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David Baxter

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Dalai Lama in Ottawa and Toronto this month
Tuesday, October 9, 2007
CBC News

Nobel Peace Prize winner, author and revered spiritualist the Dalai Lama has begun a North American tour that will end in Canada and could include a meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper later this month.

The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader started a series of public talks in Ithaca, N.Y., Tuesday. He will make his way through Georgia and Indiana before ending the tour with a lecture in Ottawa on Oct. 28, and another in Toronto on Oct. 31.

The prime minister is also scheduled to meet with the Dalai Lama at a government site, according to a report in the Globe and Mail. The intended rendezvous has reportedly met opposition from China.

"We are against the provision of venues by foreign countries to the Dalai Lama's secessionist activities and also against foreign dignitaries meeting with him," a Chinese official said in a statement to the Globe.

China expressed similar frustrations after Germany announced Chancellor Angela Merkel's decision to meet the Dalai Lama in Berlin in September.

St. John's Mayor Andy Wells, who has been invited to meet the Dalai Lama in Ottawa, said he will extend a warm welcome to the spiritual leader by raising the Tibetan flag when he arrives in Canada.

Wells pulled a similar move in 1999 just before China's premier visited Newfoundland. The Canadian government was forced to apologize on his behalf when the Chinese delegation threatened to cancel the trip. Wells, however, later received a letter of thanks from the Dalai Lama.

Former prime minister Paul Martin was the first Canadian leader to meet with the Dalai Lama. The two held a one-hour meeting at the home of Ottawa's Roman Catholic archbishop in 2004.

The Dalai Lama, who in 1989 was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent struggle for the liberation of Tibet, was granted honorary Canadian citizenship in 2006.

The 72-year-old has been living in northern India since 1959 as the leader of Tibet's government-in-exile after Chinese troops took over the Himalayan region.

Chinese authorities call the Dalai Lama a separatist and have consistently refused to let him return to Tibet.
 

ladylore

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Re: Dalai Lama in Ottawa and Toronto this month

I missed seeing him when he was in Vancouver last year. I didn't even know he was doing another tour. That's great for all of you in Ontario. :)
 

HA

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Re: Dalai Lama in Ottawa and Toronto this month

I saw the Dalai Lama when he was last in Toronto. It was the most moving spiritual experience for me. He brought all of the major religions together, and made the point that they all have the same important messages and in order for all of us to understand the messages we need all of the religions.

Not one religion is any more important than another.

I will go again when he comes.

I wish China would let these people have there land and way of life back. It's just sad.
 

David Baxter

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Re: Dalai Lama in Ottawa and Toronto this month

Harper hosts the Dalai Lama despite stern warning from China
Monday, October 29, 2007
CBC News

The Dalai Lama weighed in Monday on Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan as government officials welcomed the Tibetan spiritual leader on Parliament Hill during a visit that included an unprecedented meeting with the prime minister in his office.

The Dalai Lama participated in a series of formal events in and around the Hill, including a 40-minute meeting with Tory Leader Stephen Harper that has irritated the Chinese government, on Day 2 of his visit to Canada.

The Dalai Lama said he believes "non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems," when asked earlier in the day about Canada's role in Afghanistan during a stopover at the office of MP Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity.

"Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications]," he said.

The Dalai Lama said he would express reservations about the mission to Harper if the subject came up during their meeting, but it didn't, according to Kenney.

The meeting was met with a stern warning from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

The Dalai Lama weighed in Monday on Canada's combat mission in Afghanistan as government officials welcomed the Tibetan spiritual leader on Parliament Hill during a visit that included an unprecedented meeting with the prime minister in his office.

The Dalai Lama participated in a series of formal events in and around the Hill, including a 40-minute meeting with Tory Leader Stephen Harper that has irritated the Chinese government, on Day 2 of his visit to Canada.

The Dalai Lama said he believes "non-violence is the best way [to] solve problems," when asked earlier in the day about Canada's role in Afghanistan during a stopover at the office of MP Jason Kenney, secretary of state for multiculturalism and Canadian identity.

"Using violence, counter-violence, sometimes it creates more [complications]," he said.

The Dalai Lama said he would express reservations about the mission to Harper if the subject came up during their meeting, but it didn't, according to Kenney.

The meeting was met with a stern warning from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.

"Stop interfering with China's internal affairs, and take concrete steps to safeguard Canada-China relations," Sun Lushan, an embassy spokesperson, said at a news conference Monday afternoon.

The Dalai Lama said he didn't attach any significance to meeting Harper on Parliament Hill. He also said he's no expert on diplomatic formalities.

"I don't care. The important [thing] is meeting [the] person," he said. "That I consider is the most important. So whether meeting prime minister in [his] office or private house doesn't matter so long as meeting with person face to face."

When former Liberal prime minister Paul Martin met the Dalai Lama three years ago, for example, the encounter took place on what was described as politically neutral territory ? the home of the Roman Catholic archbishop of Ottawa.

Tenzin Gyatso, 72, who is the 14th Dalai Lama, arrived in Canada on Sunday and addressed a crowd of 8,000 at the Ottawa Civic Centre.

His message at the sold-out venue was one of compassion.

"We all want happiness, happy life, successful life."

But he also took time to express "reservations" about some American policies, including the war in Iraq. The Dalai Lama met with U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington last week.

Bush met with him privately in the White House. The monk also received Congress's highest civilian honour, the Congressional Gold Medal.

'Important world figure'
The U.S. president and Harper join a growing group of Western leaders who have chosen to greet the Dalai Lama in official venues despite criticism from China.

China says the Dalai Lama is a separatist political leader and considers it interference in China's domestic affairs whenever a world leader is seen to be offering support.

But Kenney said he is more concerned about what Canadians think than the Chinese.

"As public opinion polls have indicated, the vast majority of Canadians believe the prime minister should meet with the Dalai Lama. He is an important world figure, a spiritual leader," Kenney said.

Some experts have warned, however, that the government should tread carefully during this visit because China is an emerging economic powerhouse and an increasingly important trading partner for Canada.

"Canada-China relations is somehow cool, if not the lowest point since the 1970s," said Wenran Jiang, acting director of the University of Alberta's China Institute.

He said if the goal is to help Tibetans, Canada should have a more balanced approach when dealing with China ? using moral statements rather than "political theatre" meant to grab votes.

China invaded Tibet shortly after the 1949 Chinese Revolution. The Dalai Lama has lived in exiled since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

The Dalai Lama, who also met with Gov. Gen. Micha?lle Jean, is scheduled to continue his Ottawa visit Tuesday and will be in Toronto where he will hold a public talk Wednesday night on "The Art of Happiness" at Rogers Centre.
 

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