Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered the following remarks announcing the establishment of the Office of Religious Freedom:
Thank you very much. Thank you, first of all, Jason, for that kind introduction, and also for the work you’ve been doing, I know Jason has been a very passionate advocate for the initiative that we’re announcing today. Thank you as well to our master of ceremonies today, our host because he’s the Member of Parliament for this area, the Honourable Julian Fantino who has been a great addition to our team in Ottawa. I also want to thank all of my colleagues from both Houses of Parliament who have come to be here with us today for this very important announcement. Special greetings to Member of Parliament Bev Shipley who moved the motion in the House of Commons to get a vote to establish the Office of Religious Freedom. And thank you as well to our host here today, National General Secretary Dr. Aslam Daud and National President Lal Khan Malik of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Canada, thank you. Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to start today by expressing my gratitude, to join with Jason to express my gratitude, to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community here in Vaughan. I’m grateful for your generous hospitality but even more I’m grateful for the outstanding example that you set. This community has experienced, as Jason mentioned, the terrible cruelty of persecution, persecution on the basis of religion. In spite of that, your belief in tolerance and harmony endures. In this you make an inspiring contribution to our values. You strengthen Canada’s commitment to diversity and pluralism. And you remind your fellow Canadians that the freedoms we enjoy are precious, and must never be taken for granted. So as your Prime Minister, I thank you on behalf of all Canadians for strengthening and enriching the fabric of our country.