Home Page Election 2019 News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Inside Ottawa Directory Hill Times Store Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In

Baird visits Bartholomew, highlights commitment to religious freedoms

By Evan Sotiropoulos      

Former International Trade minister Peter Van Loan led a mission to Istanbul and Ankara late last year and didn't pay a courtesy call to the Patriarchate. But Foreign Affairs Minister John of Baird visited the archbishop of Constantinople last month.

Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

TORONTO—I write following my recent column “Time to put Conservative campaign rhetoric to the test” (The Hill Times, July 18, p. 2) to applaud Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird for visiting the Ecumenical Patriarchate.

Baird, like U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, took time after the Contact Group on Libya meeting in Istanbul to go see His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.

This is an important and significant first step: not only does it allow Baird to better understand the plight of the 1,700-year-old Patriarchate, the dialogue also helps to inform the Office of Religious Freedom’s formation.

Going forward, however, Baird and Prime Minister Stephen Harper—like Bill Clinton and U.S. President Barack Obama have done before them—should strongly consider calling for the reopening of the Halki Seminary, a purely religious institution kept closed by Turkish authorities since 1971.

While political commentators easily condemn Parliamentarians, they are generally less generous when it comes to commending them.

When, for example, former International Trade minister Peter Van Loan led a mission to Istanbul and Ankara late last year and didn’t even pay a courtesy call to the Patriarchate, I wrote in these pages that “human rights seem to have completely fallen by the wayside during his tour of Turkey.”

Using the same standard six months later, I write in support of Baird’s actions in Turkey which help highlight his commitment to religious freedoms.

Here’s hoping it continues.

Evan Sotiropoulos is a freelance political columnist.

esotiropoulos@gmail.com

news@hilltimes.com

The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.

McKenna wins re-election in Ottawa Centre, trumpets voters’ support for climate fight

News|By Neil Moss
'I’m so relieved,' Catherine McKenna said, about continuing with the Liberal climate change plan.

Election 2019 was a ‘campaign of fear,’ say pollsters

'There may well be a message to this to the main parties, that slagging each other will only take you so far,' says Greg Lyle.

Election 2019 campaign one of the most ‘uninspiring, disheartening, and dirtiest’ in 40 years, says Savoie

News|By Abbas Rana
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May says she has never seen an election where mudslinging overwhelmingly dominated the campaign, leaving little or no time for policy discussion.

Strategic voting to determine if Liberals will form government, say political players

News|By Abbas Rana
As many as nine per cent of progressive voters could vote strategically in this close election potentially affecting the outcome in more than 100 ridings, says Innovative Research president Greg Lyle.

Turkish offensive should pressure feds to act on repatriation of Canadian citizens in Kurdish-controlled ISIS detention camps, says expert

News|By Neil Moss
The issue of repatriation will be less politically fraught after the election, says expert.

Business tops experience among 2019 candidates, one-third have run for office before

Here’s an analysis of the record 1,700-plus candidates running for the six major parties this election.

Pod save us all: the growing role of political podcasts in election 2019

News|By Mike Lapointe
The Hill Times spoke with some podcast hosts taking a deeper dive into the political nitty-gritty, within a medium that only continues to grow in popularity.

No-shows from Conservative candidate could hurt party’s chances in tight Kanata-Carleton race, say politicos

News|By Palak Mangat
The Conservative's candidate, Justin McCaffrey, has skipped two events, including a debate on the environment, intended to feature all candidates.

For whom will the bell toll in Peterborough-Kawartha?

In a riding where voters are deeply engaged in the political process, candidates avoid the low-hanging fruit and stay out of the mud as they grapple with who to send to the House of Commons.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.