 1983, anti-Tamil pogroms swept across Colombo, Sri Lanka, following decades of unrest and rising tensions in the country. Thousands of Tamils were killed and countless others were displaced. These riots sparked 26 years of armed conflict in which tens of thousands more lost their lives, devastating communities and leaving lasting physical and emotional wounds”.

“Canada responded by opening its arms to those fleeing violence and persecution in Sri Lanka. Through a Special Measures program introduced in the months following Black July, more than 1,800 Tamils resettled in Canada to rebuild their lives – and help build a better country. Their contributions in the face of tremendous loss and adversity helped shape a stronger, more inclusive Canada, which is now home to one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world”.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I extend my deepest sympathies to all those who suffered and lost loved ones during Black July and the ensuing conflict. Canada remains committed to facilitating an accountability process that has the trust and confidence of all victims, which is central to achieving lasting peace and reconciliation. We continue to offer support to all those working toward these goals.”

 

Premier of Ontario and leader of the Ontario PC Party, Doug Ford, similarly tweeted:

 

John Tory, the Mayor of Toronto, demonstrated his solidarity on Twitter as well, adding; 

 

The Mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown, made his statement on Twitter; 

 

Leader of Ontario’s Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath, stated on twitter:

 

Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Ahmed Hussen said,

Business minister Mary Ng said,

Gary Anandasangaree, MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations tweeted: 

 

Gurratan Singh, a member of Ontario's legislative assembly representing Brampton East, tweeted:

 

Vijay Thanigasalam, MPP for Scarborough-Rouge Park, posted the following statement on his Twitter account;

 

MPP for Markham-Thornhill Logan Kanapathi tweeted,

 

Former minister of justice Peter Mackay tweeted,

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