Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Letter from the Foreign Affairs Minister

BernierMaxime Several weeks ago, I sent a letter to Maxime Bernier, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs concerning the recent crackdown and trials of Christians in Algeria.  Today I received this response:

Dear Mr. Penner:

Thank you for your email of
February 11, 2008, in which you express concerns regarding the Christians' situation in Algeria. I regret the delay in replying to you.

The promotion and protection of human rights is an integral part of Canadian foreign policy. Canada stands up for human rights and takes principled positions on important issues to ensure that freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law, values that define this country, are enjoyed around the world. The Government of
Canada places great importance on respect for both religious freedom and freedom of expression.

The Canadian Embassy in
Algiers has informed me of the recent developments involving Christians in Algeria, particularly from the Evangelical Churches, which have been accused of proselytism. Some believers are also facing trials, as you point out in your letter.
I am concerned by this recent trend in
Algeria. My officials will raise the issue with Algeria, and insist that Algeria respect the religious rights of its citizens in accordance with the international conventions signed by the Government of Algeria.

We will continue to monitor developments in this case and the situation facing the wider Christian community in


Maxime Bernier
Minister of Foreign Affairs

I don't generally get very excited about such letters, to be honest. I have received others.  This one happens to be written better than most, though, and seems to be more than just a standard form response that government officials are prone to crank out to mollify the masses. 

Please pray that the Canadian government's actions in Algeria will bear fruit and that our officials will continue to speak up for the religious rights for Christians (and all others) in countries around the world.

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