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Politics Harper cancels Malala citizenship event in wake of shooting

Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai speaks during a media conference at the Library of Birmingham, in Birmingham, England, Oct.10, 2014. Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office says two scheduled events today in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai have been cancelled. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Rui Vieira

The Associated Press

Two scheduled events on Wednesday in Toronto with Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai were cancelled, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office said.

The last-minute announcement came amid the emergency in Ottawa, where several shootings occurred on or near Parliament Hill.

Mr. Harper was to moderate an afternoon question-and-answer session with Ms. Yousafzai at a Toronto high school.

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He was then scheduled to head to a downtown hotel, where the 17-year-old from Pakistan was to receive honorary Canadian citizenship.

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said both events have been cancelled.

Mr. Harper sat down with Ms. Yousafzai in New York in September, 2013, while world leaders were gathering for the United Nations General Assembly.

On Tuesday, she accepted the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, an award that is meant to honour those who strive to secure freedom for people around the world.

"She serves as a model and an inspiration to all Canadians and to the world in her fight for universal education," Mr. Harper said in a motion this week to make Ms. Yousafzai an honorary Canadian citizen. The Conservative government first announced plans to make her an honorary citizen in last year's Throne Speech.

Ms. Yousafzai was 15 when a member of the Taliban shot her in the head and neck in retaliation for her advocacy on behalf of girls' education in the Swat Valley region of Pakistan. She is currently attending school in Britain and continues to face threats in her home country.

She is a co-winner of this year's Nobel Peace Prize along with Indian children's education activist Kailash Satyarthi.

The Canadian Press and Staff

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