Canadian Parliament Question Period on Sri Lanka

41st PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION
EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 226

Thursday March 21, 2013, Question Period (Foreign Affairs) Ottawa:

Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP): Mr. Speaker, international pressure continues to grow for an independent investigation into the very serious allegation of war crimes that were committed in the final days of the Sri Lankan civil war.

New Democrats have long called for just such an investigation and, yesterday, the United Nations Human Rights Council passed a resolution that, once again, underscores the need for accountability.

Today, Conservative senator Hugh Segal is in Sri Lanka. So, to the minister, will the senator be pushing the Sri Lankan government for an immediate independent inquiry into those reprehensible actions during that civil war?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, no other government in the world has worked harder, has pushed harder to ensure that there is accountability, meaningful reconciliation and a return to human rights in Sri Lanka. No other leader in the world has been more outspoken, more morally clear on this issue than the Prime Minister of Canada. All Canadians can be tremendously proud of that. We will continue to work for the commonwealth, through the United Nations, to ensure that there is real accountability meaningful reconciliation and a return to decent human rights in that country.

Mr. Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre, NDP): Mr. Speaker, it is essential that Sri Lanka not be rewarded for its inaction. Unless Sri Lanka complies with the United Nations' calls for an independent investigation, Canada must not participate in the upcoming commonwealth meetings-- period. No Canadian participation at all.

I have a very simple question for the minister. Would the minister make that clear commitment to Canadians here and now?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Foreign Affairs, CPC): Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has been tremendously clear. We want to see meaningful progress with respect to reconciliation; we want to see meaningful progress with respect to accountability; and we want to see meaningful progress with respect to human rights abuses which have occurred since the war concluded. Canada has spoken out loudly at every international forum. Often, we are the only ones with the courage to do so. I can certainly commit that this government, this Prime Minister, will continue to do the right thing on this important issue.

Source:http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Pub=hansard&Language=E&Mode=1&Parl=41&Ses=1

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