It's Commonwealth DayMonday, March 11, 2013 by: Kate AdamsPrime Minister Stephen Harper today issued the following statement marking Commonwealth Day:
Commonwealth Day is an opportunity to celebrate the fundamental values that form the foundation linking the 54 members of this historic organization. In an uncertain world, the Commonwealth must continue to stand for the principles of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law while also promoting good governance and development throughout the world.
“In the past year, the Commonwealth celebrated a major milestone by marking the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth. We thank Her Majesty for her ongoing devotion and lifetime of dedicated service.
In the coming year, we look forward to the implementation of the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) recommendations, which were adopted last December. We welcome the new Charter of the Commonwealth, which reflects key Canadian priorities including the protection and promotion of religious freedom and the need to oppose discrimination on any grounds. This advancement will enhance the relevance and effectiveness of the organization in the 21st century, and represents an important milestone for the Commonwealth as a whole. Senator Hugh Segal will continue his important work as Canada’s Special Envoy for the Commonwealth in the year ahead.
Canada remains a strong supporter of the Commonwealth. We continue to be committed to the modernization of the organization and look forward to the adoption of a new strategic plan that reflects our values and maximizes the Commonwealth’s relevance so it can reach its full potential in advancing human rights, democratic reform and economic development.
In this regard, Canada will continue to promote an active role for the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group in addressing challenges to democracy and human rights in Sri Lanka and the Maldives and in assisting the Commonwealth family.”