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Grant Mitchell

The Hon. Grant  Mitchell, B.A., M.A., C.F.A. Senator Grant Mitchell has had careers in the public service, business and politics in Alberta. He was appointed by former Prime Minister Paul Martin in March, 2005.

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Interfaith Forum on Faith & Climate

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Statement made on 25 October 2011 by Senator Grant Mitchell

Hon. Grant Mitchell:

Honourable senators, I would like to draw your attention to the work of the Canadian Interfaith Forum on Faith & Climate and its call to action on climate justice.

This interfaith committee on climate change is a coalition of faith groups, including representatives from the Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Baha'i, Evangelical, Hindu, Quaker, Mennonite and Buddhist faiths, as well as many others. Leaders in this movement include Mardi Tindal, Moderator of the United Church of Canada; Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches; Dr. Mishka Lysack of the University of Calgary; and Mr. Joe Gunn of the Citizens for Public Justice.

Increasingly, religious leaders in our country are coming to understand that climate change is a profound threat to humankind and that there is a deep moral obligation founded on religious principles to take care of the planet.

The interfaith forum gathered in Ottawa this week for a convention to discuss the religious and moral implications of climate change and what can be done by people of faith to advance action on climate change. They also announced their official call to action on climate justice. The agenda included a series of panel discussions, including religious leaders and parliamentarians. Presentations were focused in various ways on the question: Can the faith community change the climate?

The message from each faith representative was clear: Climate change is occurring; human activity is causing it; and we have a moral obligation, founded in religious principles consistent throughout the broadest range of faiths, to do something about it. Common to their presentations was a deep sense of intergenerational responsibility. Common to all faiths and to all people is that we work and dream for our children's future.

Honourable senators, I applaud the Canadian Interfaith Forum on Faith & Climate for its work to change the debate in Canada around climate change from one of division to one of action based on consensus. May we all heed its wisdom that ecological issues are moral, ethical and faith issues; and may we have the courage to address climate change as the universal moral challenge that it is.

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