Dalai Lama Receives Honorary Canadian Citizenship

September 9, 2006

Wire Service: AFP


On September 9, 2006 Agence France-Presse reported, "Canada's minister of citizenship and immigration personally presented the Dalai Lama with Canadian citizenship in this western Canadian city. Monte Solberg presented a framed certificate to the smiling Dalai Lama before a cheering crowd of 12,000 who came to hear the Tibetan Buddhist leader and Nobel peace laureate speak on 'Cultivating Happiness.' 'You are a leading champion of human dignity, and we recognize the qualities which make you a Nobel Peace Prize recipient,' said Solberg. 'The values you preach, of peace, kindness, and the values of humanitarian kindness, are values that we aspire to.' Canadian Parliamentarians unanimously voted in June to bestow honorary Canadian citizenship on the Dalai Lama. Only two other foreigners, humanitarian leader Nelson Mandela of South Africa and diplomat Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, have received that honour. China, which calls the Dalai Lama a dangerous 'splittist' and alleges that he is working toward Tibet's independence from the People's Republic of China, strongly objected to Canada's move. On July 27, the Chinese foreign ministry issued a statement calling Canada's decision to honor the spiritual leader with citizenship 'absurd.' 'It is clear what kind of person the Dalai Lama is,' said that statement. 'It is absurd to bestow an honorary title on him.'"