- Created on Monday, 17 February 2014 09:48
ARPA is very grateful for the positive reception we are getting from the mainstream media who are publishing our articles.
By Mark Penninga, Calgary Herald, February 14 2014: On the eve of Valentine's Day, Belgium lawmakers voted to remove any age restrictions on euthanasia, granting children the right to have someone end their life.
Canadians should be watching this closely as Quebec is just days away from passing its own euthanasia law, modelled in part after Belgium's.
The amendment to Belgium's euthanasia law still requires that children understand their choice to die and request it themselves. And it mandates that the child be terminally ill and near death, among other things.
But one has only to study Belgium's short 12-year record on euthanasia to discover the inadequacies of these "strict" safeguards.
- Created on Friday, 14 February 2014 07:13
Take Action Today: Use Easymail below to your MP (CC'd to Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper). It just takes a few minutes.
There is an apparent rift in Conservative ranks these days. According to this Financial Post article, Canada's finance minister Jim Flaherty sounds like he doesn't like the idea of income-splitting for families. He says, "It benefits some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts . . . not at all." Such a statement seems a little odd coming from a finance minister who has sprinkled all kinds of little tidbits that benefit "some parts of the Canadian population a lot and other parts... not at all" from sports program tax credits and public transportation tax credits, to volunteer firefighter tax credits and old age tax credits. But, more to the point, as our friend Andrea Mrozek over at the IMFC wrote here, income-splitting isn't about giving certain tax payers more money, but about treating families equally. "Families are doing their part where they pool income to make ends meet in the family budget. The government is failing to do their part, where they recognize this and tax you accordingly. Instead, they tax your family as individuals, as if you had nothing to do with the man or woman you sleep beside every night, and the children you get up to care for." Andrea concludes, "Families do not live, work or budget as individuals. Therefore, they should not pay taxes as individuals. It's truly as simple as that."
Indeed, it is that simple. And keeping a campaign promise made in 2011 and repeated every year since would be appropriate as well. Fairness and keeping promises. Pretty basic stuff.
- Created on Thursday, 13 February 2014 08:56
ARPA Note: This commetary was written by Tim Bloedow, of ChristianGovernance.com, under the title "Are you a biblical worldview faker?"
There is so much talk in our circles about "big picture" worldview thinking and reformation, but I have seen more and more need lately for very personal worldview thinking.
If we can't and won't apply God's law in our closest relationships, if we won't live out the Word of God in the daily mundane decisions of life, if we live as though there are any parts of our lives too unimportant to interest God, if we think we can honour Him in the "big" areas of our lives when we are living with broken relationships where we contributed to the harm, when we are seeing logs in the eyes of our husbands and wives, children and parents, siblings and co-workers, employers and business partners, and only the tiniest specs in our own eyes,
Then where do we get off thinking that we are ready to influence the world - or even our own nation, or our own province - for Christ.
If I'm not advancing the kingdom of God in the bedroom and bathroom of my home, I'm not ready to advance the kingdom of God in the boardrooms of the nation.
If you're not advancing the kingdom of God in the lunchroom of your workplace, you're not ready to advance the kingdom of God in the legislatures of the land.
- Created on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 15:39
In this age of public distrust towards our governing officials, MP John Williamson has introduced a private member's bill (C-518) which addresses political corruption directly. In a nutshell, it would ensure that a MP or Senator who has been convicted of a serious crime while serving in office would not be eligible to collect their Parliamentary pension. This would make any government official think a few times before using the system for personal advantage.
It is easy for the public and media to be cynical of our government leaders - blame is easy to dish out. Yet Romans 13 instructs us to have a very high view of these public office holders because "there is no authority except which God has established." The apostle Paul goes on to explain that these government officials are "God's servants for good" and therefore worthy of honour. The "rule of law," which holds that every person is equally under the law, is foundational to western democracies, including Canada. It is built on the premise that government officials are equally accountable to God, no less than anyone else.
The cynicism towards our governing officials comes in part because of stories of alleged and proven exploitation of these offices. Bill C-518 would serve to uphold the rule of law by deterring the exploitation of power that comes with public office. At the same time, it should improve the public perception of our government officials, which is long overdue.
