- Created on Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:52
Where can you find references to The Princess Bride, mutant organisms, the supremacy of God, swords and shields, and the imago Dei all in one place? Check out ARPA Canada's legal counsel's oral submissions to the Nova Scotia Supreme Court yesterday where, in just 17 minutes, he accomplished all that. A copy of André Schutten's speaking notes are attached at the bottom of this article, and a video of his presentation to the Court can be found at this link here. (Just select the video link under the player for December 17, 2014 Morning 1. Fast forward to André's comments which begin at the 72:12 minute mark.)
- Created on Monday, 15 December 2014 16:27
Click here to watch a video update from ARPA's legal counsel who flew to Nova Scotia today ahead of the court case scheduled to begin tomorrow. ARPA Canada is intervening in the case to be heard at the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia on behalf of those who are concerned about the impact this case will have on religious freedom.
You can learn more about our intervention under Legal Action on our website.
- Created on Monday, 15 December 2014 05:54
On October 2, 2014 nearly one hundred volunteers from across Canada gathered on Parliament Hill to plant 100,000 pink and blue flags for ARPA Canada's WeNeedaLAW.ca campaign. This was the largest anti-abortion display our country has ever seen. The flags, each one of them, represent one abortion every year in Canada. The display captured both national and international attention. You can view photos of the display here and on our Facebook page here.
That was ten weeks ago. On Friday, December 12th, CBC ran a top story on the event (after having refused to cover the story the day of) with a rather misleading headline: ‘Anti-abortion protest bent rules on Parliament Hill’.
However, without the deceptive headline there is really nothing to the story. The article is simply a detailed account of the process we walked through as we sought and received permission to use the grounds on Parliament Hill as a backdrop to our message highlighting the 100,000 abortions happening every year in Canada.
We are thankful that our legal counsel had opportunity to set the record straight on Sun News. Check out the video here.
- Created on Monday, 08 December 2014 15:33
After seeing a note from "Dying with Dignity" encouraging their supporters to make use of the BC government's consultation about health care sustainability and end-of-life care to promote euthanasia, we drafted our own submission (see the attached document). In recent years, there has been a push to redefine end-of-life care to include assisted suicide and euthanasia. This undermines the very concept of care, exploits some of our most vulnerable neighbours, and ignores a much better and proven alternative – palliative care. Promoting palliative care, not euthanasia and assisted suicide, upholds the dignity of human life while showing true love and compassion for those who are suffering.
We encourage our readers to share their storie and ideas, or make their own submissions to the BC health committee before December 31st here.
- Created on Monday, 08 December 2014 08:47
On the feature interview this week, we speak with Senator Don Plett about an effort by the Bank of Montreal and more than 70 other major Canadian corporations to enforce their version of “tolerance” on their suppliers.
On the news portion, the Alberta government has backed down on a plan that would have had major implications for parental rights generally and Christian Schools in particular, while in Ontario, the questions continue about what’s in a proposed new curriculum on sex education that’s supposed to go online in September of next year.
We also have some analysis of changes made to abortion regulations in New Brunswick, and Alex Schadenberg from the Euthenasia Prevention Coalition has an update on a new effort to pass an assisted suicide bill in the Senate.
- Created on Tuesday, 02 December 2014 11:36
October 18th is a special day in Canada. On that day, in 1929, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Counsel (at that time, the highest level of appeal in Canada) ruled that women were equal in law and were, in fact, persons. The case has become known as "The Persons' Case" and every year on October 18th, Canada remembers that case on "Persons' Day". (You can read the actual text of that judgment here.)
On October 29th of this year, Ms. Megan Leslie, an NDP Member of Parliament, rose in the House and said the following:
Ms. Megan Leslie (Halifax, NDP): Mr. Speaker, on Friday I will celebrate the 85th anniversary of the Persons Case with fellow feminists at a breakfast in Halifax for LEAF, the Women's Legal Education and Action Fund.
Professor Jula Hughes will speak on the history of legal disputes for abortion access in New Brunswick, which is timely, as its Morgentaler Clinic closed this summer. This was the only facility in the province where women could get an abortion free of restrictions, and it served women in New Brunswick and P.E.I.
