ARPA HAS EXPANDED
With thankfulness to the Lord, we welcome Colin Postma as ARPA’s new policy analyst and Anna Nienhuis as our WeNeedaLAW West Coast Assistant. The ARPA office has moved and is now at 130 Albert Street (Suite 2010), Ottawa.
- Created on Tuesday, 23 September 2014 07:31
Mark Penninga, Lethbridge Herald, Sept 23, 2014:
Recently Mr. John Warren, vice chair of the organization Dying with Dignity, made the argument in this paper that the Supreme Court's upcoming decision about assisted suicide will determine who owns your life – "you or the state."
He referenced Sue Rodriguez who suffered from ALS and pleaded for the right to have a doctor end her life. Although she lost her case in a 1993 decision of the Supreme Court, Mr. Warren argues that public opinion has changed dramatically since then.
I hope we can all agree that we have a moral obligation to dig deeper than shifting public opinion. It is not enough to reduce this issue to emotional stories or catch-phrases like "dying with dignity."
Will legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide mean that you "own your life"? This is an example of how right-to-be-killed advocates twist the facts to appear reasonable and compassionate. But not even "Dying with Dignity" would be willing to apply this logic consistently. Nobody in this case would advocate for an unrestricted right to die. If a 12-year-old victim of bullying requests suicide, we all would agree that her family and the rest of society better be there to care for her and address the bullying, not give her a lethal injection. Even if Canada becomes the most permissive nation in the world when it comes to euthanasia, there will still be some elites, be they judges, lawyers, politicians or doctors, who get to decide who "owns their life."
What is often ignored is that as soon as assisted suicide or euthanasia are legalized, the right to life that everyone is supposed to possess moves from objective to subjective. That means that instead of having dignity and worth simply because we are human, we now have to prove our worth to an ever-changing standard that is imposed on us. That hardly sounds dignified.
- Created on Monday, 22 September 2014 16:57
On the feature interview this week, Andrea Mrozek with the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada, talks about a research paper her group published this summer on the notion of “Income Splitting”, also known as “Family Taxation.” She explains how the policy would work, and assesses the political chances of having the concept introduced as part of the next Federal budget in the spring.
On the news portion, there’s a new Evangelical initiative on “Climate Change”. Spearheaded by the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, it’s a research paper entitled “Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies.”
The initiative started with more than 150 signatories, including those of ARPA’s Mark Penninga and Andre Schutten. It has received considerable media coverage, including feature articles in World Magazine and the Christian Post. On the show this week, a brief interview with the Alliance’s Dr. Calvin Beisner on why many Climate Change Policies are especially harmful for the poor.
Justin Trudeau’s pro-abortion views were back in the news this week, after seven retired Liberal Members of Parliament wrote an open letter to their Party leader, criticising him for his continued hard line stance against allowing pro-life candidates to run for the Liberals. Mr. Trudeau tried to defend himself on Twitter, writing that “the days when old men get to decide what a woman does with her body are long gone.”
On our program, We Need a Law’s Mike Schouten weighs in on the issue, and on what it could mean in the realm of federal politics generally.
Also this week, we speak with Mark Milke from the Fraser Institute about a column he wrote recently on the financial benefits to the taxpayers of the Independent and Christian School movement in Canada. The column is in response to criticism – particularly during the just-concluded teacher’s strike in British Columbia, that government in several Provinces have been “subsidizing private schools”. Mr. Milke explains, both in his column and in a brief interview on the program this week, why that’s an absolute myth.
- Created on Friday, 19 September 2014 14:16
ARPA Canada's Executive Director and Legal Counsel are among the signatories of a quality declaration from the Cornwall Alliance titled "Protect the Poor: Ten Reasons to Oppose Harmful Climate Change Policies." We joined over 20 climate scientists, along with many economists, policy experts, and ministry leaders and we encourage our readers to consider signing onto this declaration as well (please note that this declaration is available for all citizens to sign, not just those with fancy titles and educational degrees). Among other things, the declaration calls on political leaders "to abandon fruitless and harmful policies to control global temperature and instead adopt policies that simultaneously reflect responsible environmental stewardship, make energy and all its benefits more affordable, and so free the poor to rise out of poverty."
