May 03, 2009 10:01 ET

Global Conflict Tops Agenda for Peace Delegation to Ottawa

Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, News Editor, World News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO, MEDIA ADVISORY--(Marketwire - May 3, 2009) -

Canada needs to be an ally for peace.

That message will echo through the House of Commons this week as a United Church delegation, along with church partners from Colombia, the Philippines, Palestine/Israel, and Canada, begins knocking on doors. They will ask the Canadian government to use its influence to push for dialogue, rather than military action, in all conflict situations.

"Canada's global reputation for diplomacy and reconciliation in conflict situations has been eroded," says Nora Sanders, General Secretary of the General Council. "We believe Canada could play a more useful role as a potential mediator."

That is why the strategy for the May 4-6 visit is to engage parliamentarians in frank conversations about Canada's foreign affairs policy. The United Church hopes this will help convince the government to commit itself to being more of an advocate of peace by promoting an activist approach to reconciliation, diplomacy, and development.

Members of the delegation, although they are travelling from different parts of the world, share a passionate longing for peace. The message they will bring is that Canada should strive to be an architect for peace throughout the world even when the feuding parties don't agree or when the Canadian government is opposed to one or more parties in the conflict.

Because this message is sometimes challenging to communicate, particularly to individuals who have never experienced the absence of peace, the United Church invited its global and First Nations partners to travel to Ottawa. The church hopes that the officials and politicians they meet will listen with a keen ear to the experiences of people whose lives are challenged every day by violence and human rights abuses.

In addition to asking the Canadian government to review its approach to foreign affairs, the delegation will urge the government to address our own "made in Canada" peace issues with First Nations peoples. The emphasis here will be on encouraging the government to sign the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Members of the delegation include

* Carmencita Karagdag (Coordinator of Peace for Life and member of World Council of Churches Central Committee)
* Rifat Kassis (General Director, Defence for Children International-Palestine Section, Bethlehem)
* Lilia Solano (human rights defender and President of the Justice and Life Project in Colombia)
* Maggie McLeod (member of the Saugeen First Nation)
* Nora Sanders, The United Church of Canada's General Secretary of the General Council
* staff of KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives and the United Church's General Council Office

To arrange media interviews with the delegation while they are in Ottawa, please contact:
/For further information: Mary-Frances Denis
Communications Officer
The United Church of Canada
416-231-7680 ext. 2016 (office)
1-800-268-3781 ext. 2016 (toll-free)
416-885-7478 (cell)
416-766-0057 (home)

Contact Information

  • Mary-Frances Denis, Communications Officer, The United Church of Canada
    Primary Phone: 416-231-7680 ext. 2016
    Secondary Phone: 416-885-7478
    Toll-Free: 800-268-3781