Bring one of these 10 new designs to your community.


The ARPA Canada tour will begin October 28 and stop in 14 locations in Ontario and Alberta. See tour dates and locations here.

School: Who Should Rule?

The following article, "School: Who Should Rule" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.

What do Reformed church orders say about church-run schools vs. parent-run schools?

By Mark Penninga

Late last year I was privileged to join my colleague André Schutten in making presentations to Reformed churches and schools across Canada. We were talking about the political and legal challenges we are seeing against parental authority in education. Our focus was the Loyola Supreme Court case, in which the province of Quebec is demanding that all schools and home schools set aside their worldview, and instead teach about religion and ethics from an explicitly secular perspective.

In preparing for these presentations I did some research into what Reformed Christians believe about who is primarily responsible for the education of children. I assumed that there was a common perspective about parental authority, in light of covenant theology. I was wrong.

Read more: School: Who Should Rule?

Conscience Rights for Doctors - Lighthouse News

Conscience Rights for Doctors

An interview this week, on the conscience rights of medical doctors in Ontario.  The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario is reviewing whether doctors should have the right to “opt out” of providing certain services, such as prescribing birth control pills or performing abortions if those practices violate their religious beliefs.  There’s a public consultation process underway on the issue now, and we talk to lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos, who has submitted a brief on the issue on behalf of several groups of Christian medical professionals.  (ARPA has also submitted a brief as part of the consultation process.  You can find a copy online, here.)

On the news portion of the program, ARPA has applied for intervener status in two pending legal challenges on the Trinity Western law school debate.

We also continue our series on what some local ARPA chapters have been up to this summer.  A group in Alberta hosted a BBQ for their Member of Parliament with some encouraging results.


And the Ontario government is getting ready to update it’s requirements for sex education.  The issue first surfaced foury ears ago, but was abandoned at least in part because of opposition from the Christian community, which said the proposed curriculum was too explicit and age-inappropriate.   There was a column on the issue in the Toronto Star last week; it was openly hostile to the Christian perspective on this, but it’s worth a read as a primer for parents in Ontario in terms of some of the rhetoric they will be facing when this issue comes back to the forefront.  You can find the column here.  

Submission to College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - Policy 5-08

On Tuesday, August 5, ARPA's legal counsel sent a formal submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario with respect to their policy as it relates to conscience rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The College had requested feedback as it underwent consultations while reviewing their policy. At stake is whether doctors have the right
to refuse treatment if they have conscientious objections to the treatment. For example, can a Christian doctor refuse to prescribe birth control pills if that particular doctor thinks that such a prescription is unethical, or is bad medicine? What if the objection is religiously motivated? These are not just hypothetical questions: three doctors in Ottawa recently came under fire for refusing to prescribe the birth control pill. 

As you will read in ARPA's submission (a copy is appended below), there were many legal submissions made to the College that correctly and thoroughly outlined the law as it relates to protecting doctors' conscience rights.

Read more: Submission to College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario - Policy 5-08

BBQ with Yellowhead MP Hon. Rob Merrifield

The Barrhead/Neerlandia ARPA chapter hosted a BBQ to thank Hon. Rob Merrifield, MP for Yellowhead for his work and commitment to the riding in which he served and is now retiring from. The approximately 45 people that attended the BBQ included both past and present board members, Mr. Merrifield and his wife and Mr. Merrifield's White Court office secretary and her husband. Board member Jacqueline Hamoen wrote that the guests were very thankful for the opportunity to come to a pig roast on a farm. 

The group presented Mr. Merrifield with a picture, designed by Caitlin Hamoen, with words of appreciation for the work and dedication he had given the Yellowhead riding. He was surprised but very thankful for the gift.

According to Jacqueline Hamoen, Mr. Merrifield mentioned the appreciation that he had serving, and how important it is to keep Christian leaders in play. He felt at home and had a great many laughs with everyone. The evening was enjoyed by everyone.


Without autonomous families, freedom falters

It’s frightening that a provision protecting a parent’s authority over their child’s education would cause so much controversy in Alberta, the land of the free. And it’s ironic that when the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly parental rights are all the rage.

