Controversy over Toronto Mayor calling off Colombo business meet


Toronto Mayor John Tory

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Many an eyebrow has been raised over Toronto Mayor John Tory cancelling a scheduled business meeting hosted by Toronto’s Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo on March 20.

 Canada based sources told The Island that representatives of Toronto companies and organizations were scheduled to attend the business meet along with Mayor Tory, Councillor Michael Thompson, Chair of the Economic Development Committee, and newly elected Councillor Neethan Shan, a Canadian of Sri Lankan origin. Sources said that the Canada-Sri Lanka Business Council had been told of the cancellation of the event on March 2 though no reason was given. 

Shan is the first Lankan Tamil Canadian on Toronto City Council.

The Canadian delegation is scheduled to begin a 10-day business mission to India and Sri Lanka on March 15.

Sources said that they weren’t aware of the Canadian delegation’s new March 20 schedule in Colombo.

 Responding to a question, sources said that Sri Lanka’s Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran had extended an invitation to Mayor Tory when the former visited Toronto in January this year.

 During the Canadian delegation’s visit to India, there’ll be meetings with a number of international companies, including Paytm, IBI group, the Jubilant Bhartia Group, Hero Group, Tata Group and Datawind, according to the foreign media. Mayor Tory will also be participating in a keynote discussion with filmmaker Deepa Mehta at a three-day media and entertainment convention in Mumbai.

 Sources said that Councillor Neethan Shan had fled Sri Lanka at the age of 16 during the eelam war and was coming back home for the first time. He elected at Feb 2017 by-election.

Canada-based Sri Lankan sources welcomed Mayor Tory’s visit to Jaffna.

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