Sri Lanka’s National Day was celebrated at the Sri Lanka High Commissioner’s Official Residence in Canada in the presence of over 160 guests who braved a wintry day to be present on the occasion.
The message of President Maithripala Sirisena was read by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, Ahmed A. Jawad, while those of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera were read by Waruna Wilpatha, Minister at the High Commission and Chandrakumar Chellaturai, a Canadian of Sri Lankan descent. The traditional oil lamp was lit by guests belonging to all communities.
Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Ahmed A Jawad enumerated important developments in Sri Lanka in the past year and the rapid growth in Sri Lanka-Canada relations, including the visit of the Foreign Minister of Canada, the first in 13 years, the formation of the Sri Lanka-Canada Friendship Group in the Canadian Parliament and the initialing of a fully-fledged Code Share Agreement between the two countries, after nearly 14 years since the initial request, among others.
The High Commissioner expressed satisfaction at the trajectory of bi-lateral ties and expressed the hope of expanded growth in relations in 2017. He concluded his address stating: “A nation is not wrought overnight. It is built brick by brick. Undoubtedly much has been achieved in the last 69 years. It is a Sri Lanka in which all its citizens endeavour to live in a spirit of unity in diversity that we aspire to build; one in which all Sri Lankans are proud to call themselves Sri Lankan.”
Referring to the substantial presence of Canadians of Sri Lankan extraction on the occasion, the High Commissioner referred to them as a vital link between the two countries, a link by which they have also enriched Canada.
A reception was hosted by the High Commissioner and Farzana Jawad at the conclusion of the ceremony.