- 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, 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 corporation 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.
- Created on Wednesday, 29 April 2015 08:34
The following article was written by Colin Postma in his position as board chair for the Hamilton Area ARPA Chapter.
The woods are lovely, dark, and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
- Robert Frost
Advocates of euthanasia spread the message that death is a tool of convenience for the living to take control of their own lives, and snatch it out of the hands of fate. They paint a picture that the fearful and dark woods of death are indeed wild, but that in contrast to the harsh realities of our cold world, beautiful and restful sleep can be found in its dark embrace.
However death should not be the solution to our problems but rather standing fast on the value of human Life! Using death as a tool only undermines human rights, it does not further them. But there is an alternative. A better alternative. An ethical alternative.
Palliative Care is the specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses. It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain, physical stress, and mental stress of a serious illness—whatever the diagnosis. The goal of such therapy is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family. Modern healthcare aims primarily to resolve the patient’s physical health problems, and not to deal with the mental, spiritual, and emotional problems that are all associated with serious illness. Palliative care fills that gap.
At an event held in Hamilton, Ontario on March 27th, Helen ‘t Hart, a palliative care nurse, Dr. Andre Moolman, a physician specializing in palliative care, and Rick Ludwig, a funeral director each spoke about their experiences providing specialized medical and end-of-life care for people with serious illnesses. They addressed challenging questions such as: How should we look after those approaching the end of their life on earth? A majority of Canadians today want to choose death on their own terms, how should we respond? Do we keep our loved ones alive as long as possible? What do we need to do to prevent doctors taking steps we do not want with our end-of-life care? In answering these questions, the speakers pointed out first and foremost that God is sovereign over life and death. He who gives life has the authority to take it away. They concluded that we do have the ability to ease suffering, and that is what we are called to do, as followers of Christ’s example. By means of a case study they portrayed how a real life situation could develop - how a person deals with it, and how they relate their concerns to others. They also pointed out the importance of end-of-life planning for everyone, to ensure your wishes are met and that you are not subjected to something you do not agree with.
- Created on Monday, 13 April 2015 07:11
Amid the ongoing discussion over euthanasia, doctor-assisted suicide, and the Supreme Court’s “Carter Decision”, the Cardus Foundation has released a new policy report on end-of-life care. Entitled “Death is Natural: Reframing the End-of-Life Conversation in Canada”, the report calls for a more holistic approach to palliative care. (You can download the full report here.)
On the feature interview this week, Al speaks with Cardus Executive VP Ray Pennings about the substance of the report.
On the news, Ontario’s new sex-education curriculum continues to generate strong parental opposition. A coalition of parent groups met with Premier Kathleen Wynne last week, but the meeting didn’t result in any fundamental progress toward have that curriculum withdrawn or modified. We talk to one of the participants in that meeting.
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in Calgary is out with a new analysis of the Supreme Court’s Loyola decision, an analysis which says that Bill 10 – the Alberta law mandating the establishment of so-called “Gay-Straight Alliances” in all schools in that province – is probably unconstitutional. On the program this week, the Centre’s John Carpay, on the reasoning behind that analysis.
And ARPA got some support last week from what might be considered an unlikely source – the Ontario Civil Liberties Association – in its pending court challenge of the section of Ontario’s FIPPA law which excludes any statistics on abortion from Freedom of Information requests. The Association released a position paper on the issue last week; we link to it here.
- Created on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:38
The Justice Centre of Constitutional Freedoms issued a press release today (April 28, 2015) with the heading "Alberta’s law mandating Gay-Straight Alliances violates Charter freedoms". You can view it online at their website.
The Centre also released a report today titled, "Mandatory Gay Straight Alliances versus Charter Freedoms". We encourage you to take a read and if you're in Alberta, send your MLA an EasyMail letter on the subject - there are 3 to choose from.
- Created on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 07:57
This is the transcript of a speech given at a leadership seminar organized by the National Prayer Breakfast following their main event, the 2015 National Prayer Breakfast. The leadership seminar included four guest speakers and a Q&A period.
The value of the Scriptural testimony engraved on Canada’s Peace Tower
By Tim Bloedow
I’m here today to speak to you for a few minutes in relation to the booklet gift you received at the breakfast this morning – The Biblical Legacy of Canada’s Parliament Buildings.
I don’t know if everybody here attended the breakfast and received a copy of the booklet. If you didn’t, perhaps you can talk to an organizer of the event or myself afterwards. I believe there are a few additional copies available.
ChristianGovernance, a worldview and apologetics organization I co-founded a few years ago, published it as we were grappling with the Christian context of the founding of Canada, and as we discovered Bible verses on the Parliament Buildings that nobody else had documented.
