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12.01.02 - Baird defends religious freedom office
Publish date: Feb 20, 2009
Summary: Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird defends the new Office of Religious Freedom from critics who question need for it.
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Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says his department's new Office of Religious Freedom won't become a vehicle for playing domestic politics in Canada's immigrant communities.
Baird dismissed criticism that the new office could lead to an uncomfortable mix of religion and politics.
"Freedom of religion is one of the first things in the Charter, it's one of the first things in the Bill of Rights, it's front and centre in the UN Declaration of Human Rights — it's an essential human right; I don't see any concern about that at all," Baird told The Canadian Press in a year-end interview.
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