Mr. Speaker, in keeping with our government's principled stand on human rights, the rule of law and freedom of religion, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs did not attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. I represented Canada.
Sri Lanka has gone through years of terrible civil war, culminating in the defeat of the terrorist Tamil Tigers. Since then, Canada has been calling on the Sri Lankan government to initiate steps toward reconciliation and accountability on human rights.
My trips to Jaffna and Colombo unfortunately painted not only the lack of reconciliation, but an increasing disregard for Commonwealth principles. I met with key players of the Sri Lankan society, including the chief minister of Jaffna, all of whom reaffirmed this disturbing trend. Canada will continue to call upon the Sri Lankan government to uphold key Commonwealth principles.
While I was in the northern Jaffna peninsula, I laid a wreath at the Elephant Pass, on behalf of Canadians, in memory of all innocent Sri Lankans who were killed in the conflict.