Ottawa, ON – The Hon. Pierre Poilievre, Leader of the Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition, released the following statement on Thai Pongal: 

“As one of the oldest civilizations in the world, the Tamil people are the inheritors of a rich and enduring language and heritage. Today, Tamil culture connects people in every corner of the globe, including here in Canada, the proud home to one of the largest Tamil diasporas in the world.

“Today, the Tamil people begin the celebration of Thai Pongal – an iconic symbol of Tamil history and heritage. For the next three days, Tamils in Canada, Sri Lanka and around the world will celebrate the harvest and give thanks for the blessings they have received. With each passing year, Tamils continue to prevail over the forces that have tried to destroy them. The colours of the kolam shine brighter with the knowledge that, against all odds, their people have endured.

“The persistence of the Tamil culture is a shining testament to their inspiring resilience. During periods of oppression, they have boldly defended their way of life. Even through the pain and cruelty of the Tamil Genocide, Tamils have faithfully drawn on the strength of their heritage as they fight to bring home freedom and justice for their people.

“Additionally, as Canadians mark the 15th annual Tamil Heritage Month, we join Tamils in Canada and around the world in their ongoing demand for justice. The work was started by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper when he refused to participate in the Commonwealth summit in Sri Lanka over human rights abuses.

“A Poilievre government will continue working closely with the Tamil community to fight for human rights in Sri Lanka. We stand with human rights advocates calling for the arrest of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to answer for his crimes. We renew our calls for the release of political prisoners. We will use tools like Magnitsky sanctions to demand accountability for the crimes that have been committed so we can pave the way for a better, brighter future for Tamils around the world.

“Happy Tamil Heritage Month, and Happy Thai Pongal!”