October 3, 2011
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird holds a round-table consultation on October 3, 2011, regarding the establishment of Canada's Office of Religious Freedom at the headquarters of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada in Ottawa. Minister Baird welcomed close to 100 religious leaders, association representatives and experts from across Canada to give their input as the government prepares to deliver on its promise of establishing an Office of Religious Freedom.
"It is our common duty to defend the rights of the afflicted, and to give voice to the voiceless," Minister Baird said. He added, "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."
This is one of several consultations the government is conducting across the country and around the world. The Office of Religious Freedom is a key priority for the government. The commitment was included in the Speech from the Throne on June 3, 2011, and again in Minister Baird's speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 26, 2011.