World Falun Dafa Day Celebrated in Canada
World Falun Dafa Day Celebrated in Canada
Prime Minister Harper sends greeting letter, MPs of all stripes attend festivities on Parliament Hill
Falun Dafa practitioners from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa practitioners from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Donna He/Epoch Times)

A large group of Falun Gong practitioners gather to perform their slow-moving exercises on Parliament Hill on May 7, 2014, in celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of the practice in China on May 13, 1992. About a dozen MPs spoke at the event. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

A large group of Falun Gong practitioners gather to perform their slow-moving exercises on Parliament Hill on May 7, 2014, in celebration of the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of the practice in China on May 13, 1992. About a dozen MPs spoke at the event. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa adherents from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa adherents from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa adherents from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa adherents from Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day demonstrate the exercises that are a daily part of the practice, May 7, 2014. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa practitioners of all ages and backgrounds take part in a parade through downtown Toronto on May 11, 2014 to celebrate the beauty of Falun Dafa and the benefits it has brought them. (Tanya Dy/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa practitioners of all ages and backgrounds take part in a parade through downtown Toronto on May 11, 2014 to celebrate the beauty of Falun Dafa and the benefits it has brought them. (Tanya Dy/Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the spiritual discipline. Some practitioners demonstrated the five Falun Dafa exercises for passersby, while others presented speeches in several languages and gave out handmade lotus flowers and informational materials. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the spiritual discipline. Some practitioners demonstrated the five Falun Dafa exercises for passersby, while others presented speeches in several languages and gave out handmade lotus flowers and informational materials. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Six young Falun Dafa practitioners have fun with large pink lotus flowers at an event in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The seven Chinese characters on the banner behind the children say “Celebrate Falun Dafa Day.” (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Six young Falun Dafa practitioners have fun with large pink lotus flowers at an event in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The seven Chinese characters on the banner behind the children say “Celebrate Falun Dafa Day.” (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners in Edmonton perform the Falun Gong exercises during an event held to celebrate Falun Dafa Day at Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona on Saturday, May 2, 2014. (Shar Chen/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners in Edmonton perform the Falun Gong exercises during an event held to celebrate Falun Dafa Day at Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona on Saturday, May 2, 2014. (Shar Chen/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners in Edmonton hold a proclamation letter issued by the City of Edmonton and signed by Mayor Don Iveson in recognition of Falun Dafa Month during an event held to celebrate Falun Dafa Day at Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona on Saturday, May 2, 2014. (Shar Chen/Epoch Times)

Falun Gong practitioners in Edmonton hold a proclamation letter issued by the City of Edmonton and signed by Mayor Don Iveson in recognition of Falun Dafa Month during an event held to celebrate Falun Dafa Day at Gazebo Park in Old Strathcona on Saturday, May 2, 2014. (Shar Chen/Epoch Times)

Employment Minister Jason Kenney was one of about a dozen MPs who spoke at an event on Parliament Hill on May 7, 2014, to mark the 22nd anniversary of Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. The spiritual discipline was introduced to the public on May 13, 1992, in northeastern China by Mr. Li Hongzhi, and has since spread around the world. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Employment Minister Jason Kenney was one of about a dozen MPs who spoke at an event on Parliament Hill on May 7, 2014, to mark the 22nd anniversary of Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. The spiritual discipline was introduced to the public on May 13, 1992, in northeastern China by Mr. Li Hongzhi, and has since spread around the world. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Brad Butt, Conservative MP, Ontario (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Brad Butt, Conservative MP, Ontario (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Brent Rathgeber, Conservative MP, Alberta, Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Brent Rathgeber, Conservative MP, Alberta, Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Bruce Hyer, Green Party MP, Ontario, Green Party Deputy Leader. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Bruce Hyer, Green Party MP, Ontario, Green Party Deputy Leader. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

David Kilgour, former MP and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, co-author of “Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs.” (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

David Kilgour, former MP and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific, co-author of “Bloody Harvest: The killing of Falun Gong for their organs.” (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Irwin Cotler, Liberal MP, Quebec, Vice-Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Irwin Cotler, Liberal MP, Quebec, Vice-Chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Joan Crockatt, Conservative MP, Alberta. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Joan Crockatt, Conservative MP, Alberta. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

John Carmichael, Conservative MP, Ontario. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

John Carmichael, Conservative MP, Ontario. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Paulina Ayala, NDP MP, Quebec. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Paulina Ayala, NDP MP, Quebec. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Rob Anders, Conservative MP, Alberta. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Rob Anders, Conservative MP, Alberta. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP, Ontario. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Stephen Woodworth, Conservative MP, Ontario. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Tyrone Benskin, NDP MP, Quebec. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Tyrone Benskin, NDP MP, Quebec. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Wayne Easter, Liberal MP, Prince Edward Island. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Wayne Easter, Liberal MP, Prince Edward Island. (Pam McLennan/Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual practice. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, consists of five gentle meditative exercises and the central tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. (Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual practice. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, consists of five gentle meditative exercises and the central tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. (Epoch Times)

A young Falun Dafa practitioner gives out information flyers to passersby at an event in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the spiritual discipline. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

A young Falun Dafa practitioner gives out information flyers to passersby at an event in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of the spiritual discipline. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Colourful paper lotus flowers attached to decorative bookmarks are displayed by Québec Falun Dafa practitioners at their celebration of World Falun Dafa Day in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The special commemorative day occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual discipline. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Colourful paper lotus flowers attached to decorative bookmarks are displayed by Québec Falun Dafa practitioners at their celebration of World Falun Dafa Day in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014. The special commemorative day occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual discipline. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual practice. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, consists of five gentle meditative exercises and the central tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Québec Falun Dafa practitioners gather in Montreal’s Chinatown on Saturday, May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13, marking the anniversary of the introduction of the spiritual practice. Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong, consists of five gentle meditative exercises and the central tenets of Truthfulness, Compassion, and Forbearance. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

