Canada to champion religious liberty globally with new religious freedom office

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom and...

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announces the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom and the appointment of Andrew Bennett as its Ambassador at the Aiwan Tahir Community Centre in Maple, Ontario February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Jon Blacker (CANADA - Tags: POLITICS)

Daniel Proussalidis, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 5:49 PM ET

OTTAWA — Canada's new ambassador of religious freedom is Dr. Andrew Bennett, professor of Christian history and dean of private, liberal arts school Augustine College in Ottawa.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Bennett's appointment to the post Tuesday, saying he'll work through the foreign affairs department and have a $5-million budget to monitor and promote religious freedom globally.

"He will promote it as a key objective of Canadian foreign policy," Harper said. "And Dr. Bennett will help ensure that the protection of religious freedom informs the policies and programs of the government of Canada."

Bennett brings civil service experience to the job, having worked as a political risk analyst for Export Development Canada and as a Privy Council Office policy analyst.

Harper's speech at an Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque north of Toronto included a laundry list of persecution around the world.


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