Last month, PC leadership contenders landed in hot water over their support of section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. This 2009 amendment requires educators to inform parents with a written letter when their children will be taught about controversial issues including religion and sexual ethics.

This section simply affirms the common law right and the constitutional freedom of parents to raise their children according to their own worldview. This freedom and right is also protected under the Charter’s section 2(a) and 2(b) provisions (freedom of religion and freedom of expression) and under section 7 (right to liberty).

Read more: Without autonomous families, freedom falters

Euthanasia - when a Nation Chooses Suicide

Update (July 18, 2014) - Quebec's new euthanasia law is being challenged in court. We are thankful that the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, have filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal. The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of Bill 52 that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a euphemism used to describe euthanasia.

"Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide."

*For a thorough ethical, legal and medical critique of Quebec's euthanasia law, check out Dr. Margaret Somerville's brief to the Quebec Health Committee. Her brief is No. 053M.

By Mark Penninga (www.ARPACanada.ca): These words are credited to the famed 20th Century historian Arnold Toynbee who wrote a 12-volume book set about the rise and fall of 26 civilizations.

Toynbee's statement takes on a morbid new meaning when we see how Quebec is rushing to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reckless abandon, the province is throwing aside its moral grounding and forging ahead in search of a new identity. Those who thought that this was stalled in the recent election of a Liberal government can think again.

Bill 52, reintroduced by the new Couillard government, will allow doctors to lethally inject their patients if they have physical or psychological pain. Because the bill was fast-tracked, it is possible that state-sanctioned killing is law in Quebec within a couple of weeks.

Although Bill 52 was first introduced by the previous PQ government and died as a result of the recent election, the new Liberal government has quickly reintroduced it, with no substantial amendments. It then proceeded to move the bill to the same stage as it was prior to the election, which required unanimous, and likely coerced, approval from all MNAs.

So why is this such a big deal? Bill 52 would cross a line that Canada has never crossed in its existence, at least for born humans.

Access this URL (http://arpacanada.ca/images/politics/Bill_52_briefToQuebecHealthCommitee_m_somerville.pdf)Bill_52_briefToQuebecHealthCommitee_m_somerville.pdf[Bill 52 - Brief To Quebec Health Commitee [M. Somerville]]0 kB

Read more: Euthanasia - when a Nation Chooses Suicide

Freedom Requires Virtue, Which Requires Faith

When speaking of issues of justice and maintaining order in society, a democracy requires a certain ingredient to work well. That ingredient is virtue. But where does virtue come from? It comes from faith. Knowing human nature, when we remove faith from a democracy, we remove virtue from a democracy. And when we remove virtue, it doesn't take very long at all before the society starts to crumble. Freedom and liberty are curtailed in attempts to maintain order and safety. And the desires and quickly changing whims of the majority (lacking in virtue) begin to shape public policy. As Chuck Colson notes in his book, Justice that Restores, "without individual virtue, one cannot achieve a virtuous culture; without a virtuous culture, one cannot hire enough policemen to keep order. As Michael Novak has trenchantly observed, referring to America, 'in a virtuous culture, we have 250 million policemen, in a culture that mocks virtue, we cannot hire enough policemen.'"

Indeed, a virtuous society basically polices itself, creating more, not less, freedom. Eric Metaxas explains further in this great 4 minute podcast. Click here to listen.

Why use graphic images in pro-life messaging

A lot of people get angry when pro-lifers use graphic images to depict the reality of abortion. While we at ARPA Canada and through our pro-life campaign, WeNeedaLAW.ca, do not use graphic images in our messaging, we know many who do use them and use them effectively. The reality is that graphic images anger people, and rightly so. However, instead of focusing our anger on the messenger, we should be concerning ourselves with those whose ideology allows for the injustice to occur in the first place.

The Hamilton Spectator published an excellent op-ed by WeNeedaLAW.ca campaign director, Mike Schouten, titled Censoring disturbing images in which he addresses the Hamilton City Council's decision to prevent distribution of graphic images depicting abortion.

Interestingly, a question posed to the Hamilton City Council councillor who presented the motion about condemning other forms of graphic violence (as seen on TV, in film and video games), has gone unanswered. As Mike writes, "Images of aborted preborn children will certainly make every Canadian with a conscience uncomfortable. That's the point."

