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Friday, October 07, 2011

Canada's Office of Religious Freedom

John Baird is the Minister for Foreign Affairs in Canada's federal government under our Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. A few days ago he announced the establishment of an Office for Religious Freedom [Rights and freedoms and religion].
Societies that protect religious freedom are more likely to protect all other fundamental freedoms. They are typically more stable and more prosperous societies. This view has been reinforced in consultations I’ve had around the world so far.

I honestly believe it is critically important that Canada is uniquely placed to protect and promote religious freedom around the world.

We are a country of many ethnicities and religions, but we all share one humanity—one of tolerance, one of acceptance, one of peace and security.

Canada has spoken out against violations of freedom around the world.


It was former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who, during his time in office, championed human rights both in Canada and around the world. On the day he introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights in Parliament, he spoke these words:

“I am a Canadian, …, free to speak without fear, free to worship God in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and mankind.”

I pledge to continue this tradition. But I of course can’t do this alone.

And we as a country are compelled to get this right.

That’s why I’m glad each of you is here to share your expertise, insights and experiences.

I’m extremely pleased at the calibre of people gathered here.

I know this is a challenging task, but, then again, Canadians stand for what is right, not what is easy, so I have no doubt we here today are up to that challenge.

It is our common duty to defend the rights of the afflicted, and to give voice to the voiceless.

Our positions will not soften, our determination will not lessen, and our voices will not be diminished until all citizens can enjoy the freedoms and rights we hold to be universal and true.

Through our combined efforts, I am confident that the Office of Religious Freedom can help do just that.
This is so exciting. It means that Canada will soon delete "God keep our land glorious and free!" from the national anthem. It means that all provinces will have to stop funding religious schools—especially when they give preference to one religion over another. It means that there will be federal laws enforcing a ban on saying prayers at public meetings (e.g. Praying before City Council Meetings). It means an end to tax-exempt status for religious institutions.

And, best of all, it means that "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law: " will be removed from our constitution.

That is what John Baird meant, right?


  1. Somehow, I doubt it...

    This is the kind of thing done by people who believe in a distinction between freedom *of* religion and freedom *from* religion.

  2. The last part of the quote appears to be omitted: "We will protect your right to be christian of any denomination whether catholic, or Anglican, maybe even some other religion as long as your not a damn atheist."

  3. "That is what John Baird meant, right?"

    Oooh boy, don't know how to break this to you Larry...


  4. Boy, Larry,
    Seems you Canadians simply will not rest until you are exact clones of that country immediately to your south which you personally hate so much.

  5. Your list is missing the abolition of those divine rights some family claims to have over the country.

  6. I'm with Larry although everything after "This is so exciting" is my wish list.

    Re: "freedom *from* religion"

    I wrote John Baird to ask him if the Office for Religious Freedom will guarantee freedom *from* religion. I'm waiting for a reply.

  7. Please see