- Created on Wednesday, 26 November 2014 11:09
Update (Dec 4, 2014): The Prentice government has just announced that it is shelving Bill 10 in light of the opposition the bill is receiving. Unfortunately most of the opposition seems to be from people who are pushing for even more radical changes. Let's be proactive and meet with our MLAs, write them, and call them, to discuss a better alternative.
Alberta's government is pushing hard to promote alternative sexual lifestyles while also decreasing the ability of parents to educate their children according to their beliefs. First, Bill 202 was introduced into the Alberta Legislature on November 20, 2014 by MLA Laurie Blakeman, as a private member's bill. The legislation has similarities to Manitoba's Bill 18 and Ontario's Bill 13 in making gay-straight alliances mandatory in any school where it is requested by a student. Like Manitoba, this would be the case for all schools, including independent and Christian. But the bill goes further (see below).
Soon after, the government responded by drafting its own legislation, Bill 10, which is also very troubling. Although they try strike a balance between LGBT rights and parental authority, it is clear that parental authority is being undermined. First, the bill will remove the requirement for parents to be informed when their children are being taught explicitly about sexual orientation. In addition, it would also add "sexual orientation" to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Alberta Bill of Rights. In other words, the government has determined that parents shouldn't be informed when their children are being taught about "sexual orientation."
Second, Section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA), which requires that parents be able to remove their children from instruction about sexuality and religion will be removed and put into the School Act and Education Act. A statement about parental rights will also be added to the Bill of Rights. It is hard to know why Section 11.1 is being removed from the AHRA. The AHRA is a quasi-constitutional document, so pulling this section suggests that the protection drops down a tier and would be subject to the other "rights" in the AHRA.
Third, it explicitly grants students from all schools, including private, who would want a gay-straight alliance, the authority to appeal to the school board if they are met with resistance. The school board's decision can be challenged by judicial review "for jurisdictional error or unreasonableness." Although we don't know the direct impact on Bill 202, it appears that Bill 202 will become moot.
We encourage our readers to read this article and then use our EasyMail sample letters to write their MLA, explaining that neither Bill 202 or Bill 10 should not be supported. Please encourage others to do likewise.
Take Action: Easymail letter 1 - Parents have authority over children
Take Action: Easymail letter 2 - Freedom of Religion and Association
- Created on Friday, 28 November 2014 10:10
On October 30th, the Ontario government signaled that they will again be introducing controversial changes to the sex-ed curriculum in Ontario. Our readers might remember the furor that arose after a graphic sex ed curriculum was introduced in 2010. Its explicit description of various sex acts and behaviours rightly outraged parents and so the government at that time quickly shelved the curriculum. However, this fall, Premier Wynne (who was Education Minister when the earlier version was introduced) has now stated that elementary schools will begin teaching the proposed sex education curriculum in the fall of 2015.
The education minister, Ms. Liz Sandals, also announced that parents will be consulted in this process. However, on closer inspection, those parents will be 4,000 pre-selected parents, one for each elementary school in the province. Clearly the government does not want to hear from the vast majority of parents, or those who want to exercise their democratic responsibility to interact with the laws and policies of their province.
- Created on Monday, 24 November 2014 11:22
In a direct challenge against efforts to start a Christian law school, some of Canada's largest corporations are joining forces to do business only with others who share their narrow views on "diversity." The Bank of Montreal has headed up the charge, first with a letter to the Ontario Bar Association challenging Trinity Western University's efforts to start a Christian law school. But they have gone much further than advocacy. According to the Institute for Canadian Values, on October 9th BMO contacted their legal suppliers stating that "BMO requires the law firms with whom we do business to disclose the diversity statistics of their associates, partners and management committee as part of our External Counsel Selection Program." The Institute for Canadian Values adds, "The bank is starting with legal suppliers and going from there. If their standards are not compatible with the bank, they will be dropped. Beyond that, the bank is intent on its employees reflecting its "inclusiveness" as not just tolerating others but "reflecting" the values of the clients."
