MP Devinder Shory is back in Ottawa following a Canadian trade mission to Southern India (Maharashtra, Karnatka and Kerala) and a parliamentary delegation to Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka from September 8-15, MP Devinder Shory lead a workshop on the role of parliamentarians in conflict resolution and peace-building, spoke with government and opposition parliamentarians and officials and toured some former conflict areas to get a first-hand look at reconstruction.
“The first thing to be taken away is that peace brings prosperity,”
said MP Shory.
“If you look at the rate of GDP growth, Sri Lanka was actually 10th highest in the world last year, but it’s only natural: reconstruction creates jobs, rebuilding of infrastructure is ongoing, many people have returned to their homes and are trying to get back to normal.”
The conflict that rocked South Asia’s oldest democracy for many years largely pitted the Sinhalese majority against the Tamil minority.
“We toured some of the affected areas including Jaffna, which on the very northern tip of Sri Lanka, and Kilinochchni,” said MP Shory.
“Many of the war-torn areas are sadly still heavily littered with landmines. Their presence can naturally devastate local economies for many years to come. I spoke with an on-the-ground official involved in the effort of de-mining, and he admitted that more could be done in the effort. However, I was glad to see that Canada is playing a financial large role to help with the clean-up.”
While the long bloody war is over, the post-war bridges of trust between former warring factions are far from built.
“Obviously, trust can’t be built overnight, but I believe the majority side needs to continue showing leadership in the reconciliation effort,” said MP Shory.
“The area to which we were taken shows that steps are being made in the right direction, but we were also told by opposition members that we were not shown the hardest-hit areas close to the ocean where the primary livelihood is fishing and where there is much more de-mining left to be done.”
“I do feel there needs to be more of a push by the majority to create local jobs and to encourage inclusiveness,” said MP Shory.
“They need to demonstrate political will for resolution by encouraging local Tamils of the North to become a part and parcel of the decision-making process. Also, free and transparent elections should be held in the North as soon as possible. However, the Opposition also needs to remain assertive with the long-term goal of achieving a healthy relationship for the benefit of future generations.”
Besides being Member of Parliament for Calgary Northeast, Devinder Shory is also Co-Chair of the Canada-India Parliamentary Friendship Group and Vice-Chair of the Canadian Commonwealth Parliamentary Association. MP Shory was joined on the Sri Lanka delegation by his Canadian parliamentary colleagues MP Russ Hiebert, MP Joe Daniel, Senator David Smith and Senator Raynell Andreychuk.