- Created on Monday, 25 April 2016 13:43
A firestorm in the Alberta Legislature last week over a motion that would have confirmed government support for education models outside of public education. Opposition leader Ric McIver was actually ejected from the legislature. On the feature this week, John Jagersma from the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges in Alberta, on what the debate truly signified.
In the news:
A ruling from the BC Court of Appeal which says that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms doesn’t apply on University campuses. André Schutten joins us to explain why that ruling may be good news for Trinity Western University.
A distinctly ARPA-related angle to the last week’s provincial election outcome in Manitoba.
There has been more pushback to Ottawa’s doctor-assisted suicide legislation.
We have an update on Cassie and Molly’s Law.
Cardus challenges Canada’s business community to think outside the box on K-12 education.
- Created on Friday, 22 April 2016 14:17
The Liberal Government released their Bill C-14 on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. Numerous organizations have responded, including Christian Legal Fellowship which you can read here.
Learn how to TAKE ACTION on this Bill at arpacanada.ca/stop-euthanasia.
ARPA Canada would like to quote the response of Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia which echoes our sentiments in their press release below:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The federal government provides exemptions for murder, aiding suicide and administering poison
Montreal, April 15, 2016 – In the midst of one of the worst suicide crises in our country’s history, the federal government has tabled Bill C-14, which proposes to legalize both euthanasia and assisted suicide across Canada under the pseudonym “medical assistance in dying". The waltz of words continues, as we malign palliative care by presenting "medical assistance in dying" as the only alternative to an agonizingly painful death.
From the outset, the bill makes clear the gravity of what our society is about to accept: it amends the Criminal Code to "create exemptions from the offences of culpable homicide, of aiding suicide and of administering a noxious thing, in order to permit medical practitioners and nurse practitioners to provide medical assistance in dying and to permit pharmacists and other persons to assist in the process".
These people would not be criminally responsible if they were practising euthanasia or helping a patient to commit suicide. Nor would the people helping the physician or nurse practitioner "if they do anything, at another person’s explicit request, for the purpose of aiding that other person to self-administer a substance that has been prescribed for that other person as part of the provision of medical assistance in dying". Therefore, every citizen will be able, without fear of prosecution, to help another person to commit suicide if his condition meets the criteria established by law: a parent, a friend, a brother, a sister, etc.
Not surprisingly, there is no requirement that people who suffer be at the end of life to have access to assisted suicide. Only that “their natural death has become reasonably foreseeable (...) without a prognosis necessarily having been made as to the specific length of time that they have remaining". It seems to us that everyone’s death is reasonably foreseeable.
Moreover, the federal government casts a wide net in its list of lives that are not worth living, including people with a serious and incurable disease, condition or disability, those losing autonomy and those with persistent physical or psychological suffering "that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable." In drawing up a set of circumstances in which it is now acceptable to commit suicide with the help of a doctor and the complicity of the state, the federal government endorses the choice of death for a host of reasons... on the condition of being at least 18 years old.
We are already far from the idea that was sold to us when this debate began: from proposing death for a few exceptional cases, we’ve reached the point where it’s considered "health care" like any other. Access to euthanasia and assisted suicide is such a priority that the federal bill suggests that a person be allowed to shorten his time of reflection (fixed at 15 days) if natural death becomes imminent – which invalidates the argument of the Supreme Court of Canada who claimed that "medical assistance to die" would help prevent people from taking their life prematurely...
In short, after the smoke screen that was the scandalous report of the Special Joint Committee, Bill C-14 gives the false impression of being prudent and restrictive. But a further reading enables us to understand where we are heading: the government is already expecting a need for "further studies on requests by mature minors, advance requests and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition" after the implementation of the law.
An even more permissive law won’t be long in coming. As soon as the population has swallowed this first poison pill.
Anyone who still respects the inherent and inalienable dignity of every human person and is concerned for the common good has one thing to do right now: call his or her MP to try to block this Bill unworthy of Canadian society.
