Who Stood up for Tibet in Parliament?

Yesterday was the Global Day of Action for Tibet and many members of Students for a Free Tibet Canada gathered on Parliament Hill over two days to send a message to our government that enough is enough – there needs to be global intervention for Tibet NOW. We’ll have more on that later – but we were happy to hear several lawmakers spoke up for Tibet in Parliament yesterday. Below are statements that were made in the Canadian Parliament, and forever on record for China to see.

Ms. Elizabeth May (Saanich—Gulf Islands, GP): Mr. Speaker, as a member of Parliament, I rise with pride today, but also with solemnity, on the occasion of marking a vigil which is taking place outside these doors. Canadian Tibetans are in vigil in solidarity with so many Tibetans who are experiencing oppression due to the Chinese government policies toward Tibet. The desperation of these people has now led to self-emulation acts, an act of desperation for anyone who understands Buddhist religion and culture. This is the sign that things have become a crisis for those in Tibet. In the words of his holiness, the Dalai Lama, “We must find a peaceful way forward”.
    The European parliament, just days ago, October 27, passed a resolution calling on China to act. I would urge all hon. members to join with the European Union and help protect religious rights in Tibet.

Mr. Wayne Marston (Hamilton East—Stoney Creek, NDP): Mr. Speaker, today, Tibetans and supporters from around the world are gathering to take part in a global day of action. From Zurich, to San Diego, to Vancouver, to right outside our doors, people are coming together to seek justice for the people of Tibet.
    Ten young Tibetans have set themselves on fire in eastern Tibet since March 2011. In fact, eight since September. These unprecedented and truly desperate acts are a cry to the outside world for help. China has intensified its violent crackdown in Ngaba and across Tibet. Tibetan monasteries continue to be sacked and monks continue to be sentenced without fair trial.
    It is time for the government to act. It is time for the Government of Canada to take a lead in coordinating an international response to condemn the Chinese government’s repressive measures against the Tibetans. Canada should also work to ensure the United Nations immediately sends a fact finding mission to Ngaba to assess the situation. We cannot afford to waste another day.

Hon. Irwin Cotler (Mount Royal, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, 10 young Tibetans have set themselves ablaze, a set of unprecedented and desperate actions, to protest the Chinese repression of Tibetan rights and assaults on the monks and nuns of Tibetan monasteries.
    Accordingly, we call on the Chinese authorities to release those imprisoned simply because they exercised their right to freedom of religion and expression, to cease and desist from their assaults on the Tibetan people, and to enter into dialogue with the Tibetan leadership.
    We call on the Canadian government, in concert with world leaders, on this global day of action, to stand in solidarity with the Tibetan people to condemn the repression by Chinese authorities and to nurture dialogue with the Tibetan leadership with a view to protecting the human security of the Tibetan people.

Mr. Gordon Brown (Leeds—Grenville, CPC): Mr. Speaker, today Tibetans and supporters have gathered outside this very building in a desperate cry to stop the crackdown on religious freedom in their region.
    Canada has expressed its serious concerns about the human rights situation in China, including continuing restrictions on the freedoms of expression, association, religion and belief of ethnic Tibetans. We remain concerned about the arbitrary detention and treatment of political prisoners in Tibet and have raised the issue of Tibetans and other religious minorities in China in bilateral meetings and on the international stage, including at the United Nations General Assembly.
    Our government takes the issue of religious freedom in China and around the world very seriously. The freedoms of religious belief and practice are at the heart of our principled foreign policy.
    We do not hesitate to raise such issues as part of mutually respectful, mature dialogue between our two countries and encourage substantive dialogue between Chinese leaders and religious minorities.
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