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“We Definitely Want A Change In Government”

[The Sunday Leader.lk, Wednesday, 9 December 2009 09:20 No Comment]

By Ranjit Jayasundera In Toronto

David1-234x300 The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) is a non-profit organisation which serves as the voice of Tamil Canadians. Headquartered in Toronto, the CTC has 11 chapters across the country and an elected board of directors. The non-partisan organisation works as the community’s spokesperson on the municipal, provincial, federal and international levels.

David Poopalapillai is the national spokesperson for the Canadian Tamil Congress:

Q: Does the Tamil diaspora feel there needs to be a change in government in order for the Tamils to feel Sri Lanka is their home too?

A: Definitely yes. First of all, there has to be a constitutional change to accommodate the long-standing political and other aspirations of Tamils and other minorities. Until it happens, it’s very difficult for the ordinary Tamils to feel that Sri Lanka is their motherland.

Q: Do you think there will ever be a day that Tamils will not feel like second class citizens in their own country?

A: It all depends on Sri Lankan politicians and how they address the root causes of the problem the country is confronting today. Other countries in the past have faced seemingly impossible problems but today, they are thriving because they worked to address those issues.  For example, South Africa has come far from its history of discrimination and apartheid to be an inclusive and pluralistic society.  We believe it can happen to Sri Lanka too if the country’s politicians have the political will to address the root causes of the problems the country is faced with. We very much look forward to that day.

Q: How does the Tamil diaspora feel about Gen. Sarath Fonseka if he runs for presidency?

A: The question for the Tamil Diaspora is whether anyone who gets elected to the presidency will genuinely address the grievances of the Tamils and other minorities. Also, whether the presidency can bring structural changes to the constitution and other areas to put Sri Lanka on the right track. It’s not a question of Sarath Fonseka or Mahinda Rajapaksa, it’s whether the future president of Sri Lanka has the political will to put the country on the right track.

Q: Would the Tamil diaspora support a change of government at this time?

A: We definitely want a change in government at least in the right direction.

Q: Does the Tamil diaspora feel Gen. Sarath Fonseka can address their needs?

A: It’s very hard to say at this time. Sri Lanka needs a powerful statesman not a politician to address the needs of the country at this critical juncture.

Q: If the Tamil diaspora had to choose a candidate to run for president, at this time who would they choose?

A: As we said earlier, Sri Lanka desperately needs a statesman not a politician to run the country. We haven’t seen that statesmanship so far in either of them.

Q: It has been said that the IDP camps will now be cleared within 180 days. Do you feel that this government has lived up to its promises?

A: No, certainly not. The IDP camps still remain despite the end of the 180 day mark on November 21.  Once again, it shows how far the Sri Lankan government can fall short when it comes to Tamil issues.

“We Definitely Want A Change In Government” | The Sunday Leader

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