Mr. Speaker, I want to compliment all of my hon. colleagues from all parties who took the time to be here to show their commitment to this issue.
What really matters is finding a permanent solution. To get there, we have to understand the history of this conflict. It started principally because the minority in that country were not being treated fairly. They were not allowed to attend universities on the same basis. Their language was being restricted. They were told what religion was the official religion of the country. These are things that obviously were unacceptable, that Canadians would not accept, and that they should not have to accept.
Political solutions were tried, but they failed and eventually violence came to be. That was wrong. That was the practical result of grievances not being addressed. Once again, that was wrong.
If the grievances are not addressed on a permanent basis now, history could repeat itself. Even if this conflict ends and the Tamils of the north are defeated, it does not mean the conflict will end. It could be extended. There could be another 37 years of another type of conflict, even on a more limited basis. We need a permanent solution. How do we get there?
I am happy that the government brought forward its position today. It should have happened a long time ago. It could have anticipated this problem back in 2008 when the government essentially said that the ceasefire was over. Something should have been done at that point. We should have sent somebody in, negotiated and stopped it when it first started. We should have done something at that stage. It did not happen. It is better late than never, but it is very late.
In terms of helping the people now, we have to ensure that the $3 million that is being committed actually reaches the people. Everybody on all sides of the House has heard the stories about aid that has been stopped either by the government or by the Tamil Tigers. It does not matter who did it. All that matters at this stage is that the money gets through to help the people.
Essentially there is a group of people, roughly the same size as the population of Hamilton, who are in a war zone and are being fired on. We need to help them. Money is only part of it. We need to get a Canadian representative, perhaps the Canadian high commissioner, but it does not even matter who, to stop it, to help negotiate and try to achieve something constructive.
If that does not happen, the next step is to put increased pressure on them. Why not, even for a short period of time, recall the Canadian high commissioner? We must make a statement that does something to pressure other countries of the world and show that Canada has taken a stand. There could be trade sanctions. We must do something to let them know that it is not just words. Respectfully, this statement today unto itself is just words. We need to do more.
The point behind all of this is that we must look for a constructive permanent solution. I would like the government to develop immediately a policy of financial assistance and to do more to try to end the conflict, but thereafter there should be a leadership role, as we used to have as peacekeepers, in order to build a permanent solution there, such as a political structure that treats the minority fairly so that we end the conflict finally, not just on a short-term temporary measure.