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Canadian Parliamentarians Mark One Year Anniversary of the Visit of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Ottawa

April 21, 2005

Members of Parliament from all parties to wear Tibetan khata during Statement and Question Period in House of Commons and Senate

MONTREAL, CANADA - April 21, 2005 - In a visual show of support for the peaceful Tibetan struggle to resolve the issue of Tibet, Members of Parliament in both the House of Commons and Senate will wear khatas today (traditional Tibetan white scarf representing peace and friendship) during Statement and Question Period to mark the one year anniversary of the Dalai Lama's visit to Ottawa. Several statements and questions on the issue of Tibet are also expected today.

"Since His Holiness' visit to Canada, there has clearly been a significant increase of support for the cause of Tibet from the general public and especially Canadian Parliamentarians", said Tenzin Dargyal, National Coordinator of the Canada Tibet Committee. "With their support, last December we saw Mr. Pierre Pettigrew, Minister of Foreign Affairs, publicly state Canada's request to China to stop the execution of Tibetan monk Tenzin Delek Rinpoche. Before the Prime Minister's trip to China this January, we heard senior government officials publicly state Canada's encouragement of continued dialogue between envoys of the Dalai Lama and China. This represents an encouraging break from prior government practice which has largely avoided any public discussion of the issue of Tibet"

Parliamentary motions at the sub-committee for human rights of the House of Commons and the Senate were also passed in December in support of active Canadian promotion of negotiations on Tibet.

The Dalai Lama visited Ottawa from April 21st to April 24 last year and also made stops Vancouver and Toronto. His visit to Canada clearly demonstrated the support of millions of Canadians for the peaceful resolution of the issue of Tibet. In Ottawa, a majority of Canadian Parliamentarians signed in support of an active role for the Prime Minister to promote meaningful negotiations between representatives of the Dalai Lama and China. The Dalai Lama's visit to Parliament Hill was also widely recognized as one of the most powerful receptions for any world leader.

On April 23rd, 2004, Paul Martin became the first sitting Prime Minister of Canada to meet with the Dalai Lama. They did discuss human rights in Tibet. The Dalai Lama also requested Mr. Martin to continue discussions of human rights with China and felt that Canada might be able to bring Tibet and China together.

"In light of the recently tabled International Policy Statement and based on the strength of the support of the Canadian people and parliament, we look forward to continue working collaboratively with the Government of Canada towards concrete actions to eliminate the sufferings of Tibetans" said Mr. Dargyal. "The peaceful people of Tibet deserve the active support of Canada at this critical moment for the future of Canadian foreign policy and the future of Tibet".

For more information about the CTC, visit www.tibet.ca

Contact:
Tenzin Dargyal
Office: 514.487.0665, Cell: 514-235-0205, E-mail: ctcoffice@tibet.ca

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