- Created on Monday, 13 April 2015 07:11
The Supreme Court of Canada has issued another landmark ruling on religious freedoms. This one is focused on whether government bodies, such as municipal Councils, can open their proceedings with public prayer. The so-called “Saguenay Decision” is the final outcome of a drawn-out legal battle that started when an atheist in Saguenay, Quebec, took his mayor and council to the provincial Human Rights Tribunal, claiming that an expressly Catholic prayer which had long been used at the start of Council meetings there constituted discrimination against his atheism. Ultimately, the Supreme Court sided with the complainant, but the decision is quite complicated. On the feature interview this week, we speak with Bruce Clemenger from the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada on the practical implications of the decision.
Also on the program, home schoolers in Alberta are upset with the latest provincial budget there, which they say includes unfair funding cuts for parents who choose to education their children at home. We talk with Paul van den Bosch, the President of the Alberta Home Educator’s Association, about the specifics of the budget.
And Mike Schouten from We Need a Law weighs in on some shocking new statistics about live-birth abortions in Canada; numbers uncovered by pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney.
- Created on Friday, 17 April 2015 11:48
After taking the time to study the Carter Supreme Court decision and consult other experts, ARPA Canada is thankful to release our new policy report, which makes a principled, well-researched, and legally feasible case to Parliament to do everything in its power to criminalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. As we explain in the report, even after the Carter Supreme Court decision, Parliament has the means to draw a clear line that upholds the sanctity of human life. Doing so will require courage - so we are asking our readers to help.
Attached to this article you will find an e-version of our policy report. This report is being printed and sent to all MPs and Senators. Our request to you is to ensure that this gets read by our leaders:
- Please read this report yourself - you should find it well worth your time.
- Share the report with others, through Facebook, Twitter, email, or word of mouth.
- Send an EasyMail letter to your MP, asking them to read it and respond to what we are advocating.
- Based on how your MP responds (or if they don't respond), give them a phone call to discuss the matter. You should find plenty of help in the actual policy report.
If you are looking for more information on this matter, click here to find videos, our legal arguments to the Supreme Court, and articles that ARPA has written for the mainstream media.
- Created on Tuesday, 14 April 2015 07:17
The following op-ed by Legal Counsel, André Schutten, was published in the Ottawa Citizen on April 13, 2015:
There’s a fundamental misunderstanding, or perhaps, a deliberate mischaracterization, of what constitutes religious freedom in a pluralistic society. So began an op-ed published in this paper last week. As a religion freedom lawyer I thought, “Finally! Someone writing to set the record straight on freedom of religion.” Unfortunately, writer Alheli Picazo simply perpetuated what I see as myths and mischaracterizations about religious freedom in Canada.
As one of the three white Christians Picazo calls out in her oped (easy targets, these days), I feel compelled to respond.
Noticeably absent from her list of Christians who spoke about the erosion of religious freedom last month is an articulate young woman, Lia Milousis, and an Egyptian born Arab, Majed El Shafie, a convert from Islam to Christianity who was imprisoned and tortured for his faith. Both expressed alarm at Canada’s current trend toward intolerance of the Christian faith.
Picazo avoids meaningful mention of Canadian realities, opting instead to refer to the controversy in Indiana over a religious freedom law alleged to grant “license to discriminate.” The Indiana amendment was intended to bring Indiana’s law into line with some 30 other States and the current Ontario human rights law. While no one in Ontario (or Indiana) may refuse to serve patrons simply because they dislike or disagree with them, they may refuse to participate in activity (expressive, religious, or otherwise) that violates their conscience.
- Created on Monday, 13 April 2015 07:11
A long-time Conservative Member of Parliament walked out of his Party just before Easter, and the central reason for his departure had to do with freedom of religion. Dr. James Lunney, the MP for Nanaimo/Alberni on Vancouver Island, said he wanted to be free to express his opinions on issues coming before Parliament from an expressly Christian perspective, and that he didn’t want to put the Prime Minister or other members of his caucus in the awkward position where they would be called upon to defend his views.
On the program this week, an exclusive interview with Dr. Lunney, where he weighs in on the challenges facing Christian Parliamentarians, as well as providing his take on Prime Minister Stephen Harper, and the state of religious freedom in Canada today.
We also look at a new resource for ARPA chapters to help stimulate discussion about end-of-life and palliative care, and we talk to two new staff members who’ve recently been brought into the organization.
