Sri Lankan journalists visit Forum of Federations as part of their study tour. From left: Ms. Ayesha Zuhair (senior feature writer, Daily Mirror), and Mr. Anura Solomons (deputy editor, Divaina).
The Forum of Federations, with the support from the Canadian High Commission in Colombo, organized and hosted a 10-day study tour for six Sri Lankan journalists.
The study tour demonstrated how a federal system of power-sharing enables Canada, a long-established federation, to succeed as a multicultural, multilingual and plural society.
Between February 26 and March 6, 2007, the Sri Lankan journalists visited four Canadian cities (Ottawa, MontrÃ©al, QuÃ©bec City and Toronto) where they met with government officials, academics and journalists familiar with federalism-related issues. Topics of discussion included:
* intergovernmental relations from a federal and provincial perspectives
* official languages policy
* status of indigenous peoples
* the Charter of the French language
* a number of round table discussions with the colleagues from the journalism field
The group was especially interested in issues surrounding QuÃ©bec and the Official Languages Policy. In the words of one journalist, ‘It is an experience that we can certainly learn from.’
Participants included Victor Ivan (chief editor, Ravaya), Anura Solomons (deputy editor, Divaina), Jatila Wellabada (chief editor, Lakbima), Ayesha Zuhair (senior feature writer, Daily Mirror), Sharmini Boyle (chief editor, Young Asia Television), and David Jeyaraj (freelance journalist, writing for Sunday Leader). Irina Shmakova, from the Forum of Federations, coordinated the study tour and accompanied the group on their visits.
Several journalists have subsequently written articles on their experience in Canada:
- The Power Sharing Experience in Canada, D.B.S. Jeyaraj
- Power-sharing in Canada is a process of continued negotiations based on mutual respect, Ayesha Zuhair
- Bilingualism in Canada: Lessons for Sri Lanka, Ayesha Zuhair
- Of power-sharing arrangements and conflict transformation, Ayesha Zuhair
- Separatist violence in Canada and Sri Lanka, D.B.S. Jeyaraj
- Can ‘Autonomous’ Quebec in Canada inspire ‘Eelam’ within United Sri Lanka?, D.B.S. Jeyaraj