Canadian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka and the Maldives Shelley Whiting yesterday issued a statement challenging front-page news item headlined ‘Slain Tiger’s mother stopped from leaving for Canada’ published in The Island issue of the October 22. She, however, declined to discuss the specific case mentioned in the article. The following is the statement issued by the Canadian High Commissioner: “There is absolutely no basis for insinuations attributed to a senior security official suggesting that there is a diplomatic initiative to relocate Tiger relatives.
This is categorically false. Let me be absolutely clear: there is no Canadian diplomatic initiative to relocate relatives of the LTTE. To suggest so is erroneous, inaccurate and baseless fear mongering.
Canada has long recognised that there were multiple parties to the complex and decades-long conflict that devastated Sri Lanka. The Government of Canada and I personally, have stated on repeated occasions that the LTTE was responsible for untold suffering in Sri Lanka and did not faithfully represent the political aspirations of the communities they purported to represent. In recognition of this, Canada listed the LTTE as a terrorist entity in 2006 and further proscribed the World Tamil Movement (WTM) in 2009 to help stop the flow of funding to the LTTE. Both of these organizations remain banned in Canada today. Canada joined many others in the international community in welcoming the LTTE’s defeat in 2009.
All visa applications at the High Commission are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis by visa officers and visas are issued in accordance with Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. While I cannot speak to the specific case highlighted in this article, I can state that Canadian visa officers, in considering a visa application, make their decisions based on the information the applicant provides. If that information is later discovered to be incomplete, false or misleading, measures can be taken, including revoking the visa.
I trust that this has helped to clarify the situation for your readers.
News Editor: The Island stands by its story. Having contradicted the report, HC Whiting’s refusal to discuss how the mother of slain terrorist received a visa is surprising. In fact, Canada has refused to reveal the identities of those who had sought asylum after having entered the country through illegal means. Asylum seekers included those who fled to Canada from Sri Lanka’s North as well as from India after the conclusion of the conflict in May 2009.