Monday, February 22, 2010

Minister Cannon Statement on the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy)

Minister Cannon Statement on the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy)

(No. 72 – February 22, 2010 – 11:40 a.m. ET) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement on the International Centre for Human Rights and Democratic Development (Rights & Democracy):
“I am pleased that an exceptionally qualified candidate, Mr. Gerard Latulippe, is willing to take on the job of President of Rights and Democracy. As required under the legislation, we are now consulting the Opposition Leaders on the candidacy of Mr. Latulippe for the position.
“Mr. Latulippe is currently the resident director for the National Democratic Institute (NDI) in Haiti. Before being posted to Haiti, Mr. Latulippe was the Institute’s Morocco country director and senior representative for the region of the Maghreb. He has also worked for NDI in countries such as Jordan, Libya, Iraq, Georgia, Mauritania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Egypt.
“I fully believe that Mr. Latulippe is the ideal candidate to return Rights and Democracy to the promotion of Canadian values of freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.
“I would also like to express the Government of Canada’s support for the decision made by the Board of Directors to engage a private firm to conduct a forensic audit of the organization’s financial transactions, as announced last Friday.”
Rights & Democracy is a non-partisan organization with an international mandate. It was created by Parliament in 1988 to encourage and support the universal values of human rights and to promote democratic institutions and practices around the world. The organization continues to make valued contributions internationally.
In Haiti, Rights & Democracy is currently working on a new four-year program called Strengthening Democratic Governance and Promoting Human Rights in Haiti. This program has three components: Strengthening State Civil Society Dialogue; Strengthening the Office de la protection du citoyen (Ombudsman’s Office); and Enhancing the Political Participation of Women and Supporting Political Party Dialogue.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Catherine Loubier
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Comment: Mr. Gerard Latulippe ran in Charlesbourg-Jacques-Cartier as candidate for the Canadian Reform Conservative Alliance in the 2000 Election but he was not elected.

According to Paul Wells: "In 1994 Latulippe was delegate-general for Quebec to Brussels when the Parti Quebecois was elected under Jacques Parizeau. Parizeau and his minister of international relations, Bernard Landry, couldn't bear the thought that Quebec's vast network of foreign bureaux be staffed by people who actually liked Canada. So they checked. And anyone who, having been asked, didn't swear their loyalty to the notion of a sovereign Quebec, was fired. That's how Gilles Houde lost his nice foreign post, and Reed Scowen. But Gerard Latulippe had no problem! He gave more than the client demanded,” Le Devoir reported at the time, noting in a Brussels press conference at Bernie Landry's side that he had secretly been a supporter of sovereignty for two years before anyone thought to ask."

According to Graeme Hamilton: "In 2007, when Quebec was in the throes of debate over the reasonable accommodation of religious minorities, Mr. Latulippe submitted a 37-page brief to a provincial government commission studying the issue. Mr. Latulippe warned that Quebec's open immigration practices were leading to the creation of Muslim ghettoes in Montreal, which could easily become breeding grounds for terrorism."Some ethnic groups insist on living according to their own life codes, which run counter to our values and sometimes even our fundamental rights," he wrote. The smooth functioning of Quebec society, he said, is harmed by "the increasingly large geographical concentration [in Montreal] of immigration from Muslim countries." Among the solutions he proposed were a requirement that immigrants settle outside Montreal and a pre-immigration test to verify that a potential immigrant's values conform with those of Quebec society. He also said such religious symbols as the Muslim headscarf and the Sikh kirpan should be confined to the "private sphere." On the other hand, Catholic symbols such as the crucifix in the provincial legislature reflected Quebec's "national identity" and should be preserved, he said." 

According to Joe Friesen and Campbell Clark: "Mr. Latulippe declared his support for Quebec sovereignty in the 1990s, several years after he was forced to resign from Liberal premier Robert Bourassa's cabinet over conflict-of-interest allegations."

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