"We got some intelligence reports on this gentleman and the instructions were not to allow him into the country, so he is detained at the airport and he will be deported by the next available flight," Abeykoon told Reuters.
Rae said he was given a paper to sign agreeing that he made statements about the Sri Lankan situation without full knowledge of the facts, but wasn’t told which statements it referred to.
“I refused to sign such an Orwellian document,” he said.
The Toronto Centre Liberal MP and former
But he was flagged by a border agent upon arrival at
There was no reason given. Appeals to senior immigration officials were fruitless.
"We finally got a message saying that if I admitted that I had made statements that were ill-informed or something like that – and they gave me a thing I could sign – that they might reconsider the decision," Rae, who has travelled 10 times to the country in the past decade.
Rae was travelling to
Rae had called on
In a written statement, Rae said
"I have to say this decision reflects on them and not on me. I have fought against violence and extremism all my life. Everyone knows that," he wrote.
"What they now also know is that the government of
Canadian government called the decision to bar Rae "unacceptable" and absurd. It is that, and more. It also follows an incident in which a
“It is absurd to suggest that Mr. Rae represents a threat to Sri Lankan national security, or is a supporter of the Tamil Tigers,” Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Emma Welford said in an e-mail.
“We have registered to the Sri Lankan government our dismay and displeasure concerning this unacceptable treatment of a Canadian parliamentarian.” A Canadian government statement read.
Politicians of all parties called the incident an insult to
A spokesman for the Canadian Tamil Congress, David Poopalapillai, said the Sri Lankan government is trying to hide widespread human-rights abuses from both sides, and the fact that it barred an MP who is an acknowledged expert on the country should finally sound alarms.
“We see it as a slap in
Some believe, however, that that is unlikely to have any effect. Former Conservative foreign minister Barbara MacDougall said
“The Sri Lankan government is flexing its muscle. It doesn’t feel any need for international approval of any kind,” she said.