Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A word from our new Ambassador of Religious Freedom

"Religion, artificially divorced from the public sphere, makes for an impoverished politics at best, and a benighted political class at worst."
Our new Ambassador of Religious Freedom, Andrew P. W. Bennett, 2 years a dean of Augustine College,  is passionate about returning religious discourse to public life.
Our "official secular religion", he argues two years ago here, "violates freedom of religious expression." 

Huh.

In April 2011, ImmMin Jason Kenney announced that Canada's religious freedom office "would be modeled after the Office of International Religious Freedom within the US Department of State," whose head is styled as an ambassador. 

Two days ago, in announcing our ambassador for the new Office of Religious Freedom within Foreign Affairs, Harper "denied the office would be modeled after its U.S. counterpart, which has been accused of being biased towards Christians"

Really?
A closed-door ORF Stakeholders Conference in 2011 chaired by Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the following four out of six Christian panelists advised the government 
  • Thomas Farr, the State Department's first director of the U.S. Office of International Religious Freedom. Catholic
  • Father Raymond De Souza, Roman Catholic priest, NattyPost columnist, and on the Board of Directors at The Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs
  • Anne Brandner, former policy analyst with the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada., which "promotes Biblical principles on matters of public policy"
  • Don Hutchinson, vice-president of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, who yesterday suggested : "A key part of the ambassador’s job should be to help formulate immigration policy."
  • Frank Dimant, CEO of B'nai Brith Canada and Chair of the Department of Modern Israel Studies at Charles McVety's Evangelical Canada Christian College .
  • Susanne Tamas of the Baha'i Community of Canada.
Our Ambassador of Religious Freedom has a Ph.D in political science and has been a policy research & analysis manager at Natural Resources Canada and senior political risk analyst at Export Development Canada. He is currently working part-time towards a theology degree in Ottawa.

Which of the above credentials do you think will be most useful to him in defending "freedom of religious expression" against our "official secular religion" ?

Update -- DJ : 'Acids of Modernity' at a Christian Finishing School Ha!
.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

What a total farce. There are no ethics, morals nor Democracy left in this country, what-so-ever. What decent Canadian would ever support, such a monster as Harper? What kind of a leader, would give their country to a Communist country?

What about Harper's religion? During Harper's x-mas interview, he declared himself, a devout Christian. He said, he prays for guidance every day. When Harper was Policy Chief for his, Northern Foundation Party of 1989? He was linked with Christian Fundamentalists, among other dubious links. I wonder how the Ambassador of Religious Freedom, will fit Harper in? Religious groups are already scrapping about, some Religions are favored over others.

What will happen, when other Religious Groups, learn of Harper's religion, and what his religion stands for?

Canadians have no say, what goes on in this country, what-so-ever. Freedom? What Freedom. I have yet to hear Freedom of anything, in a Dictatorship government?

Hear of any Freedom, in Communist China? How about Tibet? China seems to have a lot to say and do, regarding Freedom of Religion in that country. What will the Mr. Ambassador and Harper do about that? That is one, I am certainly going to watch.

West End Bob said...

In April 2011, ImmMin Jason Kenney announced that Canada's religious freedom office "would be modeled after the Office of International Religious Freedom within the US Department of State," whose head is styled as an ambassador.

Two days ago, in announcing our ambassador for the new Office of Religious Freedom within Foreign Affairs, Harper "denied the office would be modeled after its U.S. counterpart, which has been accused of being biased towards Christians".


Not to worry, Alison.

It's just the reformaTories being consistently inconsistent as usual . . . .

thwap said...

When harper is defeated, this multi-million dollar travesty will be one of the first things shut down.

Anonymous said...

Through “purposeful distortion or genuine ignorance,” hardcore hyper-partisan politics often co-opt religious doctrine to justify or further their crimes.

e.a.f. said...

stevie slime and slimers have money for this but no money to save lives by keeping the Coast Guard station at Kits open. these slimers need to remember the ten commandaments, which includes, thou shalt not kill. By closing the Kits Coast Guard station people will die as sure as their god made little green apples.

May they all rot in hell.

Alison said...

Harper doesn't care for the UN so he's set up his own narrower version of one of the human rights the UN is supposed to be about and modeled it on the US version which was lobbied into existence by evangelicals. The EU is looking to do their own version. Once upon a time in Canada we had Rights and Democracy under Remy Beauregard.

Bennett btw is currently on leave from his dayjob as Manager of Science Policy, Evidence and Analysis at the Science and Policy Integration division of the Dept of Natural Resources.

thwap said...

Wingnut welfare.

Steve said...

Its a Monty Python tribute.

Beijing York said...

I wonder when Bennett first entered the civil service and at what capacity because he certainly has been fast-tracked into very senior positions. Management and other senior positions are usually reserved for long-term professional bureaucrats that have slowly risen to the top by taking on one promotion after another throughout the civil service. The exception is when a department recruits for specific content expertise. His educational background doesn't seem to make him particularly expert at science policy. Perhaps his PhD in Political Science focused on political risk analysis and that got him his first two federal jobs.

I'd be curious to find out more about the following:

Did he first enter the federal civil service post 2005 and in a somewhat patronage position in the PCO?

What was his PhD dissertation about and was it published?

Is he bilingual or multilingual?

Does he have any overseas "work" experience besides studying in Scotland?

What do the scientists (past or present) working for him at Natural Resources think of him?

Alison said...

Steve : Ha! You just know I'm gonna have to do a vid on that at some point!

BY : Ok, to make a start on my homework assignment ;-) :

Andrew Peter Wallace Bennett, PhD: "Nations of distinction : an analysis of nationalist perspectives on constitutional change in Quebec, Catalunya, and Scotland"
Edinburgh, 1997-2002
nationalism and independence movements in Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, Spain

However according to his Linked In bio, he was already working in the PCO by then :

Senior Policy Analyst, Privy Council Office
May 2001 – Sept 2004 (3 years 5 months)

Senior Political Risk Analyst
Export Development Canada
Jan 2005 – Dec 2009 (5 years)

Manager
Natural Resources Canada
July 2011 – Feb 2013 (1 year 8 months)
Currently on leave of absence

Dean and Professor
Augustine College
May 2010 – Present (2 years 10 months)

Languages : French, Catalan

A 2008 EDC finance report he wrote on Russia

A 2012 opinion piece at Cardus again arguing for Christians to openly engage their faith in their public lives, including a recommendation for the pope's book.

Can't answer your last 2 questions.

scotty on Denman said...

Does anyone remember the "prayer room" Vander Zalm set up in the Legislative Assembly? When the breatharians and crystal gazers showed up for their fair share of religious freedom, the Christians, Sikhs and Muslims assaulted them; that really animated the animists which left the atheists sniffing up their smug sleeves. Peace and harmony were never more threatened by official secularism.

Alison said...

Ha! 1987. The Zalm, John Reynolds, Ray Jansen and "Prayer Canada", sufis, witches ....

You know, Scotty, there's no really good account of that Prayer Room debacle online. If you care to write one up, you can guest post it here if you like.

You know what I remember? Vander Zalm defunding abortion ... by fax ... from his condo in Hawaii.

I loved the Zalm - he destroyed Social Credit. Harper will not make that mistake.

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