Ottawa, April 1, 2016
“I am deeply disappointed to learn that the Trudeau government has decided to end the mandate of the Office of Religious Freedom, despite clear support from various community, religious and faith groups across the country and despite an urgent need to protect Canadian values abroad.
“Religious freedom is a very important universal right for Canadians, and yet we are witnessing an increasing number of violations of religious freedom that are having devastating effects on individuals and communities, as well as on global security and stability. Closing an office dedicated to religious freedom puts our diplomats and politicians at a disadvantage. They need to have a better understanding of how religious issues impact international affairs in other countries.
“The Liberal government fails to recognize that religious persecution is increasing, is profoundly felt on the international stage and has been witnessed in global events. Eliminating the Office of Religious Freedom will have a negative impact on how we deal with closed societies, such as those in Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, where the government regulates, limits, restricts or forbids the exercise of freedom of religion or belief in the interest of national unity and public order.
“Canada will be missing out on an opportunity to act as a world leader to protect people of all convictions and faiths who have experienced human rights abuses merely for wanting to live out their beliefs peacefully.”