Statement on International Religious Freedom Day

Photo by Hudson Hintze on Unsplash

On October 27, 2021, Global Affairs Canada issued the following statement:

“Worldwide, the right to practise, choose and change one’s religion or belief is increasingly under attack. With a surge in religiously motivated crimes and persecution, International Religious Freedom Day, gives us an opportunity to reaffirm this universal human right.

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UN Day of Peace 2021

We celebrated the UN Day of Peace on Sept. 21 at Government House and were once again blessed with a beautiful blue sky. Speakers were our board members (president) Guy Blood, Rev. Audrey Brooks & Rebecca Wright and Vivian Giang, president of the United Nations Association in Canada, Edmonton chapter. Paula Kirman and the Raging Grannies sang and it was an inspiring event. Please take a look at our Facebook page.

13th Annual Genocide Memorial Service

Photo by Ferdinand Stöhr on Unsplash

Members of all faiths and ethnic groups were invited to participate in the 13th Annual Genocide Memorial Service, on Zoom at 10:30 Sunday, July 11, 2021, sponsored by the Unitarian Church of Edmonton, The Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education and Action, and the Westwood Unitarian Congregation.

The Genocide Memorial Service began with Treaty Six acknowledgement.  Representatives from Christian, Jewish, Muslim, First Nations and other faiths are invited to tell us how genocide affected their people.  Prayers, songs and readings are interspersed throughout the program.   Inscribed memorial stones along with their stories were presented to the audience. Later, they were placed in a memorial garden at 9916-154 Street, where they can be viewed.   The stones witness, honor and name those who died violent deaths because of wars, racism, gender identity, greed, slavery, ethnic cleansing and appropriation of Indigenous lands.

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Lunch & Learn: Mike Van Boom

Photo by  Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

In 2008 we began a monthly “Lunch & Learn” program with a presentation of local interest followed by a lively discussion. It is continuing on Zoom, we’ll offer the learning part and you bring your lunch. On Tuesday May 25 at noon, we continued the program with a talk by Mike Van Boom, Edmonton’s first housing ambassador.

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Letter to Senators Regarding Bill C-15

The following is the text of a letter sent, by both e-mail and physical mail, to represent the Edmonton Interfaith Centre’s position regarding Bill C-15 to the four Senators that represent Alberta in the Senate of Canada:

Dear Senators Black, LaBoucane-Benson, Simons and Tannas: 

It has come to our attention that Bill C-15 is currently before the Senate. We want to encourage you to pass it.

The importance of this Bill cannot be overstated. As we understand it, Bill C-15 asks the Government of Canada to examine all laws to discover where any prejudice towards indigenous peoples may occur and change those laws so that they conform with the requirements of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

This quote is from a summary statement, “Bill C-15 would affirm UNDRIP’s application to Canadian law, to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with UNDRIP and provide a framework for Canada’s implementation of UNDRIP. The principles set out in the bill are a benchmark for Canada’s conduct going forward.“

Indigenous people in Canada have suffered for many years under laws that seemed reasonable and necessary at the time. These laws have proven to be arbitrary, discriminatory and prejudicial. Acknowledging the injustice of these laws requires the passing of Bill C-15.

We also understand that a full 60% of Canadian people support this bill and want you to approve it so that discriminatory laws can be corrected.

It’s a national embarrassment that Canada, known for its fair-mindedness and support of Human Rights around the world, would be treating its own indigenous citizens so poorly. This problem has to be fixed.

Please support working for the right thing to do, freeing indigenous people from the oppressive laws that have caused them considerable harm and suffering for so long.

Vote to Pass C-15!

Thanks for your consideration,

Guy Blood, President, and the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Interfaith Centre for Education & Action