CANADA: Primate, faith leaders to call for justice at G8/G20 meetings

May 4, 2010

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of the Anglican Church of Canada will join about 80 international religious leaders in Winnipeg June 21-23 at the 2010 World Religions Summit: Interfaith Leaders in the G8 Nations.

The leaders will press governments to achieve the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), ratified by the 192 member states of the United Nations in 2000. The goals aim to halve global poverty by 2015. The G8 nations -- including Canada -- pledged to help achieve the goals, but are far behind in meeting the promised deadline.

"It's a matter of life and death," said the Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, chair of the Interfaith Partnership and general secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches. "Every three seconds a child dies unnecessarily from poverty-related causes ... How can we, as people of faith, as citizens of a democratic country, let this happen? How have we not held our leaders to account for the promises that they themselves made?"

Since 2005, interfaith summits have been a prophetic platform alongside G8 meetings, where leaders of the world's major industrial democracies gather to discuss economic policy, international trade, and other political-security issues. The Winnipeg summit heralds the June 25-27 G8/G20 meetings in Huntsville, Ontario, and Toronto.

Hiltz, who has made the MDGs a hallmark of his primacy, has been chosen to lead the Canadian interfaith delegation.

At the Winnipeg summit, leaders from 10 different faith traditions -- including Muslim, Christian and Shinto -- will listen to and report to one another about important issues in their nations. They will hear several high-profile speakers including Canadian senator Romeo Dallaire; the Rev. Jim Wallis of Sojourners magazine, USA; and H.E. Sheikh Shaban Mubajje, grand mufti of Uganda.

Aboriginal representatives will welcome delegates to the University of Winnipeg venue, which sits on Treaty 1 land. First-time host Canada has also prioritized youth participation throughout the summit.

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