"We wanted Mr. Ignatieff to speak to us last month but he said he wanted to wait until he became the official leader of the Liberal Party and then the leader of the opposition before he spoke to us," said Thomas Saras, President of the National Ethnic Press and Media Council of Canada (NEPMCC).
Michael Ignatieff spoke to the NEPMCC at the Ontario Legislative Chambers, Queens' Park, on May 11th 2009, while the Sri Lankan Tamils were holding a hunger strike and demonstration outside.
A quarter of the gathering of ethnic media, were Tamils, questions ready, but Saros kept them to only one. The Tamil question was, why the Liberals hadn't supported the Tamil cause (enough).
"A close friend to whom I delivered a lecture of commemmoration, was blown up by a member of the Tamil Tigers, and yes I've made the party's position perfectly clear time and time again, the Tamil Tigers are an internationally designated "terrorist organization" with whom the Liberal Party cannot have direct contact. Let me add something else, this Party has been very clear in its position that there must be a cease fire. Military attacks on innocent civilians must stop. There must be humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians." said Ignatieff.
"In relation to our relations with Russia, Russia is obviously one of the great powers of the 21st century but we have some concerns about Russia. Canada has historically some deep and close ties with Ukraine, we want to make sure Ukranian independence is safeguarded and maintained and that there are no risks to the territorial integrity of Ukraine from the Russian Federation. That the Russian authorities will respect the independence not only of the Ukraine but all the successor republics, free states, that were established in the wake of the end of the Soviet Union. It applies to the Baltic States, Ukraine, the Georgia issue is one that raised concern. We understand the Russian point of view but every one of the successor states looked at the Georgian operation with some concern. We respect the Russian Federation as a great power, I have Russian heritage, I have great natural affection for the Russian people but we have longstanding committments to Ukraine and the Baltic States and many of the other successor states and we want to make sure they flourish in independence and freedom,`said Ignatieff.
Mr. Ignatieff fielded more questions answering them all in detail. When he was finished he was mobbed by many of those who wanted to ask more questions.
Michael Ignatieff, Leader of the Liberal Party Speaks to the Ethnic Media