Local ARPA groups:join us in Ottawa on May 6 and 7 for meetings with MPs, a presentation to MPs and Senators about Restorative Justice, and a conference. The March for Life is the next day (May 8).
ARPA's Executive Director sat down with John Carpay, president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, after a presentation he made for Alberta ARPA chapters in Edmonton this spring. In this video Mr. Carpay explains the work he does and the opportunity for Western Canadians to stand up for freedom by reforming their human rights codes. Watch and share!
Note: find a list of lesson plans for high school students and home school families here.
Ayman Nabil Labib was a seventeen-year-old high school student in the Upper Egyptian town of Mallawi. Ayman was a Coptic Christian. On October 16, 2011, his Arabic-Language teacher began insulting and harassing the teenager during class. He told Ayman to wipe off the Coptic cross from his wrist. He told his teacher that it was a tattoo, and added that he was also wearing a necklace with a cross. When the teacher heard this, he became very angry and asked the rest of the class, "What are we going to do with him?" Seventeen of his fellow classmates chased Ayman as he struggled to escape. Ayman was forced into a teacher's room where the group beat him to death.
There are countless stories like Ayman's. Religious persecution happens every day in our world, but these stories rarely make it into the daily news. Although we all know that persecution happens, many of us don't know very much about it. Christians are the most persecuted group of believers in the world. Click on the attachment to keep reading.
On June 8, 2013 ARPA Niagara hosted a dinner with three speeches focusing on the issue of education in Ontario. Mr. Ted Postma, a member of the Grace Free Reformed Church, is the principal of Calvin Christian School in Hamilton and is also a school quality evaluator for the Ontario Alliance of Christian Schools. He spoke about the development of independent religious schools in Ontario, how the Ontario Education Act defines schools and the political/legal benefits and challenges posed on independent schools. We are very thankful that Ted has given us permission to publish his remarks. Attached is an edited transcript of his speech titled, "The Independent School Journey in Ontario: Headwinds and Tailwinds". We encourage you to share it with your teachers and school boards.
ARPA thanks Lennart deVisser for giving seven weeks to research, write, interview, meet with MPs, and go on the road with us. If you are interested in interning with ARPA or WeNeedaLAW.ca, send your resume and cover letter to us (info@arpacanada), explaining who you are and what you would hope to accomplish in your internship.
The Quebec provincial government has introduced legislation (Bill 52) that would legalize euthanasia in the province, even though the Criminal Code prohibits euthanasia and assisted suicide. ARPA Canada, and dozens of other organizations, made submissions to the Quebec committee that was tasked with studying the issue (find ours here). Sadly, it is clear that the committee had made up its mind even before it started its consultations.
The Euthanasia Prevention Coalition has an excellent response to Bill 52 that destroys the rhetoric and exposes the bill for what it is - "full of false claims, euphemisms and ambiguous language. It is a very dangerous bill." Find their analysis here. Also, LifeCanada is organizing a nation-wide response - learn more here.
Canada's Justice Minister has indicated that the government will look at Quebec's bill in light of our Criminal Code and a 2010 vote in Parliament against euthanasia. Please encourage the Justice Minister to do all he can to ensure that Quebec upholds the Criminal Code and protects some of our most vulnerable citizens. An EasyMail letter urging the Justice Minister, Prime Minister, and your MP to do just that is available here.
On June 4th, ARPA Canada was present at the National Prayer Breakfast, an annual event in Ottawa, and quite possibly the biggest Christian political event of the year. The keynote speaker was Eric Metaxas, and his speech is now available online here. We'd encourage you to be encouraged by it. Mr. Metaxas truly spoke truth to power!
Although we would love to see our leaders stand up for what is right, sometimes we have to rely on other means to promote good law in Canada. When it comes to Bill C-279, which would add extra protections in law for transgendered Canadians, a majority of both the House of Commons and Senate support this dangerous legislation (learn more about it here). But that does not mean it will pass. If it can be stalled long enough and doesn't make it through all the required steps, it will not pass.