Take Action: Use ARPA's EasyMail to send a letter to your MP
- Created on Wednesday, 05 February 2014 07:38
The following is a guest piece by Jeremy Vink.
What does 2013 mean for 2014?
Over the last year we have seen scandals in all levels of government: federally with the Senate scandal, provincially with the power plant scandal (in Ontario), and municipally or locally with items like London’s Mayor in court for fraud charges, Montreal’s Mayor arrested, and the recent issues with Toronto’s Mayor which fill headlines. With all of this it is not hard to be disappointed, disgruntled, and lose faith in our current governments.
A few things are important to remember. We are to remain strong in our faith and Christian approach. Just because we do not have “much faith” in government, we must remember they are still appointed and elected people. Politicians are to be treated with authority and respect while in office. Biblically we can learn from Christ and the prophets as to how they treated and spoke to leaders.
We must also remember that we are called and required to be like salt (Matthew 5:13), light (Matthew 5:14), and dew (Micah 5:7) in the world.
So can we do nothing in such circumstances?
Not all politicians are the same. Yet we must ensure that they are all held accountable. If we do not hold them accountable it gives them more power to do as they please, or it gives the impression that they can “get away with it”. That is the wrong kind of leadership to support.
2014 will give each of us time to react and be active locally. Why? Because 2014 is a municipal election year. In 2014, be active in voting for your local politicians. Learn about local government issues, budgets and needs. Challenge those running for office on their goals and directions. Push for good and meaningful government. Write letters to those in office (councillors and mayors), write letters to the editor, and engage the community and our politicians.
So as we take a look back at 2013 and look to 2014, set some goals to help make your community and government a stronger and better country. 2013 shows us that we could use more reformed political action in 2014.
Always remember to pray for your government leaders and those in authority!
- Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 09:29
The Ottawa Citizen recently reported that a group that advocates for sex workers in Ottawa complained that investigations into human trafficking are an invasion of privacy of sex workers (read the Ottawa Citizen article here). On January 22 and 23, twenty-six police service agencies across Canada interviewed more than 330 women in 30 communities to determine the presence of human trafficking and to ensure that those who were not there willingly had the freedom to get out of a dangerous situation. A group that advocates for some sex workers in the Ottawa area has indicated they are getting a legal opinion on the actions of the police officers.
Essentially, the group is saying that their individual right to sell their own body (remember: the Supreme Court of Canada struck down our prostitution laws on December 20, 2013 - although not legal yet) actually comes before the rights of victims of human trafficking. They argue that police services must work with sex trade workers, and yet their response to this collaborative effort shows that they themselves are unwilling to work with the police.
In Burlington, a 15 year old girl was rescued after it was discovered that she was being forced into the sex trade and was being exploited by a 22 year old woman. In Kitchener, police found an 18-year-old Toronto female who was allegedly forced to work as an escort in the area and two men (aged 24 and 25) were charged with human trafficking, among other charges. While officers from Peel Region indicated that many women were making their own choices, part or all of the proceeds were kept by their adult male controller or pimp.
Whether a woman chooses to prostitute herself or not is not the question at hand. What is concerning is that one person's right to sell her own body should come before the safety and protection of the most vulnerable in our society, those who are being exploited for financial gain of another. As noted in the Ottawa Citizen article, Helen Roos (of the Ottawa Coalition to End Human Trafficking) defended the actions of the police officers, stating "The police don’t care if it’s consensual; they’re interested in youth and those who want to get out. We’re particularly concerned about the exploitation aspect of this.” To learn more about this issue you can read our Respectfully Submitted article on Prostitution.
You may also be interested in reading Prostitution appeal heard at the Supreme Court (June 13, 2013) and Breaking News: Supreme Court declares prostitution laws unconstitutional (December 20, 2013).
- Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 09:31
Take Action: Send a email to your MP, Mr. Vellacott, and the Justice Minister in support of equal parenting using ARPA's EasyMail. Click here - it just takes 5-10 minutes.
Also, a petition in support of C-560 is attached. Please print it and collect at least 25 signatures and then bring it to your MP.
