Rise of the Conservative-Socialist Coalition (Scene 1)

From Question Period this afternoon.

Hon. Jack Layton (Toronto—Danforth, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the Sri Lankan civil war is rapidly becoming a blood bath. This weekend, indiscriminate bombing has killed hundreds, perhaps even thousands of civilians, a hundred of them children, by reports we are hearing. Canada’s 300,000 Tamils are calling, writing, appealing and are in the streets asking for our government to help. We simply cannot stand by and watch this slaughter continue. Will the Prime Minister or his senior government officials agree to meet with respected leaders of the Tamil community to discuss the crisis, and will he be in touch with the President of Sri Lanka to call a halt to the blood bath?

Hon. Bev Oda (Minister of International Cooperation, CPC): Mr. Speaker, first let me commend the leader of the NDP for the help he gave in diffusing the situation in the demonstrations yesterday in Toronto. We will continue to have discussions. Many of the government members have met with the Tamil community. We share their concerns. We will continue to dialogue with them. We will have meetings with any Tamil community representative that is not part of a terrorist organization. We are working to enhance the ability for members of the government at senior level to meet with this community.

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