The declaration is based on a quality 50+ page study from two leading climate scholars, including Canadian Dr. G Kornelis van Kooten. We highly recommend you share this study with all those who think that climate change policies are sensible, just, and in keeping with a Christian ethic of love and stewardship.
You can learn more by reading this feature article from World Magazine. Also, be sure to catch our most recent episode of Lighthouse News where we interviewed Canadian expert Dr. Ross McKitrick about the economics of climate change policies.
Some of our readers may wonder why ARPA is covering this issue, and on the side of the "climate change skeptics". To be clear, ARPA is not denying "climate change." The climate has been changing since creation and will continue to do so. We are, however, challenging the poor policies that have been developed in Canada's municipal and provincial governments in response to "climate change" and also seek to expose their futility and waste. This includes examining the hypothesis that underlie these policies, as Dr. McKitrick does well in his interview. This declaration and study reveals the impact these policies are having on the world's poor, who will suffer a disproportionate amount because of them.
- Created on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 14:29
Amidst the darkening clouds around Canada's laws against assisted suicide, there is an ever-increasing ray of light. The need for an effective palliative care strategy is being understood, and acted upon, by Canada's federal government. Most recently, Canada's Minister of Health Rona Ambrose publicly called for a national palliative care strategy. You can watch a short video interview with her here. This comes after almost complete MP support for MP Charlie Angus's motion, calling for the same thing.
Please take a moment to use our new EasyMail 3.0 technology to send a letter to your MP, calling on them to promote palliative care rather than assisted suicide and also asking him or her to do what they can to uphold the law against assisted suicide in the face of many challenges. The letter will be copied to Ms. Ambrose, to indicate our support for her comments. [Click here to send your letter]
The value of human life is being challenged from all sides. First, we have the Supreme Court case which will decide if our laws are constitutional. Then there is the Quebec government, which blazed its own trail and legalized euthanasia even though it is supposed to be a federal matter. Then there is MP Stephen Fletcher's bills in Parliament, which seek to legalize assisted suicide. Loudest of all is the CBC, Globe and Mail, and others in the mainstream media which have become activists for death.
We have opportunities to respond to each of these challenges. For example, ARPA Canada is intervening in the Supreme Court case. But we can't just be reactive. An aging and secular society will increasingly struggle with dying. Palliative care is one means to proactive respond - with care instead of killing.
- Created on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 13:28
"Taxpayers subsidize private schools" - I can imagine if you were to tell this to someone in our Reformed community, especially in provinces where a school receives zero funding (such as Ontario or Atlantic Canada), you would likely be met with a blank stare and probably stand corrected. However, many taxpayers, especially it would seem those who do not send their children to independent schools, believe this myth and we would do well to debunk it. Thankfully the folks at the Fraser Institute have done their research and have submitted the following article to the Vancouver Sun:
By Mark Milke
“The construction of narratives,” the late Neil Postman wrote, “is a major business of our species.” The New York cultural critic, writing in a 2000 book, mused about how difficult it was to move people from myths to facts.
Skip ahead to the 21st century, and a myth that needs an empirical reality check: Taxpayers subsidize private schools.
This tale is told by many, often those wedded to a one-size-fits-all approach to education. For example, the British Columbia Teachers Federation claims the province is “subsidizing private schools with public funds.” In Ontario, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation bellows that “there should be no provincial government subsidies” for private schools.”
The subsidy claim is bunk. Just because a government cuts a cheque, that doesn’t mean someone or some entity is subsidized. By that impossibly loose definition, everything done by a government counts as a subsidy.
- Created on Monday, 15 September 2014 08:04
One of the earlier articles that ARPA Canada published was called "giving birth to healing: why all prosepective parents should consider donating cord blood." However, when we published it the only options available were for private cord blood banks. Thankfully that has changed. The Canadian Blood Services is building Canada's first public cord bank, and although full funding is not yet in place, they are accepting cord blood donations in Ottawa, Brampton, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Learn more about how to donate, as well as how the process works, here.
Giving Birth to Healing: Why All Prospective Parents Should Consider Donating Cord Blood, by Mark Penninga (first published in Reformed Perspective Magazine, 2008).