OTTAWA – MP Maurice Vellacott gave the following statement in the House of Commons on January 31st, announcing which initiative he was bringing forward for debate in Parliament this spring:
Mr. Speaker, I have had a difficult decision to make. I have 4 items on the Order Paper, and all of them are of great importance. One is a democratic reform initiative, and two are explicitly pro-life measures. One bill I have on the order paper is for the sake of the children. They all deserve to proceed in this place, but regrettably I can only choose one at this time.
I have selected Bill C-560 to move forward to 2nd reading debate in this Chamber. It is my bill to amend the Divorce Act to make equal shared parenting a rebuttable presumption in cases of marital breakup involving children.
Aside from proven abuse or neglect, over three quarters of Canadians want equal shared parenting to be the presumption in our courts when marriages unfortunately break down. Research clearly demonstrates that equal shared parenting is in the best interests of children.
- Created on Monday, 03 February 2014 07:33
ARPA Note: We are reposting this article because of its clear significance to our Canadian context. It should be a wake-up call to anyone who believes that we can change a society for good by leaving God's Word hidden in our homes.
By John Stonestreet, Breakpoint Commentaries: What's been perhaps the greatest force for democracy and freedom in the world? Read the surprising answer.
For the last several generations, missionaries have gotten a lot of bad press. They're called cultural imperialists or tools of colonial oppression, and in the pages of books such as "The Poisonwood Bible," or, for an earlier generation, James Michener's "Hawaii," they're presented as paternalistic, ignorant enemies of glorious indigenous cultures.
Even many supporters of so-called "native missionaries" in Asia, Africa, and Latin America suggest that Western missionaries should just "stay home" and "let the nationals do it." But a funny thing happened on the way to missionary irrelevance: Ground-breaking, peer-reviewed research reveals that the presence of Protestant missionaries is the greatest predictor of whether a nation develops into a stable representative democracy with robust levels of literacy, political freedom, and women's rights.
- Created on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 08:53
In 2012 and 2013, ARPA focussed a lot of attention on Bill 13 in Ontario and Bill 18 in Manitoba, both of which claimed to be about combatting bullying even though the legislation itself did not reflect this. Sadly, in spite of a overwhelming opposition from the public and our readers, these bills were pushed through. But the issue is far from over. Other provinces are looking at the same issue, and Ontario and Manitoba will now have to grapple with the top-down and heavy-handed reality of their new laws.
We tip our hats to the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada for providing this excellent video series on the issue, featuring expert Dr. Gordon Neufeld. Find the other videos here.
- Created on Monday, 27 January 2014 07:59
ARPA Note: One important line was left out of the published version which explained where the Court can find an objective foundation for human dignity - the Supremacy of God. We encourage our readers to write letters to the editor of the NP, explaining where dignity ultimately comes from.
By Mark Penninga, National Post, January 27 2014: The euthanasia debate will come to a climax in the coming year, as the Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear an appeal of the Carter case from the B.C. Court of Appeal.
It was a little over 20 years ago that the Supreme Court first visited this issue, with the case of Sue Rodriguez, who pleaded with Canadians and the Court for the right to a doctor-assisted death to end her suffering from Lou Gehrig’s Disease.
In the Rodriguez decision, just five of the nine justices upheld the Criminal Code sanction against assisted suicide. Twenty years later we have different judges, but the very same issue. Central to their decision will be how the justices define human dignity. The answers they provide to what makes human life valuable will impact far more than Canada’s laws on assisted suicide and euthanasia. It will go to the heart of how we, as a nation, understand and value human life and human rights.
- Created on Friday, 17 January 2014 09:20
Canada's Department of Finance is asking for your feedback on seven matters as it prepares another budget. This is a great opportunity to share your thoughts on what the government should be doing, or not be doing. As we have long argued, a budget is a moral document as it sets the direction for what a country values, believes is the role of government, and understands as its responsibilities.
Click here to complete the survey (7 questions, max 200 words per question).
- Created on Thursday, 16 January 2014 18:47
With thanksgiving to the Lord we are pleased to share the good news that the Supreme Court of Canada has granted the Association for Christian Educators and Schools (ACES), which ARPA is leading, intervenor status in the Loyola case.
As we explained in our fall tour, the Loyola case will have a greater impact on a parent's authority in raising their child in the fear of the Lord than any other case in recent history.