- Created on Thursday, 02 April 2015 14:05
Update (April 7, 2015): The PCE has issued another paper on the issue of GSAs in Alberta. This paper questions the quantity, quality, and nature of research currently being used to support the effective imposition, through legislation, of Gay-Straight Alliances on all of Alberta’s schools. You can read this paper here.
Albertan parents, and all freedom-loving citizens of the province, must speak up about Bill 10. ARPA Canada is here to help you do that. We have produced a number of helpful resources so that all citizens can speak clearly about the issue.
To read the actual text of Bill 10, you can find a copy of the legislation as tabled and amended before Christmas here, and see the even more problematic amendments introduced and passed on March 10 here.
First, we direct you to a resource from Parents for Choice in Education. This document is a lengthy critique of Bill 10 from a non-Christian perspective. It is a helpful resource.
Second, we share with you an op-ed written by our lawyer on the political philosophy undergirding the Bill - what's shocking is that Bill 10 is so Statist, and yet even the more Libertarian Wildrose voted for it. Make sure your Conservative or Wildrose MLA knows what you think of their political principles.
Third, we share a uniquely Christian critique of Bill 10. This longer document is a clarion call to Christians to stand up and speak out.
Fourth, we share a legal analysis of Bill 10 in light of the recent win for religious freedom in education at the Supreme Court of Canada in the Loyola case.
And finally, we remind you that we have three different EasyMail letters you can use to email your MLA to voice your concerns. Please do not simply send one and leave it. Ensure you get a response. Ensure your MLA knows this issue is a voting issue for you. Ask your MLA what they will do for you and your children and your community.
And, as always, we encourage you to continue to pray with us for freedom and liberty to raise our children in the fear of the Name of our Creator. May He mercifully preserve freedom in this country.
- Created on Monday, 16 March 2015 08:24
The Ontario College of Physicians and Surgeons’ recent decision on doctor’s "conscience rights" will be subject to a Court review. The Christian Medical and Dental Society of Canada has announced a legal appeal of the new policy. On the feature interview this week, we speak to the Executive Director of the Society about the appeal.
Also on the program, the Trinity Western case is going back to court in Nova Scotia. The Province’s Barrister’s Society has announced an appeal of a ruling granting graduates of the proposed TWU Law School the right to practice in Nova Scotia. We speak to the Barry Bussey, the VP of Legal Affairs for the Canadian Council of Christian Charities about the appeal. Mr. Bussey has written a blog post about this, which we reference in the program. You can find it here.
ARPA took part in a Press Conference in Ottawa last week, talking about the erosion of religious freedom in Canada. On the program, we speak with André Schutten about what’s behind that erosion.
And we take a look back at the success of the movie "The DropBox", and a look ahead to what’s next for that project.
- Created on Wednesday, 25 March 2015 06:56
This morning (March 25, 2015), ARPA Canada's legal counsel was part of a joint press conference inside the Centre Block of Parliament Hill, calling attention to infringements of religious freedom in Canada. Participants include One Free World International founder Majed El Shafie; Charles McVety, Institute for Canadian Values; André Schutten, legal counsel with the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada; Bill Prankard, President of Bill Prankard Evangelistic Association; and Lia Milousis, MY Canada Association.
To see a press release for this event, click here.
To see a copy of André Schutten's remarks, on behalf of ARPA Canada, click here.
For an interview with MP Mark Warawa following the press conference, click here.
For a statement by MP Mark Warawa in the House of Commons, click here.
- Created on Monday, 16 March 2015 08:24
The Supreme Court of Canada has finally issued its ruling in the Loyola Case and it’s a qualified victory for the Christian School movement in Canada. On the feature interview this week, ARPA lawyer André Schutten explains the subtle distinctions in the ruling; part of it was unanimous, and part of it was a “split vote” which left some ambiguity.
Also an important court ruling in the U.S. last week on freedom of religion, this one granting a religious-based exemption from “Obama-Care”, the new national health care program there.
And a situation in Windsor, Ontario, is leading to renewed calls to revive Bill C-484; legislation that would have amended the Criminal Code when it comes to murders involving pregnant women. The story references several Facebook pages (here and here), and a major petition drive that’s been launched at change.org.
- Created on Monday, 31 March 2014 10:35
The National March for Life will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, May 14, 2015. ARPA Canada and Jubilee Canadian Reformed Church will once again host a Reformed Prayer Service prior to the march. We look forward to a time of prayer and worship together and a message from Rev. Holtvluwer. Following the service there will be bagged lunches for all those who pre-register and the march begins with presentations at Parliament Hill at 12:00 pm.
