ARPA HAS EXPANDED
With thankfulness to the Lord, we welcome Colin Postma as ARPA’s new policy analyst and Anna Nienhuis as our WeNeedaLAW West Coast Assistant. The ARPA office has moved and is now at 130 Albert Street (Suite 2010), Ottawa.
- Created on Monday, 29 June 2015 08:45
Last week a piece of legislation that started as a Private Member’s Bill passed the Senate and became law. On the feature this week, we talk with MP Michael Chong, who wrote and sponsored the “Reform Act”, about the implications the Act has for the way Parliament operates.
In the news, ARPA is using the summer hiatus at the Alberta Legislature to broadcast information about Bill 10, and how it might be amended. A letter was recently distributed across the province, detailing the problems with the law and proposing ways it could be changed or challenged in court.
LifeSiteNews received a threatening letter from lawyers for the Peel School Board last week, demanding that it remove two news stories from its website. The stories (here and here) detail the efforts of some activist gay and lesbian teachers in Ontario to infuse all of their curriculum with material promoting homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and LGBTQ rights. We have some audio on the program this week from John-Henry Weston, the Editor-in-Chief at LifeSiteNews; audio taken from an interview he did with Brian Lilley at Rebel Media. You can find that full interview here. LifeSiteNews is not backing down, and is demanding that the Peel School District retract its demands.
We Need a Law has a new legal opinion on the relationship between its campaign for parental consent legislation in Saskatchewan and the legal concept of the “mature minor”.
And an update on WNAL’s most recent (and highly successful) online fundraising campaign.
- Created on Friday, 26 June 2015 04:43
By Kent Dykstra
One of the most controversial aspects of the recently-released Truth and Reconciliation Commission report was the use of the term “cultural genocide” to describe the practice of residential schooling that took place during the 1800s and 1900s in Canada. It is defined as “the destruction of those structures and practices that allow a group to continue as a group… Specifically, families are disrupted to prevent the transmission of cultural values and identity from one generation to the next.”
Much of the printed reaction to the report was a combination of self-condemnation and hand-wringing that characterizes much of the discourse on this topic. But as I read more about it, I wondered whether cultural genocide, as defined above, continues in Canada even today.
Provincial governments, especially in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, and recently also Alberta have been increasingly undermining parental rights in education by enforcing a view of secularism and sexuality that is at odds with the beliefs of a significant number of parents. This is done under the guise of human rights, but at its core is an assumption that the moral/cultural beliefs of the enlightened majority should be forced onto the minority. For example, over the past few years the province of Quebec went all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada in its efforts to force every school, including religious schools, to teach courses about religion and culture from a secular perspective. In other words, the state demanded that the religion and consciences of the parents and their children be squashed by the secular humanist beliefs of the majority. This is precisely the same assumption that gave rise to the residential schooling system.
- Created on Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:34
On the feature this week, an interview with Derek Miedema from the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada. Derek has just done a policy review of a new website that provides advice and information on palliative and hospice care across the country. We talk about the positives and the negatives of using technology for the delivery of these kinds of services.
In the news, Manitoba MP Ed Komarnicki’s motion on “Conscience Rights” for MP’s passed almost unanimously in Parliament last week. Mike Schouten from We Need a Law weighs in on the policy implications of the motion.
Some context this week, on stories you’ve no doubt seen in the mainstream media on a survey by the group “Dying with Dignity”. The survey claims that more than 80% of Canadians are OK with the outcome of the so-called “Carter Case”, and with the notion of doctor-assisted suicide. However, Natalie Hudson-Sonnen from Life Canada says the numbers are a bit deceiving. Surveys they’ve done show that the level of support drops considerably once people think through the risks and policy implications of the idea.
- Created on Monday, 22 June 2015 08:05
As many of our Albertan readers know, Bill 10, hastily passed before the election with major amendments, radically reworked the Education Act, Schools Act and the Alberta Human Rights Act. Bill 10 is problematic for many reasons, principally because it undermines parental rights, threatens religious and associational freedom, and promotes nonsensical public policy. For more about the problems of Bill 10, see our earlier analysis here. Also, we encourage you to read and share this call-to-action letter mailed to all of our ARPA supporters in Alberta.