The ACES coaltion includes 313 confessional Christian schools, 11 post-secondary institutions, and ARPA Canada. By receiving intervenor status, we are able to provide written arguments to the Court, on behalf of Christian educators and schools. The Court has not yet decided about whether we can also make oral arguments.
What is this all about? The province of Quebec has ordered all schools and home schools to teach a class about ethics and religions. But not only is it telling schools what to teach. It's also telling them how to teach it. All schools, including Christian private institutions, have to set aside their worldview (if that were possible) and teach the course from a secular perspective. They aren't allowed to raise our Lord Jesus Christ above other religions and must encourage students to "create their own religion," among other things.
One school in Montreal called Loyola Christian School challenged this in court. They won at the first level but lost at the Quebec Court of Appeal. They have now appealed to the Supreme Court and thankfully the Supreme Court has agreed to hear the case.
At stake in this case is parental authority itself. Provincial governments are increasingly taking over the role of parents, requiring all students to be taught what it believes is true, and even removing the freedom of parents to take their children out from objectionable classes. For example, with the passing of Bill 18 in Manitoba, independent Christian schools in Manitoba must allow gay-straight alliances in the schools.
The court hearing is set for March 24 but our factum (written arguments) are due by March 10. Please pray for all those who are writing arguments for the Court, as well as for the hearts of our Supreme Court Justices.
- Created on Friday, 10 June 2011 08:40
By Mark Penninga (www.ARPACanada.ca): In June, 2011, I detailed 10 realistic goals which 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, how are we faring on these issues?
1) Give Aboriginals the responsibility and hope that belongs to all Canadians (details here): 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" . Read the text of the bill. And the government has also taken steps towards allowing private property ownership on reserves. As encouraging as this direction is, these are baby 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. Grade: B+
2) Reform the Canadian Human Rights Commission (details here): In light of all the opposition to problematic sections of the Canadian Human Rights Code, including from all sides of the political spectrum, 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 the CHRC. Grade: C
3) Appoint Supreme Court Judges who respect their role as being under the law (details here): Harper has appointed 6 Supreme Court justices already, fundamentally changing the make-up of the court. Although legal scholars note that these justices aren't known for being "judicial activists" their record suggests that neither are they friends of social conservatism. When the prostitution law was struck down in late 2013, 5 of the justices that made the decision were appointed by Stephen Harper. Grade: to de determined
4) Reduce spending, shrink government, and decrease our debt (details here): We are on track for having a "balanced budget" in 2015. Although that is to be commended, we are far from rolling back our enormous federal debt, now at $616 Billion (increasing by $2 Million every hour). To put that in context, one writer has noted that "Since first being elected in 2006, [Harper's] government has recorded only two annual surpluses, thanks to the previous Liberal government. If the deficit is finally eliminated in 2015-16, it will have taken eight years since the 2009-10 recession and resulted in an increase of $175 billion in federal government debt." As for taxes and the size of government, when compared to GDP, government revenue is declining, which is encouraging. But that does not mean that the size of government itself is being rolled back. Given that this is a majority government, one could have expected much more significant cuts to the size of the government (including programs like the CBC). Grade: C
5) Drop the “ism” from Environment(details here): This government is to be commended for standing out from the other mainstream parties in its hesitance to use "climate change" rhetoric which blames human activity as a primary cause of changing climates (since when do climates not change?). The government has also opposed carbon taxes and pulled back from the previous government's efforts to push "climate change" policy on the international community. But it has stopped short from openly challenging the deeply flawed science and economics that prevails on the issue in Canadian public policy. Grade: B
6) Come up with a good prostitution law (details here): The Conservatives failed to come up with a new law when it had the opportunity. As a result, the current law was struck down by the Supreme Court in December of 2013. Thankfully, the court gave Parliament one year to craft a new law. We will see whether Parliament follows through. We sent them a policy paper on the issue two years ago which includes solid reasons to follow the Swedish model. Grade: to be determined
