Dhondup Lhadar Vice President and Tenzin Chokey General Secretary of the Tibetan Youth Congress who have been on a speaking tour since the beginning of this month met with Paul Hong; Senior Policy Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs in the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada. The delegation had an in depth, frank and open discussion lasting almost an hour with Mr. Hong. At the end of the meeting, Mr Hong took us on a tour of the Canadian Foreign Affairs building and proudly showed us a photo of Minister Baird with His Holiness, which was displayed in the Minister’s office.
TYC delegation was warmly received by prominent Members of Parliament on the day of the International Human Rights Day in Ottawa who assured significant constructive and moral support for Tibet’s cause. The delegation was also invited to sit in the gallery of the House of the Commons on the government member’s side to observe members statement and question period. The delegation was taken on a tour of the centre block of the House, which included the historic library of Parliament and the Senate chamber.
The first meeting of the day was with MP David Sweet (Conservative Party of Canada, CPC) who is a member of the Sub-Committee on Human Rights and International Trade and is also the Co-Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Tibet (PFT). David Sweet assured the delegation that he would look into the issue of self-immolations and recommend that a resolution on Tibet to be passed in the Parliament and that a statement from the sub committee would also support a current issue facing Tibet. He also assured that he would propose to bring Dhondup Lhadar at the invitation of the Committee to testimony at a future committee hearing. TYC submitted a document consisting of profiles of all the self-immolators, an appeal, and over a thousand signatures collected by RTYC Toronto during a recent campaign event. David Sweet was also the member of parliament of Canada who proposed the motion to confer honorary citizenship for HH the Dalai Lama, which passed unanimously in the House of Commons in 2006.
The next meeting was with MP Bernard Trottier (CPC) who is also a staunch supporter of the Tibetan cause and who had recently spoken at the Tibetan Community Centre in Toronto. TYC gave Mr. Trottier an update about the situation inside Tibet and sought his continued support. MP Trottier expressed that engagement with the Chinese Government and its citizens at many levels would be beneficial.
The delegation met with MP Davinder Shory (CPC) who assisted in monitoring the elections during the last elections of Tibetans in exile and he assured support should any motions on Tibet be tabled in the House. The delegation also met with former cabinet minister and Liberal Party Solicitor General, Wayne Easter. During our discussion with MP Easter, he referenced Honourable Irwin Cotler and longstanding support for the Tibetan cause. Honorable Irwin is an internationally recognized advocate on human rights and has been the co-chair of PFT. Both parliamentarians received documentation from the delegation.
The meeting with MP Wayne Marston from the New Democratic Party (NDP) of Canada and member of the sub-Committee on Human Rights and International Trade took place with his two assistants present because MP Marston stressed the importance of his assistants hearing the truth about the current situation facing Tibet. VP Dhondup Lhadar thanked him for his time and emphasized that he recognizes the time given for this meeting was because he places importance and supports the cause of Tibet and that besides this meeting sending a message to China, a bigger message is being sent to our brothers and sisters currently suffering under China’s occupation especially the family members and relatives of the self-immolators that their sacrifices is honoured and heeded to. MP Marston expressed that the Sub-Committee already has an interest in this issue. Mr. Marston proposed a major and detailed information session with all parliamentarians and their staff in the New Year, a press conference, and an information event as a joint effort.
The meeting with MP Elizabeth May from the Green Party was very encouraging. Ms. May has made a significant number of statements in the House of Commons on the issue of Tibet and reassured her support and reconfirmed that she would continue to speak up for Tibet and would try to do everything in her capacity to support Tibet’s cause and make statements on behalf of Tibet and the Tibetan people and that we should not lose hope.
The last meeting of the day was with MP Rob Anders who is a long standing supporter of Tibet in the Canadian Parliament. He pointed out that the Tibetan cause is spread miles far but only an inch deep. He made several suggestions on how we can dig deeper and including securing internships for Tibetans in the House of Commons, to better understand the workings and functionality of other governments, lobbying tactics and organizing campaigns.
The delegation also met with MP Joe Daniel (CPC) who is an advocate and is one of the key people assisting in the resettlement program of the Tibetans from Arunachal Pradesh. This program was initiated and developed under the leadership of the Canadian Minister on Immigration, Mr. Jason Kenny. MP Joe Daniel confirmed that he has promised to sponsor at least ten Tibetans under this resettlement program and ensure housing and employment or them. He promised that he could do more.
The group also met with MP Wladyslaw Lizon (CPC) who stressed that he is well informed about the Tibet situation and wanted to know how he can help. After being requested to push for a motion for a delegation visit to assess the situation inside Tibet, he said he would make that a priority and that we should continue with our efforts to lobby for this. He also mentioned that he would be the first to go should this opportunity arise.
Throughout the day’s meeting, TYC highlighted the crisis inside Tibet and reminded that governments, leaders and politicians are being presented with an opportunity to be a champion for the fundamental human rights issues they espouse. It also made explicit that the extraordinary and unprecedented number of self-immolations are in response to Communist China’s continued occupation of Tibet and rejected China’s insidious claim of their actions being acts of terrorism and consisting of extreme fanatic religious overtones as commonly misinterpreted and misunderstood around the world.
These meetings were arranged by Co-Chair of Canadian Friends of Tibet and former member of Tibetan Parliament in –Exile Mr. Kunga Tsering, Mr. Herb Davis Policy Advisor, formerly with the Parliamentary Friends of Tibet and a long time staunch supporter and friend of Tibet.
Tenzin C. Khangsar; Executive Assistant and RTYC Toronto assisted with meeting logistics on Parliament Hill.
The delegation consisted of Dhondup Lhadar (Vice President of TYC), Tenzin Chokey (General Secretary, TYC), Kunga Tsering (Co-Chair of Canadian Friends of Tibet and former member of Tibetan Parliament in-Exile), Palden Gonpo (RTYC Toronto), Dolma Tso (RTYC Toronto), Walter Jarsky (Co-Chair, Canadian Friends of Tibet) and Lobsang Khedup (Former President of RTYC Toronto)
TYC Executive Members, Dhondup Lhadar and Tenzin Chokey are on a month-long North America speaking tour culminating with the third preliminary Rangzen Conference scheduled to be held in New York on 28-29 December 2012. The places visited to date include Minnesota, Chicago and Toronto.
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