Birth of Baha’u’llah celebrated in Canadian Parliament

Birth of Baha’u’llah celebrated in Canadian Parliament

OTTAWA, 30 NOVEMBER 2017, (CBNS)

On November 27th, Canadian Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, and others from civil society joined representatives of the Baha’i community for a reception on Parliament Hill to honour the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah. The gathering was held in the Commonwealth Room in the Centre Block of Parliament, next to the House of Commons Chamber.

The reception was sponsored by Marc Miller M.P., Ville-Marie – Le Sud-Ouest – Île-des-Sœurs, where the Baha’i Shrine is located. It was co-sponsored by three other Members of Parliament: David Sweet M.P., Flamborough – Glanbrook; Cheryl Hardcastle M.P., Windsor —Tecumseh; and Elizabeth May M.P., Saanich – Gulf Islands. The sponsors represented the four major national federal political parties in Canada.  Some 20 Members of Parliament attended the reception, along with about 40 other guests.

After welcoming remarks by Corinne Box, Director of Government Relations for the Baha’i Community of Canada, the four Members of Parliament all spoke. Marc Miller reflected on the significance of the bicentenary of the birth of Baha’u’llah, and noted the continued relevance of his teachings for Canadian society. He shared his pride to be the Member of Parliament for the riding with the only Baha’i Shrine in the West, which had the honour of hosting the visit of ‘Abdu’l-Baha in 1912. David Sweet spoke with great admiration for the Baha’i representatives he has worked with on the All Party Interfaith Fellowship Group, and, like Elizabeth May and Cheryl Hardcastle, spoke of the positive contributions Baha’is are making in their ridings and in communities across Canada. They also reaffirmed their support for the Baha’is in Iran, and their rights as Iranian citizens and under international law.

Karen McKye, Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Canada, thanked the Members of Parliament and their staff who attended the reception, as well as diplomats, civil servants, and guests from civil society organizations and universities. In her remarks, Ms. McKye noted the extraordinary range of celebrations around the world, and in every territory of Canada, which marked this historic 200th anniversary of Baha’u’llah’s birth.

She thanked Mr Miller for mentioning the 1912 visit to Montreal and Canada of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, the Son of Baha’u’llah, and repeated ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s remark about the glorious future, both materially and spiritually, of Canada. In closing, she thanked the Members of Parliament for the all-party support over many years, beginning with that first Parliamentary resolution in Canada in 1979 condemning the persecution of Baha’is. Since then Canada has never failed to draw attention to the ongoing violation of the human rights of Baha’is in Iran.