Mr. Speaker, I rise to mark the 75th anniversary of the independence of Sri Lanka, a country that is both morally and economically bankrupt today.
Since independence, Sri Lanka has gone to the IMF for bailouts 17 times, which is more than once every five years. Its leaders stand accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. On January 10, Canada imposed sanctions on two former presidents of the island: Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
If Sri Lanka is to reach its true potential, it must deal with its demons. It must reduce its political and military spending, address accountability for atrocities committed, recognize the Tamils' right to self-determination and be a country governed by the rule of law. Continued failure by its leaders will further drive what many have called the “pearl of the Indian Ocean” into the ground and risk repeating the mistakes of the past.