Catherine Ferrier, president
Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia
- Created on Friday, 01 April 2016 05:44
Students at Covenant Christian School in London, Ontario have been busy participating in the Booties for Babies campaign. Over the winter months a group of girls in grades 5-8, under the leadership of Mrs. Lynda Schouten, have gathered over the lunch hour to crochet baby booties.
The nine girls, some of whom had never crocheted before, learned how to make beautiful baby booties under the direction of Mrs. Schouten and a few of the girls’ moms and omas. The girls, who were looking for a warmer alternative than going outside on lunch hour during the winter months, embraced the opportunity to make baby booties in an effort to “end abortion in Canada”.
Over the past couple of months the girls and the women helping them have made nearly 100 pairs! On March 30th, ARPA Canada board member Frank Oostdyk and staff member Niki Pennings, visited the school to meet with the students and thank them for their hard work. The booties will be delivered to the Ottawa office by Frank next week.
Thank you to Mrs. Schouten and the other women who took the time to teach these girls, not only a craft, but the importance of speaking up for the most vulnerable in our society. The girls were quite excited that the colourful baby booties will be going to Ottawa to serve as a testimony to our elected officials and that one day, a newborn baby will get to wear them.
Well done to all involved!
- Created on Wednesday, 30 March 2016 13:15
That the Standing Committee on Health be instructed to examine the public health effects of the ease of access and viewing of online violent and degrading sexually explicit material on children, women and men recognizing and respecting the provincial and territorial jurisdictions in this regard and following completion of its study, report back to the House no later than July 2017.
Violent and degrading sexually explicit material is easily accessible to anyone with access to the internet, without restriction. As the medical community has discovered, this is having a significant harmful impact on the mental, emotional and sexual health of children, women and men.
Incredibly, the last major study, completed in 1985 by the Special Committee on Pornography and Prostitution (the Fraser Committee), was completed before the invention of the World Wide Web.
Sexual violence and degradation are, sadly, all too common. Recent reports include the tragic cases of Rehtaeh Parsons and Amanda Todd, as well as the scandals involving the St. Mary’s University frosh week and the Dalhousie dentist students. These stories force an important question on our society and Parliamentarians: Where do the individuals in these reports get the notion that sexually violent and degrading attitudes and behaviours toward women and children are normal and acceptable? Where is this being learned?
It is time that Parliament makes this a priority! Stay tuned for action ideas to promote this motion, and please pray that it is used to wake Parliament up to the evil that pornography is.
- Created on Wednesday, 23 March 2016 14:06
Alberta’s provincial government is forcing upon our schools a totalitarian, one-size-fits-all regime of “gender guidelines,” and they’re doing so without even a vote in the Legislature. You can read ARPA’s full analysis of these guidelines, and how they undermine faith, family, and reason here.
Among many other things, these “guidelines” mean that a male student can “self-identify” as female and enter our girls’ change rooms. They also mean any gender specific talk of “mom” or “dad” or “girls” or “boys” must be discouraged and changed to “neutral” terms like “parents.” Yes, that includes in private Christian schools as well.
The guidelines would impose upon our schools the most extreme form of so-called "gender ideology." The Alberta government is undermining the role of parents as educators and the independence of school boards, including faith-based schools.
- Created on Monday, 14 March 2016 15:30
We sent the following letter to all Members of Parliament and Senators this past week. Please consider following up with your MP and Senators from your province (see listing here) and ask them if they are willing to defend the vulnerable, or if they intend to turn a blind eye and allow State-endorsed, state-funded killing.
If you were walking next to the icy Rideau River in Ottawa and came upon a girl climbing over the railing of a footbridge spanning the river, what would you do? Would you pretend you didn’t see her and keep walking, trying to block what is happening out of your mind? Or would you approach her and offer to help? If she proceeded to tell you that her life is not worth living, would you do everything possible to affirm the value of her life, or would you give her a push into the icy waters?
