The Honourable Rob Nicholson, Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, recently announced the establishment of an External Advisory Committee on religious freedom. The committee is comprised of 23 members from a variety of Canadian faith and belief communities, including the Director of Government Relations for the Baha’i Community of Canada, Corinne Box.
The Baha’i member was appointed by the government to serve as the vice-chair of the Advisory Committee. Father Raymond J. de Souza, a Roman Catholic priest from Kingston, was appointed chair and Malik Talib, President of the Aga Khan Council for Canada, was appointed as a second vice chair.
The Committee will advise the Office of Religious Freedom on the exercise of its mandate to promote and defend religious freedom internationally as a central element of Canada’s foreign policy. The inaugural meeting of the Committee was held at the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada building in Ottawa in late June with Minister Nicholson and Dr. Andrew Bennett, Canada’s Ambassador for Religious Freedom. The Committee will meet semi-annually.