- Created on Monday, 10 March 2014 16:39
The following is our latest issue of Respectfully Submitted, a series of policy reports for Parliamentarians. It is best viewed as a PDF (attached). We are printing and shipping this one to all MPs and Senators and encourage our readers to follow up with their MP in the coming weeks to ask for their thoughts about this document.
“Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law”
- Preamble to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Who is supreme in Canada? Some will point to the justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, others to the Prime Minister’s Office and still others to the people who elect the politicians. But all of them, and all of us, are here today and gone tomorrow.
We may argue that it is ideas which shape a society because ideas don’t retire or die – they have the power to overthrow an empire. Our Chief Justice once wrote that law itself is supreme. But laws change and ideas are like the wind. Progressivism, the unarticulated goal of many legislators, becomes a self-defeating enterprise as the next generation looks upon it with the same disregard that it looked on those ideas before it.
Canada is a nation in search of an identity. We don’t publicly recognize any god as supreme, let alone the Christian God. We follow leaders and ideas for a time, only to move on to the next person or thing that stirs us. But hockey, donuts, and beer aren’t exactly symbols on which to build a nation.
Over the decades Canada has divorced the Christian God from our public institutions and replaced Him with self-worship, state-worship, and earth-worship, among other things. Yet we continue to lay claim to, and benefit from, many of the political and legal by-products of the Christian faith, including fundamental human rights, much of the Criminal Code, and the concept of rule of law.
- Created on Thursday, 20 February 2014 06:56
On December 20, 2013, in the case of Bedford v. Attorney General of Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada found three Criminal Code prostitution offences to be unconstitutional and of no force or effect. This decision gives Parliament one year to respond with a new law before the judgment takes effect.
The government is now asking for feedback from you. Here is your chance to help shape a very important law for the better. What a practical and far-reaching way to honour the command to love your neighbour as yourself!
The link for the government feedback survey is right here (just click on the consultations tab). Before filling it out, it might be a good idea to review the next few paragraphs. What follows is a basic summary of what our law currently says, what the Supreme Court said about these laws, and what other options there are in dealing with this issue. Then we’ve listed ARPA’s own talking points on the issue. Consider using these when filling out the survey.
- Created on Friday, 21 February 2014 08:55
Bill 52 Update: By God's grace, Quebec's euthanasia bill was stalled by the opposition Liberals on Thursday, preventing it from being passed. The governing PQ party pushed hard for a vote so that it could become law before they called an election. Now they will be forced to decide whether to proceed with an election call. Either way, we can be thankful that some time has been bought. Please pray earnestly for a softening of hearts in Quebec and across this land.
Now is the Time to Keep the Euthanasia Train from Running off the Tracks!
By Mark Penninga, ARPACanada.ca: In her article "assisted suicide – what could possibly go wrong" the Globe and Mail's Margaret Wente looks at how Belgium's and Holland's euthanasia laws are running off the rails. As Quebec is on the verge of legalizing euthanasia, she rightly concludes that our ethical dilemmas may only be just beginning. And that is it. End of article.
Wente's uncomfortable musing about what kind of reasons are compelling enough to justify euthanasia shows why Canada needs to stop rushing to make decisions about life and death.
The central problem with trying to determine what justifies state-sanctioned death is that it puts the value of human life on an arbitrary scale. At the top of the scale are the terminally ill – those for whom death seems imminent. A little lower we find those with life-altering diseases. Although Canada isn't quite ready to talk about it yet, Belgium and Holland reveal that it only takes a decade to expand the scale to include the depressed, physiologically troubled, and even infants born with a cleft-palette. By that point there is some recognition that the train has run off the rails. But what exactly was that line where life ought to be protected and valued?
Western society forgets its lessons so quickly. It was less than 70 years ago that we looked at this exact question. Dr. Leo Alexander was an investigator in the Nuremberg Trials and also contributed to writing the Nuremberg Code. In 1949 Dr. Alexander wrote an article in the New England Journal of Medicine where he revealed some telling observations from the trials:
- 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).
- Great News: Intervenor Status Granted in Loyola Case!
- Report Card: 10 Very Realistic Goals for Canada in the Next Four Years (2)
- Death with Dignity - A Priority Issue for 2014
- Breaking News: Supreme Court declares prostitution laws unconstitutional
- Have We Made a Difference? Year in Reflection
- Proposed Christian law school clears major hurdle
- Editorial: Finally, some common sense on abortion
- Tips for writing letters to the editor
- Two New Pro-Life Motions in Parliament!
- Loyola update - Motion filed with the Supreme Court
- Poem on Euthanasia: Come and Love Me
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