Read more: Why use graphic images in pro-life messaging

Importance of Abortion Statistics

Importance of Abortion Statistics

An interview this week, on a legal challenge to Ontario’s re-write of its Freedom of Information and Privacy Act – a re-write that explicitly removes the right to access abortion statistics.  We talk to the woman who’s launched the legal challenge.

ARPA has been granted intervener status before the Supreme Court of Canada in the so-called “Carter Case” – a suit that will determine the constitutional validity of the current anti-euthenasia law.  

Another update on Trinity Western University’s attempts to start a law school.

A win for freedom of religion in the City of Nanaimo, where City Council has rescinded a motion that would potentially have banned Christian groups from using civic facilities.  The mayor also issued a public apology.  (Go to about the 19-minute mark of this link to see it for yourself.)

And We Need a Law has a new billboard up on one of BC’s busiest highways.  

Liberty cannot be permitted to trump life

Euthanasia is not a dignified answer to end-of-life care

The ARPA staff are preparing to intervene in the Carter v. Canada case at the Supreme Court, which will examine whether Canada's current laws on euthanasia and assisted suicide will stand or be struck down.

The matter of death is one that affects us all and we are looking to the courts to rule against the legalization of euthanasia and doctor-assisted suicide. The value of an individual should never come at the cost of what he or she can contribute to society, but instead in the simple fact that we are all human beings, created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27).

The Calgary Herald has once again published an op-ed from ARPA Executive Director, Mark Penninga, Liberty can't be permitted to trump life.

Calgary Herald - July 14, 2014 - Mark PenningaA few years ago, I was driving my girlfriend home from a date at a Vancouver Giants hockey game. All was going well until my Mazda 323 started chugging up the Port Mann Bridge to cross the Fraser River.

Read more: Liberty cannot be permitted to trump life

Email your MP now!

Prostitution and the Media Silence

The Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights has been listening to witnesses this week (July 7-11, 2014) as it relates to Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Person’s Act. The media has been reporting on the hearings, but the coverage has not been all that balanced. Just as we saw with the Bedford v. Canada court case where only Ms. Bedford and other privileged prostitutes had their voice heard in court, it seems the media wants to undermine the voices of those who worked in the industry but who did not have a positive and empowering experience.

Typically, when we ignore the voice of the vulnerable and only want to support the privileged, society gets angry (the Occupy Movement, for example). In an effort to show a balanced view, please read the essay of former sex worker of 15 years, Katarina McLeod who attempts to have the voices of the silenced sex workers heard in the public sphere.

Thankfully, there are voices willing to speak against the tide.  Margaret Wente does so with her article in the Globe and Mail, Is there a moral case against prostitution

This week’s hearings on the government’s proposed new prostitution law represent a priceless opportunity to bash the Harper government for its clumsy, moralistic, ineffective and possibly unconstitutional attempt to suppress the world’s oldest profession. Opposition politicians are gleefully on the attack, and so are a fair number in the news media.

So let’s concede that the law is flawed, and let’s further concede that eradicating the sex trade is impossible. So what kind of law do the critics think should we have instead? Er, long silence.

When asked about his views on the core issue – whether prostitution should be more fully legalized – Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau ducks and weaves. “What we feel is that the government in its approach right now isn’t living up to what the Supreme Court asked it to do, which is to make sure that the most vulnerable people – the workers in the sex trade – are protected from violence,” he told Sun News last month.

In fact, Mr. Trudeau’s views on the morality of the sex trade are remarkably similar to those of the Conservative government.

Read more

Calgary Herald: Independent School Funding

UPDATE: Link to video of debate is now available. Watch it here.

Should the Alberta government cease funding for private and chartered schools? That was the question posed at a recent debate in Tomkins Park, Calgary. 

The Calgary Herald has published a piece by McKenzie Hahn who attended and you can read her piece online. Ms. Hahn explains that as a graduate of the public education system and recognizing that she may one day need to make decisions regarding education, she decided to attend the public debate between Cardus' Ray Pennings and MLA Kent Hehr.

