Religious freedom czar backs diplomats, aims to make Canada a world leader - InfoNews

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Religious freedom czar backs diplomats, aims to make Canada a world leader

Dr. Andrew Bennett is shown at a news conference in Maple, Ont., north of Toronto, Tuesday, Feb.19, 2013. Bennett says his job advancing and promoting religious liberty around the globe has an equally important role: to support Canadian diplomats as they work abroad. Bennett's words of praise for the Canadian foreign service comes despite years of tension between diplomats and the very Conservative government that created his job early last year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
December 30, 2013 - 8:00 AM

OTTAWA - Canada's religious freedom ambassador says his job advancing and promoting religious liberty around the globe has an equally important role: to support Canadian diplomats as they work abroad.

Andrew Bennett's vote of confidence in the Canadian foreign service comes despite years of bad blood between diplomats and the very Conservative government that created his job early last year.

Bennett said in a recent interview that Canada's foreign service is "one of the best in the world" and diplomats have been working tirelessly for decades in nations where religion plays a critical and substantial role in the lives of its citizens.

One of his aspirations during his three-year stint is to work with diplomats to help them develop a "nuanced" understanding of the issues of religious liberty in the countries where they're serving.

But his No. 1 goal?

To ensure that "Canada is seen as a world leader in defending religious freedom."

He adds such a goal "fits squarely within our broader human rights framework within our foreign policy."

News from © The Canadian Press, 2013
The Canadian Press

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