Details about the Reformed Prayer Service:
Where: First Baptist Church (140 Laurier Avenue West, Ottawa)
When: 11:00 am
Lunch is available for all those who pre-register. You may fill out the form below, or contact Niki at niki@ARPAcanada.ca
- Created on Thursday, 19 March 2015 11:43
After 12 months of deliberation, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision this morning in Loyola High School v. Quebec (Attorney General), upholding religious freedom first for the Loyola Jesuit school but also more broadly for all who seek to apply their faith to the education of their children. This is a case that every independent Christian school across the country has been watching closely.
At stake in this case was the religious freedom of parents and institutions to educate children according to a worldview that might be different than that of the State education bureaucracy. Thankfully, the Court was unanimous in finding that religious communities can teach their own faith to their children from their own perspective.
As you may remember, ARPA Canada led a coalition of 313 independent Christian schools and 11 post-secondary institutions to intervene in the case. The coalition was called the Association of Christian Educators and Schools (ACES) and we argued that confessional schools must be accommodated as an alternative to State-run schools.
André Schutten, Legal Counsel for ARPA Canada, was in the counsel lock-down this morning and had opportunity to review the decision before it was made public. He noted the following in a press release to the media: “Our hope was that the Supreme Court would affirm hundreds of years of legal precedent that parents are the first decision-makers for their children, and that religious freedom includes the right to train children within a particular worldview. This morning, the Supreme Court has delivered.” He also said, “With this decision, the Court stood up for liberty and for parental rights. While the Court could have been stronger in some places, this is still a welcome decision.”
In light of this case, ARPA Canada will be encouraging our elected leaders in Ontario, Manitoba and Alberta to rethink their one-size-fits-all approach to religion, ethics and secularism. Over the past two years, these provinces have imposed a particular religious – that is, secular – worldview on all schools through Bill 13 (Ontario, 2013), Bill 18 (Manitoba, 2014) and Bill 10 (Alberta, 2015), while ignoring or suppressing the freedom of religious institutions and families.
Parents ought to have the first and final say on the religious and moral instruction of their children. While the State may assist parents in educating children, they may not override parental decisions relating to ethical and religious instruction. There has been a trend towards Statism in education in Canada. This decision gives hope to parents in stopping that slide.
- Created on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 10:51
Update April 13, 2015: Read "Tunnel vision at the College of Physicians" in the National Post here.
Last summer, the College of Physicians and Surgeons Ontario (CPSO) asked for public consultation for changing their policy on "balancing" the conscience rights of doctors with the rights of patients to receive whatever treatment they wanted from whatever doctor they approached.
At stake is whether doctors have the right to refuse treatment if they have conscientious objections to the treatment. If a doctor felt a particular treatment or prescription was unwise, immoral, medically unnecessary or otherwise harmful, can he refuse to provide or refer for 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 simply 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.
- Created on Monday, 16 March 2015 08:24
In a remarkable about-face, Alberta Premier Jim Prentice and Education Minister Gordon Dirks pushed through passage of the controversial Bill 10 at the Alberta Legislature last week. The Bill, which generated considerable opposition when it was first introduced late last year, mandates the creation of so-called “GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance) Clubs” in all schools in the Province; (both public and private), if even one students asks for such a club to be set up. Because of the initial controversy, the Premier withdrew the Bill just before Christmas, but then re-introduced it on the first full day of the spring sitting of the Legislature. It passed all three readings in a single day.
On the feature interview this week, we speak with Donna Trimble from Parents for Choice in Education about how the decision was made, and what the implications are for parental rights in Alberta.
Last Friday, the Supreme Court signaled that it’s about to rule on a watershed case involving parental choice in education; a decision is due to be released this coming Thursday in the Loyola case, in which a Catholic High School in Quebec has asked to opt out of teaching the Quebec government's "Ethics and Religious Culture" program; or at least to adapt the basics of that curriculum so that it can be taught from a historic Catholic perspective. ARPA was one of the interveners in the case; you can refresh your memory on the basics of it by clicking here.
Also on the program this week, reaction to a student blockade of a pro-life demonstration at the University of Alberta. Lawyer John Carpay with the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms is threatening legal action against the University if the students who organized the blockade aren’t disciplined.
And in Ontario, the Christian Medical and Dental Society is putting together a legal challenge of the new “conscience rights” policy unveiled earlier this month by that Province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons.
Also this week, an update on the “Move my Money” campaign. You’ll have to listen to the program, but there’s evidence that the initiative now has the attention of the people at the corporate offices of the Bank of Montreal.