With the clock ticking away on a four-month court-imposed deadline, this Parliament is rushing to pass a law to kill those who don’t want to go on living. Strip away the euphemisms of “physician-assisted dying” or “medical aid in dying” and what we are witnessing is eerily similar to the scenario described above.
Metaphorically, thousands of Canadians are lined up on bridges in their respective cities, feeling like a burden to those around them. Instead of telling them that they are inherently valuable and that we will be there to help them with the struggles they are facing, Parliament is confirming for them that their lives are not worth living. Although there may be some distance between the MP and the person giving the push, the outcome is the same. State-endorsed, state-funded killing.
- Created on Thursday, 03 March 2016 07:17
As part of their election promises the Liberal Party of Canada made the following statement:
“We are committed to ensuring that 2015 will be the last federal election conducted under the first-past-the-post voting system. We will convene an all-party Parliamentary committee to review a wide variety of reforms, such as ranked ballots, proportional representation, mandatory voting, and online voting. This committee will deliver its recommendations to Parliament. Within 18 months of forming government, we will introduce legislation to enact electoral reform.”
Since the election, the Liberal Government has set up a committee to assess the options for a new voting system. It seems the Liberal government is leaning towards a preferential ballot system.
The Opposition has challenged the government on this issue, arguing that the government is using the new electoral system for political gain and are using the power of a majority government to advance what should require a referendum. After all, Canadians have been using a first-past-the-post system since Confederation.
For a bit more clarity on the different types of voting systems, here is a primer:
- First-past-the-post: this is the current voting system in Canada. Voters choose only one candidate to represent their riding as a Member of Parliament (MP), and the candidate with the most votes, without necessarily getting a majority of the votes, represents that riding. The party with the most MPs forms government, and the leader of that party serves as the Prime Minister. The criticism of this system is that a large percentage of the voters in each riding don’t get the MP they voted for, and parties can hold a majority in the House of Commons without getting a majority of the vote. People may feel compelled to vote for a candidate they don’t really want, in order to avoid electing an even worse candidate.
- Created on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 11:46
Last year we issued a call to action which many of you heeded. Thank you!
Below is a letter that was shared with us as to the action that some businessmen in the Niagara (Ontario) region did on this initiative.
Greetings Fellow Christian Business Leaders:
Late in the fall of 2014, the "Legal Leaders for Diversity" (LLD) which is made up of 77 massive corporations in Canada, sent a letter to the law society of Upper Canada requesting that Trinity Western University (TWU) be denied accreditation for a law school. They did not like that TWU has a code of conduct which requires students to abide by Christian principles about marriage and sexuality.
Last spring Rosaflora, Pine Ridge Gardens and we (of Lindy's Flowers) came together and wrote a letter to RBC, one of five LLD companies that signed the letter opposing TWU. We requested that RBC recant their decision to stand against TWU. After further correspondence and an in-person meeting between our three companies and RBC, they stated that they appreciated our concerns, but did not believe they were legitimate and decided to "agree to disagree."
While we realized that the likelihood of the LLD recanting their stand against TWU was slim, we were encouraged to see that the one letter sent on behalf of three companies, to only one of 77 companies of the LLD, elicited an immediate response from the executive level. Although at this meeting our desired goal was not fully realized it was encouraging to hear the executive assert that, as a result of the meeting, his company would scrutinize the placement of their support more carefully in the future.
I am proposing that we come together as Canadian Christian business leaders, and send a letter to each of the 77 companies of the LLD, expressing our concerns and asking how they can justify opposing Christianity when they claim to support diversity. Communicating with these companies, by way of letters and face to face meetings, can be a positive method for deterring these corporations from taking action like this again. Many of them may not even realize what they signed onto with the LLD.
All we are asking for is a reply email to UCBLOC@gmail.com (United Christian Business Leaders of Canada) with your company logo or business name and your permission to attach your name to the letter (if it is easier, just a reply email with your name and permission to copy your logo from your website). We will be sure to send you a draft copy of the letter and give you one week's notice should you decide you do not want your name included. We want to encourage you to forward this letter to other Christian businesses who may want to stand alongside us.