We're happy to share with you another resource and call to action. Please watch this video discussion between ARPA's executive director Mark Penninga and ARPA's lawyer André Schutten about Bill 10. Share it with your friends and family. And then follow up on the action items they mention in the video.
You can also print the petition at this link (and read the fact sheets) and bring it to your school, workplace, church or neighbourhood and get as many friends, family and colleagues to sign it.
You can also send an EasyMail letter right now to your local MLA. We have three to choose from.
- Letter 1 - Law can't be built on feelings (link)
- Letter 2 - Bill 10 violates freedom of religion and association (link)
- Letter 3 - Parental Authority Undermined (link)
Please also use Facebook to share this action item by clicking “share” at the bottom of this article.
- Created on Thursday, 18 June 2015 11:34
Prizes, expert judging, and promotion sponsored by Compass Creative and Reformed Perspective.
In 2013 we held our first billboard contest and the submissions continue to be used in various mediums - as billboards, car decals, stickers and large-scale ads on trailers.
This summer we are launching the 2015 edition of the billboard design contest. We challenge our readers to create new designs for billboards, which can then be used by ARPA groups, our campaigns, and other organizations to make a testimony across our land.
The winning design will tackle a critical issue in the Canadian public square through a compelling, impactful, creative, and persuasive message that meets the criteria of one of two categories listed:
- Category 1: Abortion (prize is an 8" Samsung tablet)
- Category 2: All other political issues (prize is a 10" Samsung tablet)
Runners-up in each category will receive a one-year gift subscription to Reformed Perspective magazine.
- Created on Monday, 15 June 2015 09:20
On the feature this week, an interview with Aaron Oosterhoff from ARPA Niagara, about that local chapter’s efforts to raise awareness about Ontario’s new sex education curriculum. Also, a brief snippet from an interview at the Gospel Coalition website with Dr. Albert Mohler from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, about the importance of a Christian witness on these kinds of issues in society.
On the news, Ontario has rushed through passage Bill 77, the law that takes away government funding for therapy that seeks to change or redirect sexual orientation or gender identity, and imposes an outright ban on any counselling of anyone under 18 which might lead to them re-thinking those issues. ARPA policy analyst Colin Postma tells us that the government refused to hear any input from anyone who might be opposed to the Bill, and that there are worries that other provinces may be considering similar legislation. There’s some EasyMail links up on the ARPA website if you’d like to contact officials in your province on this issue.
A Christian Heritage Party candidate in Hamilton is out with a new angle on the sex-ed curriculum controversy. Jim Enos is predicting that at least one segment of the population in his province will be very adamant in its opposition to the curriculum when it’s set to take effect this fall.
And ARPA’s voice was clearly heard in British Columbia last month. Executive Director Mark Penninga was a featured guest on “BC Almanac”, the CBC’s flagship province-wide noon-hour call-in show. He was talking about renewed efforts in Ottawa to ban corporal punishment. We have an excerpt from the program. You can listen to the full podcast here, (starting at around the 23:30 mark).
- Created on Friday, 12 June 2015 17:07
When the new Parliament returns after the election, MPs will have only weeks to introduce new assisted suicide legislation before the February 2016 deadline. It is so important that each of us uses the opportunity NOW, before our MPs are distracted by the election, to talk to them about the issue. Watch and share this video, and check out our policy report for details. Lives can be saved or lost depending on how our government responds.
Addendum: Some of our readers have contacted us, asking about the accuracy of the statement that, if Canada's Parliament does not pass a euthanasia law, then "we will become the most permissive regime in the entire world".
The legal reasoning behind the statement is this:
The Supreme Court of Canada struck down section 14 (which said that you cannot consent to your own death) and section 241b (which prohibited assisting someone in their death) as unconstitutional. Now, the Supreme Court did, in its language, limit the application of their judgment to physicians "helping" competent, consenting adults who are suffering. However, those limitations were listed in their discussion of the context in which they thought those sections were unconstitutional. The practical effect of their remedy is much broader than that: if Parliament does not act, section 14 and 241b cease to operate. Full stop. This could mean that anyone can consent to their death and anyone can assist someone to kill themselves. While the Court intended the assistants to be limited to doctors and the assistance to be limited to those being who are suffering, competent adults, the effect of their ruling, if not corrected by Parliament legislating differently, is to create the broadest, most permissive euthanasia regime in the world. For more analysis, including a comparison of some other permissive jurisdictions, please see our policy report on euthanasia here.
