(CCCB – Ottawa)... Church leaders from the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC), including the Most Reverend Paul-André Durocher, Archbishop of Gatineau and President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB), have signed a joint letter to the Right Honourable Stephen Harper concerning Canada's military and humanitarian mission in Iraq and Syria. In their letter, they express their concerns about the humanitarian crises in both countries, "including the displacement and murder of historic Christian communities and the targeting of other religious minorities." The Church leaders state that military efforts alone will not bring peace to the region, but a broader international strategy for peace is required.
Noting that all the Members of Parliament are participating in ongoing decision-making on the country's role in Iraq and Syria, the leaders of the CCC have encouraged the Government of Canada to further support and advocate for:
• Diplomatic efforts;
• Humanitarian assistance and support for refugees;
• Civil society organizations;
• Arms control in the region;
• The rule of law and respect for human rights with a special focus on promoting inclusive government structures.
The Canadian Council of Churches represents 25 Churches and ecclesial communities of Anglican; Evangelical; Free Church; Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox; Protestant; and Catholic traditions. Together it represents more than 85% of the Christians in Canada. The Canadian Council of Churches was founded in 1944. The Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops became a full member of the Council of Churches in 1997.