It is our prayer that we may be used as God's instruments to bring about change in this land and to uphold the freedom to worship/study that we so richly treasure.
There is still much work to be done. As a Canadian, we have all an opportunity to examine our purchasing habits and consider where we will invest our money. Much of the focus has been on the Bank of Montreal for their leadership in the Legal Leaders for Diversity campaign, however there were 72 other companies which signed on to a document that discriminates against Christians. As Ben wrote above, "many of them may not even realize what they signed onto with the LLD". The truth is - we know. Take time to contact the companies with whom you do business and express your concerns about the controversial and offensive discrimination towards Christians.
- Created on Monday, 18 April 2016 13:43
ARPA’s Mark Penninga and André Schutten have just wrapped up a week-long tour of Alberta – a tour dealing with the province’s Bill 10 and guidelines for dealing with transgendered students. They made a series of evening presentations and met with government and opposition MLAs at the Legislature in Edmonton. On the feature this week, they give us an update on how the tour went.
In the news, the Trudeau government table its long-awaited legislation on assisted suicide last week. While the bill doesn’t contain some of the more egregious elements that were being recommended by a parliamentary committee – such as making doctor-assisted death available to minors and the mentally ill – there are still major concerns with it.
Two new studies came out last week showing again how common sex-selective abortion has become in Canada. Mike Schouten from WeNeedaLaw.ca weighs in on that issue this week, and WNAL researcher Anna Nienhuis had a feature piece published on LifeSiteNews on the “cultural profiling” that was part of the study.
And opposition to the so-called “Legal Leaders for Diversity” campaign is continuing. A group of Christian business owners in Ontario is trying a new strategy to get the LLD campaigners to back down. They’re looking for support from other businesses. If you’re interested, you can email them here.
- Created on Thursday, 18 February 2016 10:35
The National March for Life will be held in Ottawa on Thursday, May 12, 2016, and across the country there will be six provincial marches (click here for a listing).
For the second year, Reformed Prayer Services will be held in both Victoria, prior to the provincial march in BC, and in Ottawa, prior to the national march. We hope to see you at one of these prayer services, details are below.
Following each prayer service there will be bagged lunches for all those who pre-register. After the prayer service, head to the provincial Legislature (Victoria) or Parliament Hill (Ottawa) to join with thousands more in speaking up for the most vulnerable in our society.
- Created on Friday, 05 February 2016 10:29
(For those outside Alberta, please don’t ignore this action update. Manitoba is working on similar guidelines, and other provinces are likely to follow.)
In less than one year, Alberta has transitioned from a province with an outstanding reputation for upholding parental authority in education to becoming one of the most oppressive jurisdictions in North America. Christian schools are now being told to adopt policies and procedures by March 31st which directly violate their faith and promote radical ideologies. If the province does not change its approach, Christian parents and schools will have to either compromise their faith or make a principled stand against the province.
Basic Talking Points
The following four points encapsulate our basic concerns about the Alberta education minister’s desire to make all schools celebrate his radical gender politics and his unchristian views of sexuality.
- ludicrous overreach: the new policies and guidelines from the education minister are so beyond the pale that even public schools are pushing back. See below for many examples of the extreme nature of these guidelines.
- parental rights undermined: the new policies and guidelines drive a wedge between parents and children and actively seek to undermine this very important relationship.
- palpable harm to children: the evidence from medical experts is clear – encouraging or reinforcing gender dysphoria, particularly with pre-pubescent children, is harmful to the child and virtually guarantees a life of emotional and psychological suffering. The exact students the State pretends to help are the ones most harmed by these policies. These policies also gamble with child abuse by downplaying any risks associated with mixing boys and girls in the same change rooms, washrooms and sports teams.
- religious and associational liberty attacked: the new policies and guidelines violate the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of religion (including the right of religious institutions to remain true to their faith commitments without having to teach or celebrate as true and good something fundamentally at odds with their religious convictions). The policies and guidelines also violate the Charter’s guarantee of freedom of association (including the right of parents to come together for a legitimate common cause and to carry out that cause according to their shared principles without State interference).