- Created on Thursday, 11 June 2015 11:42
***Take Action Today: 3 EasyMail letters waiting for you below***
Recently Ontario and Manitoba passed legislation banning therapy for teens with unwanted homosexual or transgender feelings. We have serious concerns regarding the implications of these laws, and fear they are just around the corner for other provinces. At the end of this article we have some pointers on how you can respond in your province.
On June 4th, the last day that the Ontario Legislature was sitting before the summer, MPPs voted unanimously to pass Bill 77, heralded by its proponents as the right step following similar legislation in some jurisdictions of the United States. This bill was first proposed by New Democrat Cheri DiNovo a minister in the United Church of Canada. She argued, “these kids do not need to be fixed. It’s society that needs to be fixed.” The bill was written to remove coverage for “services rendered that seek to change or direct the sexual orientation or gender identity of a patient, including efforts to change or direct the patient’s behaviour or gender expression.” It will also seek to prohibit providing these services to anyone under the age of 18. Manitoba’s new regulations are similar.
- Created on Monday, 08 June 2015 08:47
On Tuesday, June 2, the ARPA staff, board and a couple donors came together to dedicate the new ARPA office to the Lord in a time of prayer and thanksgiving. The new office will be home base for the 3 Ottawa-based staff and has ample space for our out-of-town staff, as well as any interns, to work and collaborate together.
We are grateful to the support of our donors over the past years and invite you to stop by our new office the next time you are in Ottawa. The address is 130 Albert Street, Suite 2010, just 3 blocks from Parliament Hill.
Below are a few pictures from last week when a number of staff were able to work together in the new office.
- Created on Monday, 08 June 2015 09:03
On the feature this week, a brief excerpt from a devotional session that was part of the dedication of the new ARPA offices in Ottawa; a good reminder from Psalm 127 of some of the core principles that guide the organization.
In the news, the controversial Truth and Reconciliation Commission on Canada’s Residential Schools issued its final report last week. We compare the contents of that report with a policy paper ARPA presented on this issue several years ago.
We have another update on the Trinity Western Law School controversy: last week a court in Ontario heard the School’s challenge of a decision by the Law Society of Upper Canada to deny graduates of the proposed Law School admission to the Bar in Ontario.
And, a look at some of the new technology that’s part of the new ARPA offices in Ottawa.
- Created on Monday, 01 June 2015 09:14
On the feature this week, a brief excerpt from a speech given at the annual ARPA Niagara dinner. Rev. Scott Masson from Tyndale University College talks about the opportunities for witnesses presented by Ontario’s new Sex Education curriculum, and how some churches are squandering that opportunity.
In the news, a Saskatchewan Member of Parliament has introduced a Private Member’s Motion in the Commons, which would entrench the rights of MPs to “vote their conscience” on controversial issues involving abortion and euthanasia.
ARPA is out with an analysis of Bill 77, a proposed new law in Ontario that would make it borderline illegal for pastors and Christian counselors to do their jobs when it comes to working with young people who are struggling with issues of sexual identity.
Also with “sexual identity”, there’s a push on in BC to eliminate all references to sex or gender on the birth certificates of newborn babies. National Post columnist Barbara Kay had some interesting analysis of this proposal earlier this month.
And, a look back at the most recent We Need a Law flag display, this time in Lethbridge, Alberta. There were some hiccups in getting the necessary municipal permits to hold the event. ARPA Executive Director Mark Penninga wrote an op-ed about that process, which was published in the Lethbridge Herald.
- Created on Monday, 25 May 2015 07:11
On the feature this week, the meditation that was given at the Reformed Prayer Service at the National March for Life in Ottawa earlier this month. Rev. Peter Holtvluwer from the Spring Creek Canadian Reformed Church in Tintern, Ontario, talks about the way our culture is “Cozying up to Death.”
In the news, ARPA Canada will be filing an intervention in a BC court case later this year surrounding the Trinity Western Law School application. ARPA was granted intervener status last week in the case, in which Trinity is challenging a decision by the BC Law Society not to allow graduates of the proposed Law School to practice law in BC.
