Canada Day Message from High Commissioner of Canada in Sri Lanka


Category : MEDIA RELEASES Date : 30 June 2016

A Message from the High Commissioner of Canada
on the Occasion of Canada Day


Hello! Bonjour! Ayubowan! Vanakkam!

Canada Day, for Canadians at home and abroad, brings forth an occasion to celebrate our achievements, history, heritage and natural beauty. It also gives us the opportunity to be proud of the diverse and pluralistic nature of all Canadians and their contribution to Canada’s prosperity. We have just one more year to Canada’s birthday and celebrations have already begun!

From early days when Aboriginals, French and British, came together to form Canada, our national identity has been shaped by our diversity. Today, Canadians believe in a tolerant peaceful pluralism; in protecting human rights; in gender equality; in internationalism; in a democratic society that supports middle class values; and in helping those in need around the world.

We are tackling climate change. We are reaching out to our First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples in an honest and open way to forge new relationships based on understanding and reconciliation. We are consulting with Canadians to make the best decisions in many areas, including international assistance, trade and investment, defence and innovation. We have invigorated our work on the world stage. We are on a quest for peace, security, sustainable development, respect for diversity and human rights and justice for all. And, we continue to reach out across the world to support vulnerable populations and those in crisis.

Canada is a country offering many opportunities in trade and investment. We also seek new markets, such as those in Sri Lanka and Maldives, while endeavouring to further the longstanding and cordial bilateral ties. It also gives us the opportunity to promote our values and principles in the business we conduct.

Canada offers world class education and we seek to strengthen ties with global educational institutions. Research and development opportunities in Canada continue to attract the world’s best and brightest, including those from Sri Lanka, to pursue their studies in Canada.

Advancing Canada’s values and interests through leadership and constructive engagement on key global issues with strategic partners, including at the UN and other multilateral institutions are among the key priorities for Canada. It is in this spirit that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced Canada’s candidacy for election to the United Nations Security Council as a non-permanent member for a two-year term that begins in 2021.

The new Office of Human Rights, Freedoms and Inclusion has been created to bring the efforts of the former Office of Religious Freedom together under a more comprehensive vision that includes all human rights. As High Commissioner, I have been encouraged to make the promotion of “human rights, freedoms and inclusion” part of my core objectives.

As Canada embarks on a foreign policy that focuses on constructive engagement with key international partners, I cannot help but reflect on the long standing partnership between Canada and Sri Lanka, which dates back to before Sri Lanka’s own independence.

Canada and Sri Lanka have a long-standing bilateral partnership, a shared commitment to fundamental values and deep people-to-people ties. Canadian interest in Sri Lanka is driven by a foreign policy commitment to the principles of freedom of expression, democracy, human rights, and the rule of law.

Canada has welcomed the Sri Lankan government’s commitments to reconciliation and the government’s efforts to mend relations among communities so that all Sri Lankans can live in peace and dignity, free from discrimination based on ethnic, religious or linguistic identities. We strongly believe that Sri Lanka’s commitments on reconciliation will usher in peace, security and stability for all Sri Lankans. Canada remains committed to working with the Government of Sri Lanka toward building this lasting peace, reconciliation and prosperity in Sri Lanka.

Canada continues to encourage the Sri Lankan government’s efforts to advance reconciliation and accountability in the country as well as present a viable political solution in order to satisfy the legitimate aspirations of all Sri Lankan citizens, regardless of language, religion, or ethnicity.

In Sri Lanka, Canada has been a longstanding development partner and our assistance continues to focus on sustainable economic growth, improving skills for employment and livelihoods, and on advancing democracy through the promotion of language rights. Assistance has also been provided for de-mining in support of post-war reconciliation efforts by the Sri Lankan government. Our Canadian volunteer program enhances technical cooperation, fosters friendship and interactions between communities.

The Canada – Sri Lanka trade relationship is going strong. Trade volumes have grown by 25% in 2015! I look forward to continued growth and enhance trade ties, particularly in priority sectors, such as agrifood, infrastructure, aviation, clean tech and education.

With just a year remaining for 150th anniversary celebrations, let’s take some time today, and in the next few months in the lead up to 2017, to truly reflect on how far we have come as a country and how far Canada and Sri Lanka have come in our bilateral relationship.  Canada Day is a day to savour and celebrate the achievements of Canada and its people, and share the celebration with our partners and friends around the world.

Happy Canada Day! Bonne fête du Canada!

Shelley Whiting
High Commissioner of Canada / Haut-commissaire du Canada
High Commission of Canada to Sri Lanka and Maldives / Le Haut-commissariat du Canada au Sri Lanka et aux Maldives