- Created on Thursday, 12 March 2015 07:39
Take Action! Three EasyMail letters are below. They will be CC'd to the Premier and Education Minister
As you have likely heard, on Tuesday Education Minister Gordon Dirks tabled amendments to Bill 10 and within hours the legislation passed a final vote in the Alberta Legislature. Only two MLAs (Ian Donovan and Bruce Rowe) voted against it.
Bill 10 is horrible law (find a copy of the legislation as tabled and amended before Christmas here, and see the even more contentious amendments introduced and passed on March 10 here). Among other things, it requires all Alberta schools to approve GSA clubs. It also adds the terms “sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, and gender expression” to the Alberta Bill of Rights. As ARPA explained at length in the past, if law and public policy are based on subjective notions, such as how someone identifies at any particular moment, then law loses meaning altogether. Perhaps most troubling, the bill also removes the requirement for parents to be informed when their children are being taught about sexual orientation. The Alberta government has cowardly pushed this through, even after many of you explained just how problematic the legislation is.
This legislation is an affront to the authority that God has given parents as the primary educators of their children. For a Biblical defence of that statement, see God's directions to Abraham in Gen. 18, God's instructions to the people of Israel to teach their children his commands in Deut. 6, the generational instruction outlined in Psalm 78, or scan through the book of Proverbs, filled with instructions on how to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Prov. 22), including as it relates to sexuality, and it's pretty clear.
- Created on Monday, 09 March 2015 10:41
More than 80 percent of men in North America are known to view online pornography at least once a month. The situation is particularly serious among young people, who are the most Internet-savvy. On the feature interview this week, Jonathon VanMaren on a new initiative called “Strength to Fight”, a campaign that includes tools to help fight porn addiction.
On the news portion of the program, the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario is out with its final decision on the so-called “conscience rights” issue for doctors, and the news is not good for Christians who practice medicine in that province. We also look at ARPA’s presence at the annual Manning Networking Conference in Ottawa, some more analysis of the Carter case and Ontario’s new sex-ed curriculum, and an update on the so-called “bathroom bill” – Ottawa’s attempt to end discrimination against trans-gendered people. (It now appears the Bill will die on the order paper before this fall’s election.)
- Created on Monday, 02 March 2015 08:02
The Bank of Montreal and at least 70 other corporations are being publicly challenged over their opposition to a proposed Christian law school. This is coming to a head on Wednesday, when people are being encouraged to move their money from BMO as a wake-up call to the bank (though action against all 72 corporations is welcomed and encouraged). According to the Institute for Canadian Values, BMO is one of the most aggressive - even screening all of the law firms they contract with for adequate “diversity” statistics among their employees. You can read ARPA’s take on the issue here. Now, the Institute for Canadian Values is urging people who disagree with the Bank’s position to “move their money”, and to do so this Wednesday, March 4th. On the feature portion of the program today, we look at the issue, and hear from some of the people involved, including three MPs who made speeches in the House of Commons challenging these corporations.
On the news portion, the Province of Ontario came out with its new Health and Physical Education curriculum last week. The package includes everything from nutrition to physical fitness and mental health, but most of the attention is going to the new sex education component of the new curriculum. We have reaction this week from Gwen Landoldt at Real Women of Canada, and we talk to the principal of one of the largest Christian Schools in the Niagara region about how the curriculum will impact his school. (You might be surprised at the answer.)
And, a look ahead to a national political tour that starts later this month; essentially a precursor to this fall’s federal election. Campaign Life Coalition and the Canadian Centre for BioEthical Reform are launching a campaign called “No2Trudeau”. We talk about the politics, and the reasons for what appears to be a fairly partisan campaign
- The Carter Decision – Where to From Here?
- Sex-ed curriculum: practical and easy ways to speak up for parental rights
- New action item and resource on euthanasia
- Local chapter inspires other groups
- UPDATED: BMO & 72 Corporations Launch Assault on Religious Freedom
- ARPA Canada is hiring - West Coast Assistant
- ARPA Canada is hiring - Policy Analyst
- Lighthouse News - The Carter Decision
- Some initial reflections on the Supreme Court of Canada euthanasia decision
- Euthanasia Supreme Court Decision: A sacred line has been crossed
- Respectfully Submitted: Pornography
- Praise God! We won! Judge rules in favour of TWU
- Making the Case: Prostitution
- ARPA’s Plans for 2015 - Lighthouse News
- Speak up on behalf of Christian doctors
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