ARPA Executive Director Mark Penninga wrote an op-ed piece that appears in the Vancouver Sun last week on the issue of corporal punishment; the idea that parents should have the right to spank their children. The column was in response to a statement in the House of Commons by Vancouver-Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray, who called spanking “a cruel form of punishment,” and decried Section 43 of the Criminal Code as “an archaic flaw in our legal system” The column is based on a policy paper ARPA presented to Parliamentarians almost two years ago. You can find that paper here.
And a video from the National March for Life has gone viral on the Internet. It’s an interview done by Rebel Media’s Merissa Semkiw, (warning: the video contains some graphic language) in which she asks a pro-abortion protestor about when a law against abortion might be appropriate. The man is – if nothing else – very consistent in his approach to the issue, saying abortion should be allowed even “a day” before a child is due to be delivered. And then he adds that even “post-natal abortion” should be allowed, although he’s quick to add that he’s “not advocating murder of any kind.”
- Created on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 07:11
How should Christians interact with the Muslim faith? In particular, what should our response be to the rise of militant Islam in the Middle East and in the west? On the feature interview this week, Al speaks with Harry Antonides, who has devoted a lot of his retirement years to researching these questions.
In the news, we look at the impetus behind the myriad “Marches for Life” that are going on across the country this month. We also update a Saskatchewan effort to have a “Parental Consent” bill passed in the legislature.
- Created on Tuesday, 12 May 2015 20:56
By Mark Penninga, Vancouver Sun, May 12 2015: Vancouver-Quadra Member of Parliament Joyce Murray stood in the House of Commons this month to condemn spanking. "Shockingly, section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code still permits this cruel form of punishment, an archaic flaw in our legal system to say the least," she sais. Murray proceeded to call on all MPs to ban physical punishment of children.
Canadian Parliamentarians have unsuccessfully introduced since 1997 eight private member's bills to fully ban corporal punishment, also known as physical discipline or spanking.
A case challenging the legality of physical discipline went to the Supreme Court of Canada. The majority of Canada's highest court ruled in 2004 the law Murray decries is constitutional. Chief Justice McLachlin, writing for the majority, took the opportunity to clarify what is and is not appropriate. Physical discipline may only be used for children between the ages of two and 12. It can't include objects, or be directed at the head. Physical discipline must be sober and reasoned and address behaviour.
However, these restrictions aren't enough for Murray and many others.
Given that about half of Canadian parents use physical discipline, this argument is not a minor or hypothetical matter. There are two key questions: is physical discipline really harmful or abusive, and who is the best situated to determine whether it is an acceptable form of discipline, the State or the parent?
- Created on Monday, 13 April 2015 07:11
The annual National Prayer Breakfast was held in Ottawa late last month. On the feature part of the program this week, an edited version of the keynote speech from that event, delivered by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. His theme was “What it Means to be Human.” The speech on our podcast has been edited for length – you can watch the full speech on the CPAC website by clicking here.
In the news, the Christian Legal Fellowship held its annual symposium for Christian law students and young professionals in London, Ontario last week. We speak to the CLF’s Executive Director about some of the practicalities of applying the Christian faith to the practice of law.
The ARPA office move is Ottawa is complete now, and there are some unexpected benefits. ARPA legal counsel André Schutten tells us about them.
And, an unexpected dark side to the “crowd-funding” phenomenon. The world’s leading crowd-funding website is now prohibiting fundraising for Christian businesses who are caught up in the legal battles over gay marriage in the US.
- An ethical alternative to euthanasia
- Death is Natural
- Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on Bill 10
- The value of the Scriptural testimony engraved on Canada’s Peace Tower
- Court challenge of Abortion Censorship
- Breaking News: ARPA files constitutional challenge against abortion censorship law
- FIPPA challenge - FAQs
- The Saguenay Decision
- Action Alert: Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide Law
- Religious freedom is a shield against anti-religious bigotry
- Lunney Leaves His Party
- Bill 10 undermines parental rights and the free society
- The appeal of the CPSO decision
- ARPA Canada calls on governments to protect religious freedom
- The Loyola Ruling
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