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Canada calls for immediate ceasefire

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 April 2009 08:26 No Comment]

"We’ve asked [the United Nations] for an immediate ceasefire. We’re very worried, of course, of the hostilities that are taking place but particularly worried for the civilians that are in the combat zone [in Vanni]," said Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon Thursday, according to a report in National Post. The call comes amidst continued Tamil protests for the third consecutive day that have severely disrupted the traffic in downtown Ottawa.

Mr. Cannon rejected a call by the Sri Lankan high commissioner to Canada to crack down on the protesters because they were waving banners that depict a tiger in front of a pair of crossed guns.

"It’s not up to me to put an end to protest," said Mr. Cannon. "People are allowed to protest in Canada. We live in a democracy. People are allowed to go and express their ideas, their concerns," the Post said.
Mr. Cannon’s remarks fly in the face of the assessment of Sri Lankan envoy Daya Perera, who said Wednesday that: "there is a limit; the freedom of expression has to stop somewhere."

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff also called on Canada to pressure the UN secretary general to appoint a special representative to Sri Lanka to push for a ceasefire

"The humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka has continued to deteriorate, causing grave concern to the international community and demanding urgent and co-ordinated action to end this conflict," Mr. Ignatieff said in a statement, according to the National Post report.

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