We urge our readers and supporters in Alberta to communicate these points to their elected representatives boldly, but also respectfully. Also, though many of you are parents who send your children to an independent school, speak as a concerned citizen and as parent but not on behalf of your school (leave that to your local school board).
In order to get the full story of what is going on, what is at stake, and what you can do, please read on.
- Created on Wednesday, 28 October 2015 13:46
ARPA Canada was able to present to the Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada. ARPA’s legal counsel André Schutten and policy analyst Colin Postma were joined by lawyer John Sikkema. They presented three options: draft legislation using Section 33 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the "notwithstanding clause"), some recommendations on mitigating the harm of assisted suicide, and ARPA Canada’s 'third option' of amending the Criminal Code to specifically address assisted suicide and euthanasia.
André Schutten began his presentation with a story of a close relative who has been in a wheelchair most of his life, who has been in and out of the hospital many times. During such hospital stays, his family has been asked, “is it worth it?” by some in the health care profession. If this kind of pressure exists to undermine the value of life for those with disabilities before any Parliamentary action on Carter, how much more afterwards. Those with disabilities will be forced to prove their worth to society, or be shamed and undervalued, Schutten said. He then presented ARPA’s draft law for using Section 33 of the Charter, the so-called ‘notwithstanding clause’ and advised the panel that it is ARPA’s position that this is the best legislative option for protecting the value of life for the most vulnerable.
- 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 Friday, 07 September 2012 13:15
By Brian Lilley, Sept 6, 2012: For the past week I’ve been talking a lot about the economy.
Covering the Republican convention last week and the Democratic convention this week I’ve talked about how the economy is THE issue, the big issue.
In our coverage of the Quebec election I talked about how the economy was the issue that Quebec’s leaders avoided despite that province lagging when it should be leading.
For conservative minded people it is almost always about the economy. Some parts of the conservative movement want it only to be about the economy and when election time comes they want people like me to shut up about all the cultural issues.
Abortion. Don’t mention it.
- Created on Monday, 11 April 2016 13:43
There’s an event coming up in Ontario’s Niagara region later this month; a debate on “Two-Kingdoms Theology”. On the feature this week, we speak to one of the event organizers to get an idea of what the controversy is about. Details on the event, including where to get more information, are here.
In the news, Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party registered a resounding win in a provincial election there earlier this month. We look at the implications that win has for the Parental Consent campaign being conducted by WeNeedaLAW.ca.
ARPA lawyer André Schutten appeared before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal last week, arguing against an appeal by that Province’s Barrister’s Society of a court ruling that would allow graduates of Trinity Western’s proposed law school to practice as lawyers in the province.
ARPA’s biennial God and Government Conference is coming up soon. Registration closes this Friday.
Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen rose in the Commons late last month to defend the Office of Religious Freedom. On the program this week, a brief clip of his speech. You can find his full presentation here.
And they held another Munk debate in Toronto earlier this month. The topic was immigration; specifically the flood of Muslim immigrants into western countries. On the program this week, a clip of what columnist Barbara Kay inferred to be the turning point of that debate. You can watch the full debate here.
- God & Government 2016
- Urge Parliament to Say No to Euthanasia!
- Alberta Bill 7 - Redefining Sex/Gender in Alberta Law
- An ethical alternative to euthanasia
- Conscience rights of Ontario doctors under attack
- Local chapter inspires other groups
- Is it Time for Canada to Leave the UN?
- Flag Displays
- Booties for Babies Challenge!
- ARPA heading to Ontario Court of Appeal for Trinity Western University
- 2015 Federal Election Analysis
- Praise God! We won! Judge rules in favour of TWU
- Pro-Life Flag Display in Grande Prairie
- Analyzing the Federal Budget
- Ontario Man convinces Gov’t to change Resources on Corporal Punishment
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