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Harper launches "Office of Religious Freedoms"

Bacchus

TRIBE Promoter
what the christ?

Details about a long-awaited Office of Religious Freedom, and the person who will lead it, will be announced today by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Harper first promised the new branch of Foreign Affairs nearly two years ago during the last federal election campaign.

The announcement will be made at the Ahmadiyya Muslim community centre and mosque in Vaughan, Ont., a community north of Toronto.

The government's plan has been delayed for several months after it was revealed that Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird had trouble filling the top job.

Senior government sources told CBC News in the fall that at least two people had turned down the position of ambassador after being approached by Baird.

The foreign affairs minister, who is on a six-country tour of Latin America this week, will not attend the announcement.

Harper will be joined by International Co-operation Minister Julian Fantino, who represents Vaughan in the House of Commons, and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney, a key player in the Harper government's relationship with ethnic communities.

The new office is reported to have a price tag of $5 million, including $500,000 for operations.

NDP foreign affairs critic Paul Dewar said there are many questions to be answered on what role the office will play.

"It really is a question of at what cost to other areas?" said Dewar. "Are they going to come forward with other initiatives on human rights protections, democratic development?"

The idea of an office has not been without controversy over a possible bias and which religious communities it will represent.

In 2011, a closed-door meeting about the office, organized by the government, was criticized by some scholars after it turned out four of the six panellists being consulted were drawn from Christian religions, with the other two being Jewish and Ba'hai.

Around the same time, Baird went to Washington to meet with Suzan Johnson Cook, head of the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom, which the Canadian office may be modelled after.

The U.S. office was put in place by the Clinton administration.

Harper launching long-awaited religious freedom office - Politics - CBC News
 

erika

TRIBE Member
This sounds like it has the potential to be bad; it seems to prioritize religious freedom over other issues (women's/ children's/sexual rights for example).

Given Fantino's record in his new post, I view anything coming from him (not to mention Harper) with suspicion.
 

Bacchus

TRIBE Promoter
I see absolutely no good that can come of this. Canada already has its religious freedoms protected, through the Charter of Rights.... and Office is no necessary.


I only see "Freedom" happening in an orwellian way.
 

Hi i'm God

TRIBE Member
It's genius. He's got the brown vote locked up tight. They are already a conservative bunch so they like when Harper visits their mosques and temples, his lip service to what they perceive is their own religious protection (that they already have), not to mention bringing his lap dog Kenny the Immigration minister with him. It's his way to win the 905.
 

rentboy

TRIBE Member
It's genius. He's got the brown vote locked up tight. They are already a conservative bunch so they like when Harper visits their mosques and temples, his lip service to what they perceive is their own religious protection (that they already have), not to mention bringing his lap dog Kenny the Immigration minister with him. It's his way to win the 905.
It's looking that way.


Bennett, in his early forties, said he would be dealing with a "human issue, not a theological issue" and that even those who choose not to have a faith would be protected.

So, why is it called Religious Freedom and not Freedom of Human Rights? it doesn't make much sense. And a nice waste of $5 million for something that already exists within the Charter.
 
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erika

TRIBE Member
And other write-ups talk about Christians being the most highly persecuted religious group out there - not sure what that does for the "brown" vote...
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
And other write-ups talk about Christians being the most highly persecuted religious group out there - not sure what that does for the "brown" vote...
The victimology is strong in them... It's like they have some martyr complex or something...

:confused:
 

Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
My tax dollars spent on religious freedoms?

Hrmph. Can't say I'm a fan, given that I'm not religious...but many Canadians are. Could be good, though...make some of the Canadian people happy.

S'what politicians do...try to get the things that their constituents want done, no?
 

djfear

TRIBE Member
Orwellian is right. Ministry of truth, ministry of peace, and now the ministry of religious freedom! :)
 
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Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
Well...much of our economy is booming because of natural resources like the tarsands...and the people elected a very non-environmentallly friendly party as a majority.

Makes sense that money would be spent to try and spin a source of income that's pretty horrible for the environment as a good thing...Gotta get at least a handful of the minority on board.

We citizens elected the folks spending this money...Dunno, can't say I'm surprised by much of what goes on. We did make this bed.
 

Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
Oh no doubt. Fracking for natural gas ain't great either...especially for ground water. Some folks up here have had their faucets put out some flammable "water"...not unlike some doc I watched about it down in the US...

Perhaps the people will choose to elect a more environmentally friendly government, next time 'round.

I hope so, but even if they do...will it be politically feasible to shut these economic powerhouses down? Of that, I have my doubts.
 
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basketballjones

TRIBE Member
the only thing i want to hear from the gov about religion in relation to gov is it has no power, is no longer tax exempt and is no longer recognized as a charity
 

Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
Although it's kind of like the Kinsmen/Oddfellows/Rotary/etc clubs...both they and many of the religious groups 'round here pitch in and help the community.

So I get why they are tax exempt, and charities...because in effect, they behave the same...and better than many secular "charities" out there.
 
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Blysspluss

TRIBE Member
Very little that our politicians do is any more than distraction. Especially if it gets a lot of play in the news.

Too bad they can't man/woman up and be more productive. Least that's the way I see things.
 
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