Thankfully, C-279 did not pass before the summer break. And the possibility of Parliament being prorogued this fall means that the legislation would have to start over again at first reading in the Senate. The further possibility of a successful amendment to the legislation would require it to go back to the House of Commons.
All that to say, we must not give up! We can make use of the opportunity by continuing to respectfully show our leaders why their good intentions are not grounded in reality. This legislation will cause much harm, also to those struggling with their sexuality. Public policy cannot be built on the shifting sounds of how we feel about ourselves. It must be grounded on what is objective, measurable, and real. Bill C-279 can, and must, be stopped. Please take the time to write the Senators using our sample letter. A list of their email addresses is here. Of course, phone calls and meeting would be even better!
Pastor Joel Overduin, from Vineland Free Reformed Church, delivered an excellent sermon on the Canada Day weekend that is well worth listening to online. The Scripture reading was from Psalm 72 and the text was Proverbs 14:34. The theme was Christian Canadians: 1. What we should care about! 2. What we will cry over! 3. What we must concentrate on! Listen online hear.
ARPA Canada is thrilled to finally see Bill C-304 pass through the Senate this week, removing the infamous Section 13 from the Canadian Human Rights Code. This Section has chilled free speech in Canada and been used to classify the truth as hate speech. We tip our hats to MP Brian Storseth, who had the courage to introduce this legislation and defend it all the way through Parliament over the past couple years. The fact that it is a private member's bill and still passed is a huge testament to just how much these reforms are needed. Press on! We need to make changes in the provinces as well.
Calgary Sun - June 26 2013: OTTAWA - An Alberta MP has succeeded in his bid to repeal a section of the Canadian Human Rights Act long seen by
free-speech advocates as a tool to squelch dissenting opinions. Conservative MP Brian Storseth saw the Senate give third and final reading late Wednesday to his Bill C-304 which repeals Section 13 of the Human Rights Act, an act that had been used to, among other things, attack the writings of Sun News Network's Ezra Levant and Maclean's columnist Mark Steyn. Section 13 ostensibly banned hate speech on the Internet and left it up to the quasi-judicial human rights commission to determine what qualified as "hate speech." But, unlike a court, there was no presumption of innocence of those accused of hate speech by the commission. Instead, those accused had to prove their innocence.
With elimination of Section 13, producing and disseminating hate speech continues to be a Criminal Code violation but police and the courts will adjudicate rather than human rights tribunals. Read more
Summer provides some excellent opportunities for us to witness to our Canadian neighbours about important issues that our nation is wrestling with. But this doesn't just happen by itself. It takes some planning. The time, energy, and money that we invest in this can reap a bountiful harvest, even if much of the impact may not be measurable or visible to us. At the very least, taking on one of these projects can serve as excellent teaching tools for our children and friends.
1) Have your family save up for a bus bench ad in your city: For as little as $75 a month you can make a visible statement about Canada's lack of abortion laws. This is a relatively easy endeavour. Contact WeNeedaLAW.ca for the graphic, send it to the company that looks after bus benches (or bus shelters) in your city, and then have your family raise funds to pay for this. Some ideas include a garage sale, collecting bottles, or a lemonade stand. Make a money jar just for this. Your children will be able to see where the money goes - literally. Take a picture of them by the bus bench. Our children won't forget the experience - especially if we build on it through letters to the editor, regular prayer, and contact with our government officials.
2) Have your MP, MPP, or MLA over for dessert: Get a few families together who can commit to coming to your family for dessert one evening and then invite your public office holder to join you. Explain to him or her that it is an informal meeting with a few local families who want to ask questions about their work and some current issues. Summer is the time of year when these officials love to connect with their communities. Then, before the desser social, use the opportunity to brainstorm with your family some questions and issues that you can raise (the ARPA site has many examples - from corporal punishment, to parent's role in education, to fiscal management). Make the actual evening as relaxing as possible for everyone involved. You and your children will see that these leaders are just ordinary people who have a very tough job. If possible, stay in touch after the evening via a thank you note, Christma card, etc.
