Canadian PM To Interfaith With His Holiness the Dalai Lama
NEW YORK, April 15, 2004: According to a press release issued today by the Canada Tibet Committee, Prime Minister Paul Martin will attend an interfaith event, a private meeting of community and religious leaders, in Ottawa next week with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
The event will be hosted by His Excellency Marcel Gervais, the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Ottawa.
The jubilant Canadian Tibetans and their supporters hailed the Prime Minister’s announcement as a historic decision by the Government of Canada. Thubten Samdup, national president of the Canada Tibet Committee, expressed his “heartfelt appreciation to Prime Minister Martin for making this important and significant decision”. “I extend my thanks to all Canadians from across this country, who have consistently supported our efforts on behalf of the Tibetan people,” said Samdup.
His Holiness will be in Ottawa from April 21 through 24. During the visit, he will meet parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations and academics to discuss “what role Canadian civil society and government could play in his efforts to protect human rights and democratic freedoms in Tibet”, said the press release from the Canada Tibet Committee.
Meanwhile, China’s reference to Quebec in condemning what it called the Dalai Lama’s “separatist activities” has had the effect of angering a large number of Canadian public.
The Canadian Conservative Party spokesman Stockwell is quoted by Reuters as having said, “In Canada, when we have Canadians who are thinking about independence, we reach out with persuasion and reason, not with military tactics.”
“This is typically aggressive and provocative Chinese diplomacy…. We need to be equally assertive in our response (and say) that Canada is a sovereign nation and our leaders will decide with whom and when they want to meet.”
a report by Oot, New York