A Falun Dafa practitioner holds a lotus flower while her baby examines the attached bookmark at an event on May 10, 2014, in Montreal's Chinatown to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs on May 13 every year. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

A Falun Dafa practitioner holds a lotus flower while her baby examines the attached bookmark at an event on May 10, 2014, in Montreal's Chinatown to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs on May 13 every year. (Nathalie Dieul/Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the spiritual discipline’s sitting meditation exercise in Winnipeg’s Chinatown at an event on May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. Local dignitaries who sent greetings and congratulations include Conservative MPs Rod Bruinooge and Lawrence Toet, Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, and Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz. (J. Qin)

Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the spiritual discipline’s sitting meditation exercise in Winnipeg’s Chinatown at an event on May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. Local dignitaries who sent greetings and congratulations include Conservative MPs Rod Bruinooge and Lawrence Toet, Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux, and Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz. (J. Qin)

Falun Dafa practitioners perform on the drums at an event on May 10, 2014, in Calgary in celebration of World Falun Dafa Day (May 13) and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. (Epoch Times)

Falun Dafa practitioners perform on the drums at an event on May 10, 2014, in Calgary in celebration of World Falun Dafa Day (May 13) and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. (Epoch Times)

Calgary Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the sitting meditation exercise at an event on May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day (May 13) and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. (Epoch Times)

Calgary Falun Dafa practitioners demonstrate the sitting meditation exercise at an event on May 10, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day (May 13) and the 22nd anniversary of the introduction of Falun Dafa. (Epoch Times)

The Falun Dafa Waist Drum Band performs in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, May 4, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13. (Fany Qiu/Epoch Times)

The Falun Dafa Waist Drum Band performs in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, May 4, 2014, to celebrate World Falun Dafa Day, which occurs annually on May 13. (Fany Qiu/Epoch Times)

A young Falun Dafa practitioner performs a classical Chinese dance depicting the strength and determination of the heroine Mulan as part of Falun Dafa Day on May 11 in Toronto. Falun Dafa, a practice of self-improvement, is rooted in traditional Chinese culture. (Tanya Dy/Epoch Times)

A young Falun Dafa practitioner performs a classical Chinese dance depicting the strength and determination of the heroine Mulan as part of Falun Dafa Day on May 11 in Toronto. Falun Dafa, a practice of self-improvement, is rooted in traditional Chinese culture. (Tanya Dy/Epoch Times)

Around a dozen MPs of all stripes attended festivities on Parliament Hill Wednesday to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Falun Dafa, also called Falun Gong. The spiritual discipline was introduced to the public on May 13, 1992, in northeastern China by Mr. Li Hongzhi, and has since spread around the world. 

To mark the occasion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, as well as several MPs, sent greeting letters to the Falun Dafa Association of Canada. In his letter, Harper relayed a message of support for FDAC’s efforts to stop the suppression and persecution of adherents by the Chinese regime, which began in July 1999. 

“Last year, our government was pleased to launch Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom to encourage the protection of religious minorities around the world so that all can practice their faith without fear of violence or repression. The Falun Dafa Association of Canada is a valued partner in these efforts,” Harper wrote.

The Chinese regime outlawed Falun Dafa in 1999 and launched a campaign of persecution against the spiritual practice, which continues today. Tens of thousands of Falun Dafa practitioners are languishing in prisons across the country, where they are often tortured and/or brainwashed to give up the practice.

All the MPs spoke at the event on Parliament Hill, including Irwin Cotler, a longtime supporter of Falun Dafa. In 2001, when the Liberals were in power, Cotler worked to secure the release of Canadian citizen Professor Kunlun Zhang, who was imprisoned while on a visit to China because he is an adherent of the practice.

“That is what the Chinese authorities’ violation has been all about,” Cotler said in his speech. 

“There have been violations of universal human rights as well as violations of international treaties to which China is a state party, as well as violation of their own Chinese law itself, whether it be the persecution of Falun Gong, or the criminalization of their fundamental rights and freedoms, or the heinous practice of forced organ harvesting.”

At the end of last year, Cotler introduced a private member’s bill to crack down on those who trade in human organs, take part in organ harvesting, or get a transplant without making sure the organs were willingly donated.

He told Epoch Times in a previous interview that his bill was inspired by the work of human rights lawyer David Matas and former MP and Secretary of State for Asia-Pacific David Kilgour, whose extensive investigation of the killing of Falun Gong adherents for their organs in China sparked an international reaction.

In his speech on Wednesday, Kilgour urged Conservative MPs to adopt Cotler’s bill.

”It won’t solve the problem but it will at least stop Canadians from going over to China for organs,” he said.

Employment Minister Jason Kenney said he had “just received a copy of Irwin’s bill and I look forward to studying it with great interest. … We should never tolerate that kind of exploitation.”

“Never take for granted the freedoms we enjoy in Canada,” Kenney added. “We stand in solidarity with you.”

Brent Rathgeber, chair of Parliamentary Friends of Falun Gong, condemned the Chinese regime’s human rights abuses and the illicit harvesting of organs from Falun Gong prisoners of conscience.

“We all must work together to advocate internationally to put pressure on the Chinese government to end this practice,” he said, adding that he encouraged practitioners in Canada to “keep up the good fight.”

“Your efforts are not lost on me, on fellow parliamentarians, on Canadians. Keep up the pressure to convince those who are responsible for this persecution that respect for human rights is not an option—it’s a necessity in the 21st century.”

See full coverage of World Falun Dafa Day 2014.

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