Burman: Should religion be a tool of Canadian foreign policy?

By: /
February 19, 2012
Ryerson School of Journalism, world affairs columnist for the Toronto Star, and former head of Al Jazeera English and CBC News

No, definitely not. It would be a foolish approach that would only undermine Canada’s credibility in the world. And to what end? Surely, the rich diversity of our own population is a reminder we need to tread carefully on potentially explosive issues. Having lived until recently in the Middle East where religion both dominates and divides, I am mystified why the Canadian government would further marginalize its declining global influence by playing domestic politics with the ‘religion’ card. The toxic blending of religion and politics helps no one. We only have to observe our American neighbours during this election year to see how religious obsessions can distort the public discourse. People abroad expect of Canada a wise and measured approach towards sensitive global issues. They want Canada to help lower the global temperature, not raise it. Keeping religion out of Canadian foreign policy is an essential start.