In order to mark the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Cameroon, the Canadian High Commission in Cameroon organized an interreligious ceremony to honour the work of Canadian missionaries in the field of education and charity assistance.
Since the late 40’s, Canadian missionaries have help set up some of the most prestigious professional “Lycées” (schools) in Cameroon. In particular, the ceremony celebrated the legacy of Cardinal Paul Leger. Leger is well known in Cameroon for setting up a facility to treat children stricken by poliomyelitis.
Decades after his death, the Cardinal Paul Emile Léger national Centre for the Handicapped Persons receives and treats patients from the whole Central Africa region. Cameroonians still associate the Cardinal to Canada's compassion for the underprivileged in society.
During the event, Canadian High Commissioner Benoit Pierre Laramée advocated a new vision for Canada-Cameroon relations based on mutual economic and commercial growth. This new partnership is based on common values such as the peaceful co-existence of religions.
Religious beliefs play an important role in the lives of most Cameroonians. Cameroon is a multi-religious state with 20 per cent Muslims, 60 per cent Christians and 20 per cent traditional and other religions. Despite the various groups and denominations, religious tolerance and cohabitation seems to be a shared value. Canada feels that it is important to acknowledge and support this peaceful co-existence of religions.
The Ministry of external relations responded by praising Canada’s achievements in Cameroon during the last 50 years, welcoming the new vision mentioned by Mr. Laramée and asserting Cameroon’s faith in values such as the freedom of religion.
At the ceremony, High Commissioner Laramée joined representatives from the Presidency of the Republic, the Ministry of external Relations, the central Administration, political parties, members of parliament and dignitaries from different religious denominations.