TORONTO, September 17, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - With Parliamentarians set to return to the House of Commons on Monday, the Moderator of The United Church of Canada, Mardi Tindal, is encouraging United Church members to follow her lead and sign the Raise Your Voices Declaration.
Tindal explains the declaration calls on the Canadian government:
...to respect the right to freedom of opinion and expression
...to act in accordance with Canada's democratic traditions and values
...to be transparent
Tindal signed the declaration as a Canadian faith leader, along with representatives of many other human rights, women's, labour, environment, student, and development organizations. The declaration was publicly launched on June 17 and can be found online at www.voices-voix.ca.
"I added my signature to this declaration because I believe that the quality and health of democratic life in Canada is under serious threat," says Tindal.
She adds, "Too often voices that are critical of government policies are finding themselves marginalized."
She cites in particular the example of the 2009 funding cuts to KAIROS, a faith-based ecumenical organization that for decades has served as an advocate for social justice.
Tindal says she is also very concerned that Canada's international standing as a leader in human rights is suffering as a result of government policies related to such issues as the global protection of Indigenous Peoples' rights and the continuing violations of Omar Khadr's human rights.
She hopes that as the House of Commons begins its work next week the Raise Your Voices Declaration will ring loud and clear on Parliament Hill.
"It is time for all Parliamentarians, regardless of their political affiliation, to listen to the voices of Canadians who are asking them to govern in a manner that reflects this country's rich history of respect for democracy, free speech, and human rights," comments Tindal.