What will the Office of Religious Freedom do?
Its mandate is to promote freedom of religion or belief. The government says this promotion will be a Canadian “foreign policy priority.”
According to a government backgrounder, the office is supposed to “promote freedom of religion and belief, consistent with core Canadian values such as freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”
The office’s formal mandate includes:
- Protecting, and advocating on behalf of, religious minorities under threat.
- Opposing religious hatred and intolerance.
- Promoting Canadian values of pluralism and tolerance abroad.
The ambassador has been told to raise awareness of religious freedom and call specific attention to those violations, speaking out in Canada and abroad.
The office will have a full-time staff of five, including Ambassador Bennett, and has been given a budget of $5 million a year. It will operate within the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Why was the office created?