Beaches-East York Member of Parliament Maria Minna attended Sri Lanka’s National Day celebrations on February 4, 2006, at the invitation of C.S. Poolokasingham, the Consul General of Sri Lanka.
Both Mr. Poolokasingham and the government he represents are fully aware of the allegations that were made after Paul Martin and Maria Minna attended the Federation Association of Tamil Canadians dinner in May 2000 --- along with eight other MPs, seven MPPs and four City Councillors.
Maria Minna stated publicly at that time: “I believe it is unfair to brand all Tamil Canadians as terrorists. The fundraising dinner I attended was a cultural celebration for Tamil Canadians, a group of people who work hard to contribute to Canadian society.”
The government of Sri Lanka gladly provided assistance when Maria Minna led a five-member Parliamentary delegation on a peace and trade mission to Sri Lanka last March in her capacity as Chair of the Canada-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Association.
She met with representatives of the Sri Lankan government in Colombo and travelled throughout the north under military escort where she met with representatives of the Tamil Tigers and expressed her strong opposition to the use of child soldiers.
After Maria Minna addressed several hundred people in attendance at Sri Lanka’s National Day celebrations this weekend, many of them came up to her and asked when she would be returning to Sri Lanka to help in some small way to facilitate the peace process. They see her as an integral part of that process and they wished her well.
One final point, AWd, the tickets were priced at $60 – not $600 as erroneously “reported” by Judi McLeod.