Today we’re pleased to launch a new series debating the federal Conservatives’ plans for an Office of Religious Freedom at the Department of Foreign Affairs. Maclean’s is presenting this series in partnership with the Canadian International Council, a non-partisan, Canada-wide organization established to strengthen Canada’s foreign policy.
The debate we’re launching today concerns one of the most unusual items in the Conservatives’ 2011 election platform. Last year the party promised an Office of Religious Freedom to “promote religious freedom as a key objective of Canada’s foreign policy.” Nine months later, all signs indicate the government is set to launch this office. The cost is modest, $5 million, but the departure from the policies of previous governments is striking. And worth discussing.
What’s the proper place of religion in Canada’s foreign policy? Is it in Canada’s national interest to promote religious freedom abroad? Will all religions receive equal protection? Will other types of rights have to take a back seat?
The CIC has lined up an impressive group of academic experts to discuss this question. Maclean’s bloggers will weigh in as the week continues. And we look forward to hearing from you too.