Among her comments she highlights the benefits of private education, as demonstrated in the 2012 Cardus Education Survey (which you can download for free here), the reality that the subsidized funding of independent schools in fact saves our government money (parents are paying into the public system while also paying for their child's education) and, what many people fail to realize, that "every system has an inherent world view".

Read the full piece on the Calgary Herald website.

Report Card: Assessing Canada's Conservative Government

The following article, "Report Card: Assessing Canada's Conservative Government on 10 Key Issues" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been updated and included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.

By Mark Penninga (Updated July, 2014)

In a June 2011 article for Reformed Perspective I detailed 10 realistic goals that could be accomplished for our nation under this Conservative government if our leaders have the courage to lead and if citizens give them the encouragement and accountability to do so. Now that we are about halfway through this government’s mandate, how are we faring on these issues?

1. Give Aboriginals the responsibility and hope that belongs to all Canadians
Grade: B+

Not long after ARPA published a policy report on this issue in 2012, we were very encouraged to see the federal government announce a number of bills and policies to increase accountability, equality, and opportunity for Canada's Aboriginal peoples. In June 2013, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act became law. Aboriginal MP Rob Clarke has also introduced a private member's bill C-428 entitled the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act. And the government has also taken steps towards allowing private property ownership on reserves and increasing parental responsibility in education.

As encouraging as these changes are, they are small steps in light of the enormity of the problem. And given that the issue crosses into provincial responsibility, much more can also be done in having the provinces and federal government work towards a common vision.

2. Reform the Canadian Human Rights Commission
Grade: C-

In light of all the opposition from all sides of the political spectrum to problematic sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is striking that it took a private member's bill (Brian Storseth's C-304) to finally abolish Section 13 in the summer of 2013.

This was a huge victory, but the current government can't take much credit for it, apart from not actively opposing it. Much more can be done to reform or even abolish the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Download this file (Report Card (RP article) v2.pdf)Report Card (RP article)[ ]49 kB

Read more: Report Card: Assessing Canada's Conservative Government

ARPA Granted Intervenor Status in Supreme Court Euthanasia Case

With thankfulness to God, we are grateful to report that ARPA Canada has been granted standing as an intervenor in the Supreme Court of Canada case Carter et al v Attorney General of Canada, which will decide whether Canada's laws against euthanasia and assisted suicide will stand. As with the Loyola case, the Court is allowing us 10 pages of written arguments, and will decide later if we will also get to make oral arguments.

This case will have a huge impact on the value of human life in Canadian law. Once a line is crossed where some human lives are deemed not worth living, then it is up to the subjective will of some to decide whether others meet their criteria or not. 

Read more: ARPA Granted Intervenor Status in Supreme Court Euthanasia Case

More Articles...

  1. Prostitution, Pornography, and Human Trafficking; Fueling the ‘Rape Culture’
  2. Prostitution March by Hamilton Area ARPA
  3. Restorative Justice Transcripts Now Available
  4. ARPA in Vancouver Sun: All lawyers abide by religious covenant
  5. ARPA Euthanasia debate
  6. Lighthouse News - Sexuality, Politics, and Culture
  7. Prostitution law tabled, and you helped shape it!
  8. A biblical response to transgenderism
  9. Farewell to another exceptional intern
  10. Palliative Care M-456 passed!
  11. Equal Parenting Motion Defeated But Changes to Divorce Act Promised
  12. Overton Window - Lighthouse News
  13. Are municipalities too squeamish to talk abortion?
  14. Where's Your Head?
  15. Pray for All in Authority

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www.ligonier.org (videos on church and state)


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About ARPA Canada

The mission of ARPA Canada is to educate, equip, and encourage Reformed Christians to political action and to bring a biblical perspective to our civil authorities (learn more).

ARPA Canada is a non-profit organization, supported entirely by individuals like yourself who want to see this work continue. We do not receive financial assistance from churches, charities, government, tax credits, or foundations. Learn more about how you can help us carry out our mission.

Articles from www.ARPACanada.ca that have been authored by ARPA Canada may be republished and used in full or in part elsewhere provided that attribution is given to ARPA Canada, including a link to site.