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Independence Day Celebrations in Ottawa

Canada calls upon Members of the Sri Lankan Tamil Community to develop creative ideas about how to contribute constructively

01

The High Commission of Sri Lanka in Ottawa celebrated the 64th Anniversary of Independence on 4th February at the High Commissioner’s Residence with the participation of the High Commission Staff and their families and the main Office Bearers of the  Sri Lanka Canada Association of Ottawa.

Outside the snow covered grounds of the official residence the programme commenced with hoisting of the National Flag, and singing of the National Anthem. Religious observances  of the  Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian  religions, the reading of the Messages of the President, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister were followed by a brief speech by the High Commissioner who spoke on the current developments in Sri Lanka, and urged the Sri Lankan community to extend their support to their Motherland.

On the 8th of February  a grand function was held at the Theatre of the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa which was attended by over 500 participants.   The Guest of Honour was Hon. Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs who was joined by Mr. Mac Harb, Senator and, Ms Louise Brown, Member of Parliament.  The other participants were Canadian Government Officials, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, invitees from the corporate sector, the media and the Sri Lankan community.

The High Commissioner welcoming the guests spoke of the peace that has been restored in Sri Lanka and the economic, trade, tourism and industrial sectors that are growing rapidly. She  stated that Sri Lanka has many challenges to face in addressing a political solution to satisfy all communities in a democratic setting within the country.

She further stated, “we know that we have the support and goodwill of our friends in the international community. What we seek from the international community is the understanding of the complexities of a multi cultural, multi lingual and multi religious society”.  She also called upon the large Sri Lankan community who have made their home in Canada to continue to play a positive role for Sri Lanka in their adopted country.

The Guest of Honour Deepak Obhrai in his initial comments spoke of his visits to Sri Lanka in the past, and stated that “Canada has looked to build on that friendship by supporting the Sri Lankan people with over $ 800 m in assistance since the 50’s”.  He  stated that “the most pressing challenge at this important juncture is to resolve the underlying sources of conflict through political reconciliation”. He also called upon the Sri Lanka Government to implement the recommendations of the LLRC.

While referring to “a deeper dynamic” to Canada’s vibrant Sri Lankan population and its contribution to the fabric of Canadian society, he stated “I further call upon members of Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil community to develop creative ideas about how to contribute constructively and collaboratively to a new era in Sri Lanka’s history”.

Following the brief official segment of the evening’s programme the audience was entertained to a rich cultural performance staged by the outstanding and well renowned Channa Upuli Dance Ensemble.  The performance included items such as the story of  Vijaya and Kuveni, a traditional Kandyan wedding ceremony, Baratha Natyam, Lion dance, Dialogue of drums, etc.  which kept the audience spell bound with the vibrant colour, style and the music of the Sri Lankan culture.

Sri Lanka High Commission

Ottawa

10th February  2012