Debates of the Senate (Hansard)

1st Session, 39th Parliament,
Volume 143, Issue 75

Tuesday, February 27, 2007
The Honourable Noël A. Kinsella, Speaker

Motion to Urge Continued Dialogue Between People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama – Debate Continued

On the Order:

Resuming debate on the motion of the Honourable Senator Di Nino, seconded by the Honourable Senator Andreychuk:

That the Senate urge the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the Dalai Lama, notwithstanding their differences on Tibet’s historical relationship with China, to continue their dialogue in a forward-looking manner that will lead to pragmatic solutions that respect the Chinese constitutional framework, the territorial integrity of China and fulfill the aspirations of the Tibetan people for a unified and genuinely autonomous Tibet.—(Honourable Senator Jaffer)

Hon. Mobina S.B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I stand today in support of this motion of Senator Di Nino, and I adopt everything that he has said on it. I wish to add only one thing.

In the last few years, I had the great privilege and honour of meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I urge honourable senators to pass this motion, because I fear, as I am sure you do, that His Holiness the Dalai Lama has not many years to live. I fear that if we do not support the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to his homeland, we will lose the benefit of his experience and wisdom. He is not asking for a separate state. He is asking only that his people be allowed to practise their religious faith and their culture.

Honourable senators, I urge you to pass this motion.

Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, I also rise to add my support to Senator Di Nino’s motion to encourage the Government of the People’s Republic of China and the representatives of Tibet’s government in exile to continue dialogue to reach a peaceful solution.

The minimal progress that has been made by China with regard to the treatment of the Tibetan people is not enough. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has publicly stated that he is not seeking a sovereign Tibetan nation, but rather a Tibet remaining under Chinese rule while enjoying the right to freely practise their religion, culture and language without fear of government persecution.

Canada’s international reputation dictates that we must not sit idly by but, rather, add our support and use our influence to facilitate an acceptable solution to this serious human rights issue. International support is growing for this initiative and I believe it is time for Canada to add its voice.

I hope that we will all support continued dialogue between the People’s Republic of China and the Tibetan government in exile to come to a peaceful conclusion. Canada should have a role in influencing and supporting talks between China and Tibet, and for this reason I support Senator Di Nino’s motion.

It is to be hoped that the issue of Tibet can be resolved by meaningful dialogue between the two sides.

On motion of Senator Cools, debate adjourned.


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