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Photos for February 2017

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Amnesty International is calling on Prime Minister Trudeau to raise critical human rights concerns during his first meeting with United States President Trump. “Our message to Prime Minister Trudeau is clear. It has already become abundantly clear that under President Trump’s leadership the United States has embarked on a deeply troubling course which undermines and violates universal human rights,” wrote Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada’s English Branch in an open letter Feb. 2. “That cannot and will not be okay in the relationship between our governments, and would have direct consequences with respect to areas where cooperation between our countries is essential,” said Neve.

Canada’s Catholic bishops have expressed their condolences to the victims, family and friends following the mass shooting at a mosque in Quebec City Jan. 29 that left six men dead and wounded several others. “It was with horror and shock that we were all made aware of the violent and senseless attack carried out at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec yesterday evening,” said Bishop Douglas Crosby, president of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, in a statement Jan. 30. Such murderous violence is to be condemned in the strongest possible terms, said Crosby. Alexandre Bissonnette, a French-Canadian university student known for his far-right views has been charged with six counts of first degree murder and five counts of attempted murder.

The Canadian Council of Churches (CCC) has expressed “shock and sadness” at the attack at the Quebec City mosque that left 6 men dead and several wounded. In a statement, CCC president Canon Alyson Barnett-Cowan, said, “We recommit ourselves to “opposing the hate and prejudice that disfigures our communities and leads to violence both at home and abroad.” The CCC represents 25 churches of Anglican, Eastern and Oriental Orthodox, Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions.

Imam Samy Metwally of the Ottawa Muslim Association has expressed shock and sadness over the attack at the Quebec City mosque that left 6 men dead and several wounded. But he says it was an “individual case that does not reflect the welcoming and very accepting Canadians that we are living with,” the Ottawa Citizen reported Jan. 30. “Yes it was very shocking and very saddening to all of us,” said Metwally, the Imam of Ottawa’s biggest mosque. “The whole world is living in turmoil that needs more peace and more respect towards diversity that we are proud of as Canadians here.”

A former Ottawa priest convicted of molesting altar boys in the 1960s and 1970s was re-arrested Jan. 20 after he allegedly visited an Aylmer, Quebec, swimming pool frequented by children – a breach of his release conditions – 92 times, the Ottawa Sun reported. Gatineau police arrested Jacques Faucher, 80, nine days before he was scheduled to be sentenced on historical sex crimes involving three children. A justice of the peace denied his bail and ordered that he remains in custody. Faucher was free on bail while awaiting sentencing after being found guilty in March 2016 of six counts of indecent assault and gross indecency on evidence from three male complainants who testified he molested them when they were between the ages of nine and 13.

Canada has accepted an invitation by Cuba to be the guest country of honour at the Havana International Book Fair Feb. 9-19. The annual book fair is considered to be Cuba’s premier cultural event at this time of the year, with more than 600,000 attendees. “The Havana International Book Fair is one of Canada’s first major events on the world stage as our network of diplomatic missions showcases Canada’s culture and creativity in the context of Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation,” the government said in a news release Feb.1.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau misled voters on democratic reforms, says Nathan Cullen, the New Democrat critic for Democratic Reform. “In his most cynical decision to date, Justin Trudeau broke a black-and-white promise to Canadians to make every vote count,” Cullen said in a statement Feb. 1. “This is a betrayal of every Canadian that voted to change the electoral system as well as every Canadian who voted to do politics differently.” Trudeau has come under fire from the opposition in the House of Commons after his government announced Feb. 1 that it is abandoning a commitment to reform the federal electoral system. Interim Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose told reporters outside the House that “Canadians should think twice about believing what Justin Trudeau says.”

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), the national organization that represents Canada’s 60,000 Inuit, wants the federal government to take action on implementing the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in Canada (UNDRIP). “It has been more than a year since the Prime Minister promised to renew Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples, including specific direction to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs to prioritize implementing the UN Declaration,” says president Natan Obed. “However, Canada’s work to date on this file can best be characterized as inaction,” he said.

Visitors to Old Havana find respite Jan. 28 in the Havana Cathedral – officially the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. Built by the Jesuits in the 18th century, the church kept some of Christopher Columbus’ remains from 1796 to 1898. In recent years it has seen visits by former U.S. president Barrack Obama (2016) and three popes – Francis, (2015) Benedict XVI (2012) and John Paul II (1998).

A statue of the late Pope John Paul II is located in the Havana Cathedral, officially the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. In recent years the church has seen visits by former U.S. president Barrack Obama (2016) and three popes – Francis, (2015) Benedict XVI (2012) and John Paul II (1998).

A sculpture depicting the crucifixion is located in the Havana Cathedral, officially the Cathedral of the Virgin Mary of the Immaculate Conception. In recent years the church has seen visits by former U.S. president Barrack Obama (2016) and three popes – Francis, (2015) Benedict XVI (2012) and John Paul II (1998).

Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan will be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame April 2 at the 46th annual Juno Awards ceremony in Ottawa. McLachlan, who has won 10 Juno awards, three Grammy awards and a Billboard Music Award, “is one of Canada’s most treasured artists,” said The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in making the announcement.

As part of Canada’s 150th birthday, the RCMP Musical Ride will visit all ten provinces and one territory. The tour begins in May and the Musical Ride will return to Ottawa in late June to participate in Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa. The tour will then resume in early July and will continue until September. The Musical Ride gives the public an opportunity to experience the RCMP’s heritage and traditions. It also helps raise funds for local charities and initiatives across Canada.