The Tamil community in Brampton released an open letter to city council this week after a series of unfortunate events.
On January 10, a group from Sri Lanka attended a reception hosted in council chambers at City Hall, but council attendance was scarce, leaving dignitaries feeling slighted, and organizers embarrassed.
This was Honourable Justice C.V Vigneswaran, Chief Minister of Northern Province first foreign speaking appearance in Canada.
Members of the Tamil community were in attendance at the December 7, 2016 Economic Development Committee to extend an invitation and ensure council was aware of the visit.
All of council was present at the time, according to the minutes, including the mayor who is under no obligation to attend standing committee meetings.
Now councillors are attempting to save face by feigning ignorance and outrage in what the Tamil community is calling a move to “score political points.”
“To our disappointment, we have learnt that some members of the Council have taken issues with [the reception] afterwards to score political points,” reads the letter.
Councillors have said they were merely concerned the mayor was attempting to move forward at the reception with plans to enter into a sister city agreement with the Sri Lankan city of Vavuniya.
“I am concerned that it appears that council direction is being ignored,” Councillor Grant Gibson told the Brampton Guardian.
However, a unanimous vote was passed at the committee meeting to have staff research a potential agreement. Also, the mayor was already slated to be out of town on vacation on the date of the reception, with no intent to formalize an agreement.
“This false sense of outrage is misplaced because most of you knew [the] facts and yet decided to use this event for political purpose at the expense of our community,” the letter goes on to say.
It isn’t clear yet what impact the ordeal will have on the potential sister city agreement, as it is still being studied by city staff.
The Tamil community, which numbers 20,000 in Brampton, is asking council to put its differences aside and not let their personal politics jeopardize what could be a potential opportunity for the city.
Read the full letter below