David McKinnon, the High Commissioner of Canada to Sri Lanka and the Maldives said that the bilateral friendship between Sri Lanka and Canada goes back many decades and is strengthened by the deep people-to-people ties.
“Over the past few months, this partnership has been further strengthened as we worked with ministries and civil society partners to provide assistance and relief to the most vulnerable communities, including women and children,” he said.
The High Commissioner expressed these views in a message to mark Canada Day today (1st July).
“Today is a special day for Canadians in Sri Lanka, Canada and around the world. This year, as we find ourselves celebrating Canada Day virtually, we dedicate this day to the celebration of diversity, inclusion and hope,” he said.
He noted that COVID-19 knows no borders, and its impact on the health systems, economies and lives have been devastating – particularly for seniors, the marginalized and the most vulnerable.
The High Commissioner noted that the pandemic has highlighted the importance of working together both to respond to the crisis and for the long-term recovery.
“Livelihoods and economic activities around the globe have been disrupted by the pandemic, and Canada is committed to work with partners to build back better. We are extending support to strengthen the capacities of the cooperative sector and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) in Sri Lanka impacted by COVID-19. In international fora, Canada is working with international financial institutions to address the debt sustainability and financing challenges faced by middle-income countries, including Sri Lanka,” he said.
The High Commissioner also said that Canada continues to support the reconciliation process in Sri Lanka through its long-standing collaboration on national languages and by assisting with demining work. Canada will also continue to advocate for LGBTIQ2 rights.
“After nearly three years on this remarkable and beautiful island, I continue to be struck by the warmth, creativity, and resilience of individual Sri Lankans. This is apparent wherever I travel here and in the many very successful people of Sri Lankan origin, from all communities, who have made their homes around the world, including in Canada. Canadians of Sri Lankan heritage help make Canada the diverse and vibrant country it is today, something I want to recognize this Canada Day,” he said. (Colombo Gazette)