Blood – It’s in us to give. Many of us donate blood because it is an easy way to help those in need. But few are aware that every time a baby is born, the umbilical cord and placenta are filled with a most precious type of blood that can also be donated. Generally referred to as cord blood (i.e. from the umbilical cord), this blood is rich in stem cells. Because stem cells are capable of developing into many types of cells, tissues and even organs, they have a potential to be used for cures to many health defects. Unfortunately, cord blood is usually discarded. In the past, when stem cells were not yet discovered, this was understandable. But now that we know just how rich a treasure they are, it would be wise to consider donating cord blood.
- Created on Monday, 08 September 2014 11:49
An interview this week with one of Canada’s leading experts on the economics of Climate Change. Dr. Ross McKitrick is a Professor of Economics and the Chair of Graduate Studies at the University of Guelph. In the interview, he makes references to a website he’s created called YourEnvironment.ca, which you can access by clicking here.
In the interview, Dr. McKitrick also refutes the underlying presuppositions of a popular comic on the Climate Change controversy. While the comic is described in the interview, it may be helpful for you to see it:
On the news portion of the program this week, almost 20 Conservative MP’s are announcing their plans to retire before next year’s election. A good number of them have been quite friendly towards pro-life and family causes, and on this week’s program, Mike Schouten from We Need a Law weighs in on the ramifications of those retirements.
The preliminary results are now in on the “Doctor’s Conscience Rights” consultation in Ontario – an issue we featured in our interview last month, and there’s a slight shift in the nuance of the Canadian Medical Association’s position on euthanasia – a shift that’s not terribly friendly to the pro-life cause.
We also take a look ahead to the itinerary – and the topics – for this year’s annual ARPA National Tour, which kicks off in Ottawa next month.
- Created on Saturday, 06 September 2014 05:18
Cardus has released a new report on the climate of private education in Ontario, written by Dr. Derek J. Allison. Ontario has experienced a somewhat "chilly climate" towards private education and Dr. Allison's report explores the need for a serious policy review. The report, which argues to politicians, bureaucrats, and fellow citizens that both private and public education
foster a stable, orderly, and integrated society.
To read the report, download a copy from the Cardus website.
- Created on Monday, 25 August 2014 08:34
The following article, "Understanding, appreciating, protecting & using our Educational Freedom" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.
Understanding, appreciating, protecting & using our EDUCATIONAL FREEDOM
By André Schutten
In most of the Western world we are free to educate our children as we wish. We can raise them up to know the ways of the Lord. Do we understand how blessed we are because of this reality?
Let's consider, then, this blessing and examine how our Reformed schools, teachers, and parents are crucial in defending this freedom. Recent legal challenges on the education front should serve as reminders that we need to stay vigilant and jealously guard the freedom we have to raise up our children to know and serve the Lord.
- Created on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 09:24
The following article, "School: Who Should Rule" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been included here as a reference item for our readers. You can download a PDF of the updated version, linked at the bottom of the text if you wish to print a copy.
What do Reformed church orders say about church-run schools vs. parent-run schools?
By Mark Penninga
Late last year I was privileged to join my colleague André Schutten in making presentations to Reformed churches and schools across Canada. We were talking about the political and legal challenges we are seeing against parental authority in education. Our focus was the Loyola Supreme Court case, in which the province of Quebec is demanding that all schools and home schools set aside their worldview, and instead teach about religion and ethics from an explicitly secular perspective.
In preparing for these presentations I did some research into what Reformed Christians believe about who is primarily responsible for the education of children. I assumed that there was a common perspective about parental authority, in light of covenant theology. I was wrong.
- Created on Friday, 08 August 2014 09:45
An interview this week, on the conscience rights of medical doctors in Ontario. The College of Physicians and Surgeons in Ontario is reviewing whether doctors should have the right to “opt out” of providing certain services, such as prescribing birth control pills or performing abortions if those practices violate their religious beliefs. There’s a public consultation process underway on the issue now, and we talk to lawyer Albertos Polizogopoulos, who has submitted a brief on the issue on behalf of several groups of Christian medical professionals. (ARPA has also submitted a brief as part of the consultation process. You can find a copy online, here.)
On the news portion of the program, ARPA has applied for intervener status in two pending legal challenges on the Trinity Western law school debate.
