OTTAWA, Oct 17 (LSN) – Not even one month after Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed into law a bill set to cause havoc for loyal Christians, Canada announced a strengthening of economic relations with Russia. On October 10th International Trade Minister Sergio Marchi announced that Canada and Russia have agreed to hold talks on measures that will facilitate and increase two-way trade and examine measures to accelerate Russian integration into world markets.

Persecutions of Christians based on the new law have already been reported. The Keston News Service reported that the Evangelical Lutheran Mission of Khakassia (ELMK), which has been at work in that province for two years, received an official letter two weeks ago from the Khakassian authorities declaring that the registration of the ELMK has been cancelled in accordance with the new law. The revocation means that the ELMK will no longer be able to own property, to legally conduct evangelistic efforts, to draft official documents, or to sign contracts and agreements.

The new law was signed into law Sept 26th by President Boris Yeltsin and provides that all religions except for the traditional four—Russian Orthodoxy, Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam—must meet strict requirements to qualify for legal status, specifically that they must have been legally operating in the country 15 years ago, or during the height of the reign of the officially atheist Communist government. Thus the persecution would be directed against Catholic and Evangelical denominations.

  The following list of Canadian organizations have just received new contracts within Russia (from the Canadian federal government’s web site):

Royal Plastics of Woodbridge, Ontario MDS Aero Support Corporation of Montreal, Quebec   Bombardier Inc. of Montreal, Quebec Bata Industries Ltd. of Don Mills, Ontario CANDESAL Inc. of Ottawa, Ontario Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Toronto, Ontario DMR Consulting Group of Montreal, Quebec Pratt & Whitney Canada   The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC)  XB Systems Inc of Montreal, Quebec Jamesway Incubator Company of Cambridge Productions Pascal Blais of Montreal, Quebec

Recalling Michael Horrowitz’s criticism of the Canadian government for their continued dealings with countries which openly persecute Christians seems apt… “Either they are blithering idiots with no clue to world history, or they are anti-faith bigots who don’t care what happens to Christians.’‘