Harper and Ignatieff blew it, both support a new religious office under foreign affairs proposed by the Conservatives. The Liberal party is against it though. Good thing. Neither Harper nor Ignatieff will get my vote for this dumb idea. Could cost $5 M. No one is serious about reducing the deficit. Newsflash: there is no existence of any g/God. None.

Ignatieff at odds with party over Tories' religious freedom proposals - The Globe and Mail
Ignatieff at odds with party over Tories' religious freedom proposals

Jane Taber

Globe and Mail Update

Posted on Saturday, April 9, 2011 3:33PM EDT

It’s not all that bad. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff acknowledged Saturday that he actually likes a promise contained in the Harper Conservative election platform – the one to create a $5-million Office of Religious Freedoms.

“We think an initiative like is the kind of thing that ought to have the support of all sides in politics,” Mr. Ignatieff told reporters Saturday at a press conference in downtown Toronto. “When you see in Egypt peaceful members of the Coptic community being attacked, when you see Baha’is being persecuted in Iran, when you see Jews being persecuted, when you see Christians unable to practice their religion freely in China, I think all Canadians believe in the importance of both defending religious freedom at home but also defending religious freedom abroad.”
The office would be housed in the department of Foreign Affairs and would monitor religious freedom around the world.

Mr. Ignatieff cautioned, however, that this office should not be “politicized”. Whatever work is done must also respect “the sovereignty of countries overseas.”

“The defence of religious freedom is unconditional. It applies to all religious group,” he said. “So I think a stout and courageous defence of religious freedom overseas is a good thing for Canada.”

Mr. Ignatieff's endorsement of the idea is at odds with people in his own party, however. Yesterday a number of Liberal candidates dumped on the idea, according to a Canadian press story.

The story had Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae accusing the Conservatives of creating the new office merely to win support in ethnic communities. “It has much more to do with Canadian domestic politics than it has to do with the necessity of having a coherent strategy for the promotion of democracy and human rights,” said Mr. Rae.

Liberal MP David McGuinty also criticized the move and said Canada already has a safeguard for religious freedom. “We have a document in this country that does that; it's called the Charter of Rights.”