Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne congratulated the community following the passage of Bill 156, Tamil Heritage Month Act, 2014 today. Earlier, political parties quarreled over who would take credit over the Bill.
At 12:03pm this afternoon, Lieutenant-Governor David Onley gave Royal Assent to Bill 156, An Act to Proclaim the Month of January Tamil Heritage Month.
“I am pleased to extend my congratulations to the Ontario Tamil community on the proclamation of January as Tamil Heritage Month. This is a happy occasion for the community. I am excited that our government has delivered on its commitment to making Tamil Heritage Month a reality,” the Premier said.
Earlier this month the minority Liberal government accused both opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and Progressive Conservative (PC) Party of politicizing the event. Both opposition parties have fielded members of the Sri Lankan Tamil community in previous elections. The president of Ontario NDP is Neethan Shan, who spearheaded the Tamil Heritage initiative in the community. Meanwhile, the PC party have fielded Ken Kirupa and Shan Thayaparan.
“It’s a great day,” said the bill’s sponsor, PC MPP Todd Smith. “I just look back to when I promised the community that I would bring this bill in and try to get it passed. It took five tries. But five weeks after introducing it, we now have Tamil Heritage Month in Ontario.”
Liberal Minister Micheal Coteau sent a series of letters to the community and media outlets claiming the opposition parties were playing “political football” over the cause he had championed in the past.
“I don’t think it’s a surprise that the Liberal Party, both provincially and federally, is a little worried about their so-called monopoly over some ethnic communities, including the Tamil community.”
“I don’t think it’s a surprise that the Liberal Party, both provincially and federally, is a little worried about their so-called monopoly over some ethnic communities, including the Tamil community. Other parties are naturally seeking to pledge their commitment to issues that are important to the Tamil community with the hope that some in the community will see value in voting for the NDP or PC as well,” said Amarnath Amarasingam, a post-doctoral fellow at York University.
“I think MPP Coteau is worried that his earlier efforts at instituting the Tamil Heritage Month will be forgotten, or not appreciated.”
Yet today marked a special moment in the community’s history in Canada.
“Ontario is home to more than 40,000 Tamil Canadians who are making significant contributions to the growth and prosperity of our province,” the Premier added in her statement.
“Tamil Heritage Month is an opportunity to remember, celebrate and educate future generations about the inspirational role that Tamil Canadians have played and continue to play in our communities across Ontario.”