We also continue our series on what some local ARPA chapters have been up to this summer. A group in Alberta hosted a BBQ for their Member of Parliament with some encouraging results.
And the Ontario government is getting ready to update it’s requirements for sex education. The issue first surfaced foury ears ago, but was abandoned at least in part because of opposition from the Christian community, which said the proposed curriculum was too explicit and age-inappropriate. There was a column on the issue in the Toronto Star last week; it was openly hostile to the Christian perspective on this, but it’s worth a read as a primer for parents in Ontario in terms of some of the rhetoric they will be facing when this issue comes back to the forefront. You can find the column here.
- Created on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 10:01
On Tuesday, August 5, ARPA's legal counsel sent a formal submission to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario with respect to their policy as it relates to conscience rights and the Ontario Human Rights Code. The College had requested feedback as it underwent consultations while reviewing their policy. At stake is whether doctors have the right
to refuse treatment if they have conscientious objections to 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 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.
As you will read in ARPA's submission (a copy is appended below), there were many legal submissions made to the College that correctly and thoroughly outlined the law as it relates to protecting doctors' conscience rights.
- Created on Tuesday, 22 July 2014 07:39
The Barrhead/Neerlandia ARPA chapter hosted a BBQ to thank Hon. Rob Merrifield, MP for Yellowhead for his work and commitment to the riding in which he served and is now retiring from. The approximately 45 people that attended the BBQ included both past and present board members, Mr. Merrifield and his wife and Mr. Merrifield's White Court office secretary and her husband. Board member Jacqueline Hamoen wrote that the guests were very thankful for the opportunity to come to a pig roast on a farm.
The group presented Mr. Merrifield with a picture, designed by Caitlin Hamoen, with words of appreciation for the work and dedication he had given the Yellowhead riding. He was surprised but very thankful for the gift.
According to Jacqueline Hamoen, Mr. Merrifield mentioned the appreciation that he had serving, and how important it is to keep Christian leaders in play. He felt at home and had a great many laughs with everyone. The evening was enjoyed by everyone.
- Created on Monday, 21 July 2014 07:59
It’s frightening that a provision protecting a parent’s authority over their child’s education would cause so much controversy in Alberta, the land of the free. And it’s ironic that when the shoe is on the other foot, suddenly parental rights are all the rage.
Last month, PC leadership contenders landed in hot water over their support of section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act. This 2009 amendment requires educators to inform parents with a written letter when their children will be taught about controversial issues including religion and sexual ethics.
This section simply affirms the common law right and the constitutional freedom of parents to raise their children according to their own worldview. This freedom and right is also protected under the Charter’s section 2(a) and 2(b) provisions (freedom of religion and freedom of expression) and under section 7 (right to liberty).
- Created on Monday, 02 June 2014 15:21
Update (July 18, 2014) - Quebec's new euthanasia law is being challenged in court. We are thankful that the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, have filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal. The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of Bill 52 that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a euphemism used to describe euthanasia.
"Great civilizations are not murdered. They commit suicide."
*For a thorough ethical, legal and medical critique of Quebec's euthanasia law, check out Dr. Margaret Somerville's brief to the Quebec Health Committee. Her brief is No. 053M.
By Mark Penninga (www.ARPACanada.ca): These words are credited to the famed 20th Century historian Arnold Toynbee who wrote a 12-volume book set about the rise and fall of 26 civilizations.
Toynbee's statement takes on a morbid new meaning when we see how Quebec is rushing to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide. With reckless abandon, the province is throwing aside its moral grounding and forging ahead in search of a new identity. Those who thought that this was stalled in the recent election of a Liberal government can think again.
Bill 52, reintroduced by the new Couillard government, will allow doctors to lethally inject their patients if they have physical or psychological pain. Because the bill was fast-tracked, it is possible that state-sanctioned killing is law in Quebec within a couple of weeks.
Although Bill 52 was first introduced by the previous PQ government and died as a result of the recent election, the new Liberal government has quickly reintroduced it, with no substantial amendments. It then proceeded to move the bill to the same stage as it was prior to the election, which required unanimous, and likely coerced, approval from all MNAs.
So why is this such a big deal? Bill 52 would cross a line that Canada has never crossed in its existence, at least for born humans.
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