April 2, 2007
For Immediate Release

KLEES: Legacy of Pope John Paul II Relevant
to Culturally Diverse Ontario

Pope John Paull II Day

(Queen's Park) Oak Ridges MPP Frank Klees presented his private member's bill today entitled, "An Act to proclaim April 2nd Pope John Paul II Day" in Ontario.

In his statement in the Legislature, Klees noted that by passing this bill into law, the Legislature would "Not only honour the man who served as spiritual leader to millions in this province and around the world, but will ensure that the values of compassion, respect and tolerance – values personified throughout his life – are contemplated and celebrated by the citizens of this province."

Klees' bill refers to "Pope John Paul II's legacy that reflects his lifelong commitment to international understanding, peace and the defence of equality and human rights and that his legacy has an all-embracing meaning that is particularly relevant to Canada's multi-faith and multicultural traditions and experience."

"As one of the great spiritual leaders of contemporary times, Pope John Paul II visited Ontario twice during his pontificate of more than 25 years. On his visits, he was enthusiastically greeted by our province's diverse religious and cultural communities," said Klees.

"While I am not a Roman Catholic, I have been personally touched and influenced by the life and teachings of Pope John Paul II," Klees said. "He visited Ontario on two occasions and each time he was here he made such an incredible impact on all of us."

"Pope John Paul reached beyond the Catholic Church to defend the human rights of all peoples, regardless of their faith and culture," Klees said. "He embraced everyone, especially the marginalized in society."

Klees' bill has the endorsement of the Ontario Conference of Catholic Bishops and its president, the Most Reverend James Mathew Wingle, Bishop of St Catharines stated: "On the 2nd anniversary of his death, we remember the outstanding witness of the life of Pope John Paul II. People of all faiths, and those with no specific religious ties, cherish his memory as one who brought to the whole human family a voice of hope and a life long message of peace. His noble legacy lives on as he continues to be remembered as one of the great leaders of our time."

Klees' bill is also endorsed by the Most Reverend Archbishop Thomas Collins, Archbishop of Toronto who stated, "I am pleased to see that the memory and extensive contributions of Pope John Paul II continue to be recognized by people of all faiths." Joining Klees in the Legislature today were representatives of the Catholic Church and of the Polish Canadian Community.

Supporters of the proposed bill are encouraged to register their approval in petitions that will be presented in the Legislature. A copy of the petition is enclosed. Only original signed copies should be returned for presentation in the Legislature.



For further information

Frank Klees, MPP


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