Speaking at a recent Tamil Heritage Month event, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada will continue to push for accountability, justice and reconciliation for human rights abuses perpetrated by Sri Lanka.
Trudeau remarked that Canada is home to one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world and stated that their contributions to the country have been "extradordinary".
“In 1983 the then Liberal government under my father welcomed over 1,800 Tamils to settle in Canada and since then it has led to waves and waves that continue to grow this country,” he said.
“Your contributions to this country are extraordinary,” Trudeau added.
“We all know that even as we celebrate, rights, freedom, diversity, and cultural identity in Canada, there continues to be a challenging situation for Tamils in Sri Lanka,” he said. “Canada will continue to stand with the international community including the United Nations Human Rights Council to call for accountability, call for justice, call for reconciliation.”
"It was important that Canada sanctioned four leading individuals aswell to demonstrate that nowhere around the world will we put up with the kinds of the human rights abuses we have seen. We will continue to stand with the Tamil community," he went on to add.
“The things that make us different as a country are also the things that make us strong and resilient. Differences are seen as a weakness but in this country, it is our strength and the Tamil community demonstrates that,” he said.
The event also welcomed the Canadian Opposition Party and the Conservatives. Agop Everklian, Senior Advisor to the Official Leader of the Opposition, Pierre Poilievre, stated that the Conservatives are advocating for the release of political prisoners and demanding justice for the perpetrators who are credibly accused of war crimes.
The event attracted nearly 2,000 attendees to watch several programs from dance and theatre to speeches and songs at the Château Royal in Laval, Quebec. The theme for this year's event was "Land and Language," two pillars sustaining the essence of Tamil identity in Tamil Eelam, reflecting the experiences of Canadian Tamils.
The event programs revolved around the Tamil lands, language, and culture. From dances that praise the Tamil language to traditional fashion shows accurately depicting centuries-old styles with vivid images, the programs were brimming with meaningful and vibrant visuals. Modern Tamil folk dances, featuring over 100 performers, electrified the audience.
Delivering a speech on behalf of the Quebec Tamil Community Center, Mr Vinoth said that recent reports highlight the continued erosion of Tamil lands and culture. “Land seizures, forced evictions, and the construction of military bases on Tamil lands persist, leaving communities displaced and dispossessed. The colonization of Tamil lands has intentionally eroded the Tamil cultural heritage embedded in these territories. In our context, land is not merely soil and territory; it symbolizes our history, ancestors, and connection to our roots. These actions not only violate human rights but also threaten the very fabric of our culture and heritage.”
Justin Trudeau also said that it was due to the recognition of the contribution that Tamil-Canadians that January was declared as Tamil Heritage Month, a motion that was put forward by MP for Scarborough-Rouge Park Gary Anandasangaree.
Tamil Canadians constitute one of the most rapidly growing communities, proudly representing Canadian society's diverse, multicultural essence. In October 2016, the House of Commons unanimously voted to recognise January as Tamil Heritage Month. The purpose behind this motion was to acknowledge the substantial contributions of Tamil Canadians to both Canadian society and their own rich culture.