The ceremony was commenced with hoisting the national flag and singing the national anthem in Sinhala and Tamil languages, followed by observance of two minute silence in honour of our National Heroes. Sri Lanka says its relations with Canada remains very warm and cordial.The Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Canada, M.A.K. Girihagama said that the priority of the Sri Lankan mission in Canada was to strengthen trade and economic relations with Canada. The traditional oil lamp was lit by guests representing all communities and Sri Lankan associations based in Ottawa. Religious discourses were delivered by the members of the clergy representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths.The message of President Maithripala Sirisena was read by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to Canada, while those of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Minister of Foreign Affairs Tilak Marapana were read by Ms. Sithara Khan, Deputy High Commissioner and Ms. Mithila Perera, Second Secretary of the High Commission. He was speaking at the celebrations held to mark the 71st Anniversary of Sri Lanka’s Independence at the Sri Lanka High Commissioner’s Official Residence in Ottawa, Canada with the participation of over 120 Sri Lankan Community members. A luncheon was hosted by the High Commission at the conclusion of the ceremony. (Colombo Gazette) Speaking on the occasion, High Commissioner Girihagama noted that the main challenge that Sri Lanka is facing today is bringing economic prosperity to the country. He enumerated several positive developments in Sri Lanka in terms of imports, exports, and tourism sectors and emphasized the need of committed and planned economic drive to a better economic growth in 2019.Referring to the substantial presence of Canadians of Sri Lankan extraction on the occasion, the High Commissioner referred to them as the greatest strength to Sri Lanka’s efforts in promoting bilateral relations with Canada.The 71st National Day celebration was attended by the Sri Lankan community members including, particularly, a group of Tamil community members from the city of Montreal, depicting strong friendship and reconciliation.