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Harper tells Sri Lanka to reinstate chief justice after 'politicized' dismissal

Associated Press

OTTAWA - Canada appears one step closer to boycotting this year's Commonwealth leaders' summit with Prime Minister Stephen Harper bluntly calling on the Sri Lankan government to reinstate the country's fired chief justice.

Harper has threatened to ignore the 54-country summit that Sri Lanka hosts later this year because he has serious concerns about the country's commitment to human rights and democracy since the country's long civil war ended in 2009.

The latest flashpoint came Friday when President Mahinda Rajapaksa dismissed the country's chief justice, Shirani Bandaranayake, after a widely condemned impeachment process.

Harper is warning the Sri Lankan government to change course on the decision and respect the country's constitution.

The move sparked protests today in the South Asian country and raised fears of a constitutional crisis if the government moves to replace Bandaranayake.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar wants Harper to "state unequivocally" that he will boycott the summit in Colombo.

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