On that point, we have to acknowledge the help we received from modern technology in the discovery of at least two of the Scripture passages noted in the booklet. How many of you have visited the Memorial Chamber in the Peace Tower? You know, then, how steep the angle is as you look up to enjoy the beauty of the stained glass windows as they rise up above you. It’s difficult to see the details near the top of the window, and often due to cloudy skies or the sun shining through at particular angles, it can be even more difficult.
Well, as I recall, we had already prepared what we thought was the final draft of the booklet, when my wife started examining on her computer some pictures we had taken of the stained glass windows, zooming in to review the pictures from top to bottom. By doing this, she noticed some words that we hadn’t seen before.
- Created on Monday, 10 March 2014 18:46
ARPA is in the forefront of legal challenge, this one against a section of Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA). Section 5.7 of that Act expressly says that abortion statistics are not subject to Freedom of Information requests. Pro-life blogger Patricia Maloney is re-starting a court challenge of that Section, and this time, ARPA will be leading the legal team on this. On the feature interview this week, Al Siebring talks with both Patricia Maloney and ARPA lawyer André Schutten.
The constitutional challenge was announced at Queen’s Park – the Ontario Legislature – last week, and also featured another pro-life flag display on the Legislature Grounds, organized by Mike Schouten and Niki Pennings from We Need a Law (with a lot of help from ARPA volunteers from across Southern Ontario.)
In other news this week, ARPA is out with a new policy paper on euthanasia and assisted suicide. The document has been sent to every MP, and now ARPA supporters are being asked to remind their Member(s) of Parliament to actually read the document. There are three different easy-mail letters on the website (here, here, and here) that you can customize and send.
Finance Minister Joe Oliver presented a new budget last week. On this edition of Lighthouse News, Ray Pennings from the Cardus Foundation weighs in on one budget item that you’ve probably never heard of – and it’s good news!
- Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 14:14
Update: Check out pictures of the 150+ volunteers and 100,000 pink and blue flags at Queens Park here.
Today a press conference was held at Queen's Park, Toronto, where ARPA Canada announced that it is proceeding with legal action against the Ontario government, declaring that section 65(5.7) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) violates section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
More Information: You can read the remarks of the three participants of the press conference, Niki Pennings, spokesperson for WeNeedaLaw.ca, Patricia Maloney, blogger at Run With Life and André Schutten, legal counsel for ARPA Canada by clicking here. The notice of application to the Superior Court of Justice is available here.
Oped: New article from ARPA's legal counsel and WeNeedaLAW's director here.
Interview Requests: For further comment or interviews with either Mike Schouten or André Schutten please contact Niki Pennings at 519-709-4478 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Created on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 10:20
In January, 2012, the Ontario government quietly slipped in an amendment to the provincial Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FIPPA) whereby all information related to abortion is no longer accessible via an Access To Information and Privacy (ATIP) request. Section 65(5.7) reads: “This Act does not apply to records relating to the provision of abortion services.” Note that one of the FIPPA’s purposes is to guarantee access to government information to maintain transparency and accountability. Yet this addition undermines this purpose and was never debated in the Legislature.
Patricia Maloney, a pro-life blogger who we have regular contact with and who has done excellent work using ATIPs, ran up against this roadblock in January 2014. When her request for statistical information was denied (under the new provision) she appealed the decision on her own, but lost. She then retained a lawyer on a pro bono basis and appealed again. After a third appeal, she finally received the information late last year. The government released this information to her “outside of the FIPPA process” mere days before her hearing in court. But the bad law remains on the books.
ARPA Canada and Patricia Maloney are now challenging the law itself as unconstitutional. We have filed a notice of application asking the Ontario Superior Court to strike down section 65(5.7) of Ontario’s FIPPA. Freedom of Information is guaranteed under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, falling under the freedom of expression protection. A successful Charter challenge would produce the information we are looking for, would require the Ontario legislature to amend the legislation, and would expose the extremism of the Ontario government in banning all information, including basic statistical information, from the citizens of Ontario in order to hide the injustice of abortion.
On the April 27th edition of Lighthouse News, we featured an interview with Patricia Maloney and André Schutten about the history of this file, and some of the particulars of the case. You can hear that interview here.
See the pdf and links below for more details
- 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.
- 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
- March for Life 2015
- Loyola Supreme Court Decision: Parental rights and religious freedom upheld
- Conscience rights of Ontario doctors under attack
- Bill 10 in Alberta
- Speak Up! Alberta Forces Schools to Approve GSA's
- Strength to Fight
- Move Your Money
- 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
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