A Reception for Members of Parliament, the Diplomatic Community and senior officials of the Government of Canada, was hosted on 24 February 2020 by the Sri Lanka High Commission in Canada to celebrate the National Day of Sri Lanka at the Sheraton Ottawa Hotel.
The Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development of Canada Paul Thoppil graced the occasion as Chief Guest.
The evening began with a welcome address followed by the singing of the national anthems of Sri Lanka and Canada after which the Acting High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Sithara Khan in Canada, addressed the gathering.
The Acting High Commissioner in her address referred to the strong bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and Canada spanning over six decades and the ongoing bilateral engagements and trade ties between the two countries.
The Acting High Commissioner highlighted the economic policies outlined in President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s manifesto ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ and quoted excerpts on the President’s commitment to create a progressive national economy and a pluralistic society. The Acting High Commissioner noted that the vision of the President set the pace for Sri Lanka to enter an era of prosperity.
Acting High Commissioner Khan also outlined Sri Lanka’s economic growth and the measures taken to prioritize business-friendly policies to increase business, trade and investment. In this context, she pointed out to the conclusion of the first code-share Air Transport Agreement (ATA) on 5 December, 2016 between Sri Lanka and Canada and stated that following the conclusion of the ATA, an increase in tourism from Canada to Sri Lanka was observed. The Acting High Commissioner noted that Sri Lanka has much to offer the world and to all visitors to the country and added that Sri Lanka has something for everyone.
Following Acting High Commissioner Khan’s address, the Chief Guest, Assistant Deputy Minister for Asia Pacific of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Development of Canada, Paul Thoppil addressed the gathering.
In his address, Hon. Thoppil spoke of the warm relations shared by Canada and Sri Lanka. He outlined the bilateral cooperation between the two countries including the assistance provided by Canada to Sri Lanka. He also referred to ongoing engagements and proposed initiatives between the two countries and added that Sri Lanka and Canada would continue to consolidate ties.
Member of Parliament for Winnipeg South and Vice Chair of the Canada-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group Terry Duguid also addressed the gathering following Hon. Thoppil. In his remarks, Hon. Duguid recalled the visit to Sri Lanka by three members of the Canada-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group in 2017 and the positive outcome of the visit. He also spoke of the vibrant Sri Lanka diaspora in Winnipeg and their active participation in many community events.
Sri Lanka’s Consul General in Toronto Kapila Jayaweera and Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka in St. John, New Brunswick Dr. Sameera Jayasena were also present on the occasion.