Oct 07, 2013
By Andy Johnson
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is going to boycott this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo, to protest what he calls deteriorating human rights conditions in Sri Lanka. Harper told reporters at the A-PEC summit in Bali today that Canada is deeply concerned about the situation, pointing to the impeachment this year of the Sri Lankan Chief Justice, along with reports of judicial killings, the intimidation of political leaders and journalists and the harassment of minorities. The prime minister says the Commonwealth must defend the basic principles of freedom, democracy and respect for human dignity, in order to remain relevant. He has also asked Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister to review Canada’s significant financial contributions to Commonwealth programs.