7) Take an incremental approach to abortion laws (details here): In 2013, the Conservative government actively opposed M-408, which would have condemned sex-selective abortions. They did this in spite of overwhelming public opposition to gendercide. And in 2012, little support was given to Stephen Woodworth's M-312 which would have formed a committee to investigate issues pertaining to preborn life. Prime Minister Harper is convinced that this is an issue his government should not address, in spite of a 95+% vote of support for a gendercide policy at the party's 2013 convention and the abysmal reality that Canada is the only democracy in the world without abortion legislation. Thankfully, in spite of the government's strong pro-abortion stance, Canadian society is increasingly realizing that we need a law. It is quite realistic that we will begin to see laws introduced and passed in the next decade. Grade: F
8) Allow Income Splitting for tax purposes (details here): Apparently, it is likely that income splitting will be promised in the upcoming budget, to come into effect only after the budget is balanced. We will be watching whether this is promised and fulfilled. Of course, if spending was curbed sooner and more intesenley, we could have seen income splitting for a few years already. Grade: to be determined
9) Increase the fertility rate now to avoid a demographic winter soon (details here): The fertility rate decined once more, to 1.61. And the fenderal government has not been talking about it or taking measures to address it. Grade: F
10) Listen to European nations that are telling us that multiculturalism is a failure (details here): Previous Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney has introduced substantial changes to Canada's immigration policy, with success. As one writer noted in late 2012, Kenney "may not admit that he intends to abolish multiculturalism as an objective of immigration reform, but his immigration policies appear to be directed towards post-multiculturalism, a new order that avoids the excesses of multiculturalism without imposing the harsh policies of assimilation that are happening in Europe where he has been borrowing most of his ideas of reform." Grade: B
It is encouraging to see real progress on some of these important issues - something we should not necesarily expect to see in an increasingly secular democracy. Yet, in light of this government claiming to hold conservative values, and being made up of many Christians, a majority of seats should embolden it to accomplish far more than it has. This is especially true when it comes to educating the Canadian public and mainstream media about why these changes are needed.
But we can't stop at just grading our government. Canada is not a dictatorship - the citizens have many opportunities to shape public policy and public thinking. We have to look at ourselves - what have we done to address the issues noted above? Have we taken the time to build a personal relationship with our elected representatives, and then used that relationship to talk about matters like these? If not, what is stopping us? Let's give ourselves an honest grade, and then work to improve it.
- Created on Thursday, 09 January 2014 01:12
Update: The Supreme Court has now agreed to hear the Carter case, revisiting the euthanasia issue and making a final decision. Please pray!
By Mark Penninga (French version available below as an attachment). Although we originally published this article some years ago, the issue is more alive in 2014 than ever before. Quebec is pushing to allow euthanasia regardless of the Criminal Code. And an appeal of the law against euthanasia is likely going to be made to the Supreme Court of Canada.
Words can pack a punch. As such, they can be used for both noble and crafty purposes. Advertisers, political spin-doctors, and even Supreme Court judges know this well and take full advantage of the power of words. One example is the concept of dignity. Because dignity seems to be such a favourable word it is being used, and exploited, for purposes as far ranging as Hillary Duff’s latest pop album to the push for legalized abortion in third world countries. But the movement that has most exploited the concept of dignity is the political effort to legalize euthanasia and physician assisted suicide. The term “death with dignity” is being used by right-to-die advocacy groups because they know that associating dignity with euthanasia will soften the public perception of what they are really demanding– state condoned death.
- Created on Friday, 20 December 2013 08:02
The Supreme Court of Canada has just declared that the prostitution laws in Canada are unconstitutional. A saving grace in the ruling however is that they have suspended their declaration of invalidity by one year, meaning that the current law remains valid until December of next year, giving our federal government time to rewrite the law. ARPA's legal counsel was able to comment on the decision with CTV news this morning. Check out this link to watch the 6 minute interview (video appears on the right side of the page).
This story is actually good news, but only if we take action! The current law does have deficiencies, but the federnal government now has opportunity to implement a new law. ARPA has advocated for a new law for two years now, one based on the Nordic or Swedish law. For our short policy report on this issue, click here. Please contact your MP today to encourage them to action and to implement our recommendations as soon as possible! To send an EasyMail to your MP, click here. For our reflections on the hearing at the Supreme Court in June, click here. More to come.
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