Statement from Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre on Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day

May 18, 2023

Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day: 

“For over 25 years, the Tamil people and other cultural groups in Sri Lanka experienced unimaginable suffering as their country was plagued by war. The decades of violence and destruction led to the deaths of countless Sri Lankans. Tens of thousands of people who wanted nothing more than to live in peace and freedom were killed in the final months of the conflict alone. In 2009 after years of chaos and terror, the war ended in the village of Mullivaikkal. 

“On Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, we honour the memory of the tens of thousands of Tamils who lost their lives during the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War. We remember the victims, both known and unknown, who suffered through unimaginable atrocities, genocide and war crimes during this dark chapter in Sri Lanka’s history. Together, we can turn the hurt of the past into hope for the future. 

“Canada must follow in the footsteps of the previous Conservative government who led the world in standing up to the Rajapaksa regime. In 2013, Canada boycotted the Commonwealth Summit over the genocide and despicable human rights abuses committed by the Rajapaksa regime. This forced other countries to follow suit and isolated the regime, with the world standing in solidarity with Tamil people. 

“Today, Conservatives renew our call for accountability for those who perpetrated this genocide. Specifically, we join with Sri Lankan human rights advocates in their demands for the arrest of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, so that he answers for his crimes at an international court or tribunal. As Prime Minister, I will stand up for the Tamil people and work to impose Magnitsky sanctions and remove the gatekeepers that stand in the way of Sri Lanka’s prosperity. 

“On Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, Conservatives reiterate our commitment to promoting human rights, justice, and accountability for all individuals in Sri Lanka. We will continue to support all those striving to bring home human rights and equality for Tamils and all Sri Lankans. Together, we will do the work necessary to turn the hurt of the past into hope for the future.”