Even more concerning, BMO is part of a group of 72 massive corporations which have agreed to be "legal leaders for diversity." Sobeys, Ford, MNP, Kellogs, Deloitte, RBC, UPS, and many others have agreed to 17 ways of promoting this radical secular agenda which shows little tolerance for Christians who publicly uphold God's standards of holiness. You can find more documentation from BMO and Legal Leaders for Diversity here. And you can find a letter from these corporations, also challenging the accreditation of TWU here.
Because ARPA's mission is expressly political, we will not be organizing a boycott against these corporations. However, we believe it is important that our readers see that the issues we are dealing with (such as our legal intervention for TWU's law school) has consequences which extend into many parts of life, and this is just beginning. Spread the word! Check out the documentation linked above and then contact the organizations you see listed that you do business with. For example, here is the contact information for BMO's board of governance.
As well explained in this article, there is a direct link between religious liberty and economic liberty. Don't buy the lie that the public square or the economy is value-neutral.
Further reflections (added 26 Nov. 2014):
The attack on the Trinity Western law school puts Canada at a crossroads. The fundamental freedoms (freedom of religion, freedom of expression, freedom of association) and the equality rights of an entire community – all supposedly protected by our Charter of Rights and Freedoms – are undermined by those who refuse to recognize TWU graduates as qualified professionals.
- Created on Thursday, 20 November 2014 11:33
The on-going saga of the approval process for Trinity Western University’s Law School has taken another turn for the worse. On November 19, the Minister of Advanced Education, presumably due to ongoing political pressure, announced that he is reconsidering his original approval of the law school. Minister Virk sent a letter to the Christian university stating that he might revoke approval. You can read more about that story here
This is very troubling. The blatant discrimination against Christians who govern their own lifestyles according to biblical principles is downright astonishing. We need to speak up! If you are a B.C. resident, please send a note to your MLA and the Minister of Advanced Education. You can choose from one of three letters through our EasyMail program. Click on one of the B.C. letters below to get started. If you live outside of B.C., you can still send a note. Send an Easymail to your MPP/MLA, Cc’d to Minister Virk, expressing your concern and frustration. Click on one of your province's letters below to get started. Remember, please edit the letters and keep them respectful, yet firm.
- Created on Monday, 17 November 2014 07:46
On the feature interview this week, an update on efforts to introduce “Parental Consent” legislation in Saskatchewan. We Need a Law’s Mike Schouten says the message has definitely reached to the highest levels in the Provincial Legislature – right to the Premier’s office.
On the news portion, some legislative victories. Bill C-36, Ottawa’s new prostitution legislation, hasnow passed the Senate, and will take effect in early December. We talk with Daniel Gilman, who’s been active in the push against human trafficking, which is a central tenet of the new law.
- Created on Wednesday, 05 November 2014 11:45
With thankfulness to God, we are pleased to announce that Bill C-36, Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, has passed third reading in the Senate and now only requires royal assent to become law. You helped table this law - thank you! As we have communicated before, we have been supportive of it since it was released last spring and are thankful it has come this far.
The bill needs only to receive royal assent, after which it will become law - in time for the December 19th deadline provided by the Supreme Court of Canada last year when they struck down Canada's existing prostitution laws, ruling them unconstitutional.
If you have not yet done so, you can read the Bill here. It is "An Act to amend the Criminal Code in response to the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Attorney General of Canada v. Bedford and to make consequential amendments to other Acts" and is quite possibly the most impressive piece of legislation we have seen with our current government, we are pleased to stand behind it and thankful for you, our readers and supporters for engaging on this issue as far back as 2011 when it was the featured topic on that years' ARPA Canada tour.
Press release from Member of Parliament Joy Smith can be read here.
- Created on Tuesday, 28 October 2014 09:01
The Barrhead/Neerlandia ARPA chapter, the Neerlandia ARPA School chapter and many volunteers hosted the pro-life flag display in Grande Prairie, Alberta on Saturday, October 25. The organizer shared some of her thoughts as well as experiences and photos with us.