4) Design a billboard: Our billboard design contest goes to the end of August. The great thing about this contest is that the finalists can be used by ARPA groups (and others) to make a visible statement across Canada on huge billboards. And the incentive of a tablet computer is not bad either! Young and old alike are encouraged to enter.
5) Print and hand out infographics (thought-provoking tracts) at a community fair or celebration: WeNeedaLAW.ca has produced some very popular infographics. You can check them out here. They also have made the print-ready files available. You can take these to a local printer and get hundreds printed. The more you can do, the cheaper they are (maybe print thousands and get others to distribute them too). Then give a stack to each child and have your children hand them out at a community fair, Canada Day celebration, or any where else the public gathers. Once again, this provides great teaching moments about the issue (so that we can answer questions that arise) and makes our families much more comfortable standing up for the truth in the public square.
Opinion by André Schutten - as published on the Cardus Blog - Yesterday, Peter Stockland penned another exceptional blog in which he accurately describes Québec's religion problems as symptoms of a bigger issue. By emptying meaning from religion, Québec secularists are dividing themselves from those Québeckers who find true meaning in their religious lives.
Québec's insistence on creating exceptions for Christian symbols is especially unnerving. Stockland says, "It's the reduction of a belief that once moved the world to a collection of tchotchkes. It is faith as furniture." While some might see the exceptions for Christian symbols as privileging the Christian faith, the Christians in Québec should be most afraid: if the Loyola School case is any indication, Québec will only make room for Christian symbols and little else.
A Supreme Court of Canada Commentary by ARPA's Legal Counsel, André Schutten – (13 June 2013) - As we predicted in our 2011 fall tour, the Bedford prostitution case did go to the Supreme Court of Canada. Today, the Court conducted a lengthy hearing in this appeal. I had the privilege of watching the hearing which left me with a number of different thoughts. Note that Supreme Court hearings can be misleading - predictions on the outcome are difficult to make. The final decision won't be rendered for quite some time, but here follow some of my thoughts and impressions from the oral hearing:
Loyola Christian School is going to the Supreme Court of Canada! After a shocking decision from the Quebec Court of Appeal, Loyola applied to the Supreme Court for a hearing. The Court of Appeal had ruled in December 2012 that it is reasonable for a government to require a Christian school to set aside its Christian worldview for an hour a day in order to teach about other religions. This morning, the Supreme Court of Canada allowed Loyola's application for an appeal and so the process will begin to prepare for the appeal. ARPA Canada and the Reformed Christian community are very interested in the outcome of this case - Reformed denominations, as a rule, run their own independent schools and the Quebec Court of Appeal decision would pose an incredible infringment on how we "raise up our children in the way they should go." For some background on the case and what it means for Reformed Christians, click read more.
Parents have good reason to be concerned about how the education system is being used to undermine parental authority and promote the secular humanist (or hedonist!) worldview. We have four new EasyMail letters for concerned citizens in Ontario. Each of these letters goes to your MPP and is CC'd to the party leaders, the Premier, and the Education Minister.
ARPA Note: We have followed this bill extensively but encourage you to persist in opposing it. You can find a sample letter and contact information for all the Senators here. Find a video, action items, and more information here.
REAL WOMEN OF CANADA - June 4, 2013: The bill on the transgendered (Bill C-279) is now being reviewed by the Senate Committee on Human Rights. Supporters of this bill claim that it is merely a “simple” amendment to extend human rights protection to another category of deserving individuals.
Yet, when the bill was reviewed by the House of Commons Justice Committee in December, 2012, testimony was provided by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, and also the officials from the Department of Justice. They testified that there was no requirement to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code, since the transgendered were already protected under the category of “sex” in the Canadian Human Rights Act. They also referred to the existence of substantial case law to support this position.
Why, then, has this transgendered bill been placed before Parliament?
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