Sri Lankan born Tamil Gary Anandasangaree appointed Canadian Minister

OTTAWA: Sri Lankan born Tamil MP Gary Anandasangaree has been appointed as a Cabinet Minister in the Canadian Government. He is the youngest son of former Kilinochchi and Jaffna MP and secretary-general of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Veerasingham Anandasangaree.

Gary has been appointed as the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, one of the seven rookie MPs promoted to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Cabinet following a major reshuffling on Wednesday.

He started his political journey in 2015 when he was elected as the Member of Parliament for Scarborough—Rouge Park. Throughout his career, he has held positions such as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage and Multiculturalism (Multiculturalism).

In addition to his political endeavors, Minister Anandasangaree is an internationally recognized human rights lawyer and community activist. He has been a tireless advocate for education and justice. His dedication led him to serve as Chair of the Canadian Tamil Youth Development Centre and President of the Canadian Tamils’ Chamber of Commerce. He was also counsel to the Canadian Tamil Congress and served on various boards, including the Youth Challenge Fund and the Toronto Police Chief’s Advisory Board.

Anandasangaree’s law firm, based in Scarborough, Ontario, specializes in business, real estate, and international human rights law. At the United Nations, he represented Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, passionately advocating for human rights. He also actively intervened in cases of wrongful student expulsion and suspension, advocating for local youth.

For his exceptional community service and advocacy work, Minister Anandasangaree has been honored with both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. He has also been recognized with the Osgoode Hall Law School “One to Watch” Gold Key Award and the South Asian Bar Association’s Young Practitioner Award. Minister Anandasangaree holds degrees from Carleton University and Osgoode Hall Law School.

Notably, in March, Anandasangaree made headlines for his comments on Sri Lanka, referring to it as “a failed and bankrupt state.” He later expressed regret for his remarks, expressing deep sadness over the recent violence in Sri Lanka.

The appointment of Anandasangaree to the Cabinet reflects the Trudeau government’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. He is the first Tamil MP to be appointed to a Cabinet position in Canada.

In his new role, Anandasangaree will oversee the government’s relationship with Indigenous peoples and contribute to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action.

He has expressed his dedication to working with Indigenous peoples to build a more just and equitable society while addressing the legacy of colonialism and residential schools.

“I am honored to be appointed to this important role,” Anandasangaree stated. “I look forward to working with Indigenous peoples to build a better future for all Canadians.”

Born in Sri Lanka, Gary Anandasangaree arrived in Canada with his mother in 1983, during the year of the Black July riots. He is married and has two children, Bairvai and Sahanah.

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