"What a great day." We got to meet and talk with a number of people. One gentleman was pro-choice and we had a great conversation, he was happy that we could chat in a civil way, and said that was not something he was not use to. Another person we spoke with has gone through four abortions and was feeling very guilty about it. She was in tears and when she left I gave her a huge hug and told her not to forget that there is help if she needs it. A man we spoke with wanted his wife to have an abortion, 21 years ago. His wife did not have an abortion, they had a boy and now 21 years later the father and husband is a born again Christian and is glad his wife did not listen to him. He says that sometimes he thinks about what life could have been and I mentioned that he has since found Christ and that when ever he thinks like this he needs to remember that Christ died and forgave our sins. He left in happy spirits when we were finished. I also chatted with a lady that hosts the Christian radio station and would like to have a follow-up letter so she can remind her listeners that there are people out there that are beginning to stand for our beliefs. There were also many pro-lifers, and we were able to feed homeless people in the area. The many honks and waves from the vehicles driving by was overwhelming. I was hit by it at the end of the day. I shed some tears and was thankful to God that he was with us at all times. God has been good as he blessed us through this day, in the situations we encountered. Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
What a testimony and a great reminder of how we can engage on important political issues, that are also sensitive, in a respectful and encouraging way. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this event happen!
- Created on Monday, 22 September 2014 16:57
On the feature interview this week, a discussion about how your church can help to provide some stability for at-risk families in your community. Jennifer Forbes is the Executive Director of Safe Families Canada, a group that has started doing this in the Toronto area, and is looking to expand to other cities.
On the news portion, we talk with ARPA lawyer Andre Schutten about the Oct 22nd shooting in Ottawa. His office literally overlooks the area where it all took place, and he has some unique perspectives on what happened.
We also talk about the “Carter case” – ARPA was in the Supreme Court earlier this month as the final arguments were being made about whether Canada’s laws against euthanasia/assisted suicide should be allowed to stand. And while that hearing was going on, there was a demonstration in Southern Alberta in support of life. We talk to one of the organizers.
Also.. an update on Bill C-29; what it is, and what you can do to have some input into it.
- Created on Monday, 27 October 2014 07:27
On Monday, October 20 the National Post published an op-ed by ARPA Canada's Executive Director, Mark Penninga, in response to a column that argued that the Supreme Court allow assisted suicide. On October 15, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the case of Carter v. Canada. ARPA Canada was an intervenor in the case and Mark Penninga and ARPA's Legal Counsel, André Schutten, were in attendance at the hearing. You can watch their reflections here.
National Post - October 20, 2014
In a recent column (‘Your Call, Friend’, Oct. 15), Matt Gurney argued that it is time for the Supreme Court to allow assisted suicide. But Mr. Gurney qualified his argument by stating that, “Any regime for assisted suicide that we may implement must be biased to make choosing it difficult – not impossible, but difficult.” This limit imposed by Mr. Gurney may sound reasonable, but once this Rubicon of assisted death is crossed, any limits and safeguards imposed will be illusory or arbitrary.
I attended the Supreme Court hearing over whether to allow doctor-assisted suicide because the organization I lead, the Association for Reformed Political Action Canada, is one of the interveners in the case. Those who watched the debate in court would have heard the lawyers representing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and the Farewell Foundation for the Right to Die explicitly argue to the judges that it is inconsistent and wrong to limit assisted suicide and euthanasia to only a select few. For them, the standard for assisted death should be whether someone is competent to understand what they are requesting or receiving.
- How Can We Make Sense Of This?
- Video Update: Supreme Court of Canada Carter Case - Assisted Suicide
- Stop Bill C-279 Before it Becomes Law
- National Pro-Life Flag Display
- ARPA interview on Ottawa's CFRA
- Schouten & Schutten in National Post: Justice for the unborn — delayed and denied
- Applauding New Prostitution Legislation
- ARPA National Tour 2014: Schedule and Locations
- Right to Die Becomes Obligation
- Income Splitting – A Tax Policy for Families
- Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies
- Contact Your MP: Palliative Care and Assisted Suicide
- Clearing up confusion: who pays for private schools
- Public Cord Bank Now Accepting Blood
- The Economics of Climate Change
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