Canada claims to have excellent bi-lateral relations with Algeria. Canada has recognized Algeria from its independence, in 1962, and began diplomatic relations with this country in 1964. Canada has contributed to Algeria through a bi-lateral program focusing on stimulating sustainable economic growth. Canada has also promoted trade in both goods and services and has invested in Algeria's energy sector. Canadian exports to Algeria in 2010 totalled $298,884,118.00. Canadian imports from Algeria totalled $3,578,112,577.00.

Sadly, Algeria is a country where there has been persecution of Christians and restraints imposed on religious freedom. A local governor in the province of Bejaia ordered the closure of seven churches. When the church leaders did not comply, the Bejaia police commissioner sent an official letter (on May 22, 2011) to the Algeria Protestant Church Association stating that all churches in his province, and around the country, should be closed. He wrote; “Close down all the worship places around the country once for all, the places which are used now and the places which are under construction.” He said further that if churches did not comply they may face “severe consequences and punishments.  "Algeria : Churches Threatened." Posted June 6, 2011. ”

In Algeria, church registration is required for churches to be legal. Many churches have applied, only to have their applications ignored. According to a church leader from Tizi Ouzou; “This first notification may be the beginning of permanently closing every place of worship other than Islam throughout the national territory”.  "Algeria : Churches Threatened." Posted June 6, 2011.

It is time for Canada to use its excellent bi-lateral relations with Algeria to intervene in this situation. This blatant and flagrant abuse of power on the part of a local governor must not be ignored. Our relations with Algeria provide a strong basis for Canada to demand protection and freedom of worship for Christians in Bejaia province.


Shawn Stevens


“Algeria : Churches Threatened.”