I was told by e-mail this morning that in a speech in Montreal this week, the former ambassador of China to Canada (1998-2005), Mei Ping, referred to the Dalai Lama's 2006 honouring by the Canadian House of Commons as "so-called honorary citizenship." But there is nothing "so called" about it. This honour was a unanimous resolution of the Parliament of Canada supported by all parties. Mr. Mei's characterizing it this way is an insult to the dignity of our Parliament.
Vancouver, Canada 9 September 2006 (AP) The Dalai Lama has been presented with honorary Canadian citizenship, joining only two other people to have received the honour.
The decision by Canada's parliament to award citizenship to the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader has drawn criticism from China, which continues to rule Tibet.
"Welcome to our great country," Immigration Monte Minister Solberg told the Nobel Peace Prize laureate on Saturday in front of a crowd of about 12,000. "We will welcome you each and every time you return to Canada to share your message of kindness and compassion."
The normally talkative Dalai Lama seemed at a loss for words.
"Now I am also a citizen of this country," he said. "I am honored to receive this citizenship."
Canada has previously granted honorary citizenship to South African leader Nelson Mandela and Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg, who saved Jews from extermination during World War II.
Solberg presented the Nobel Peace Prize laureate with a framed copy of the parliamentary motion granting him citizenship. Prior to his arrival, the crowd spontaneously burst into the country's national anthem, "O Canada."