Throwback Thursday: How ARPA Readers Vote
Over the summer, ARPA Canada will be re-posting an old blog or article each Thursday. We hope that you enjoy these blasts from the past as we re-live some of the major content, issues, and campaigns of ARPA’s past 15 years.
This article was originally published shortly after the 2008 federal election which returned Conservative Prime Minister Stephan Harper to power with another minority government. How might have voting intentions in the Reformed community changed in the past 15 years?
The results of the federal election make a big difference in how this country will be governed in the years to come. So how did the Reformed church community vote? The ARPA election poll received 280 responses over the past few weeks and serves a good indication of how many in the Reformed churches vote.
Of course there is no way that this poll can be seen as an objective analysis of the Reformed vote. There are many people who come to our website as a result of a search engine result and have absolutely no connection to the Reformed community.
The most visible result of the poll is that the respondents are split almost evenly between the Christian Heritage Party and the Conservatives. The CHP has its roots in the Reformed churches in this country. That may explain why it tends to get much more support within our churches than in the broader Christian community. Studies seem to indicate that most Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants vote about the same as the rest of the Canadian population, leaning towards left-wing parties. Evangelicals tend to vote Conservative. Undoubtedly the Conservatives resonate with many in the Reformed churches because of their general regard for smaller government and because many MP’s within the party are strong Christians and speak out in protection of the unborn and the traditional family unit.
Overall, the support for the Conservatives seems to be slipping among Reformed Christians in part because the party has made a number of decisions which indicate that it is willing to compromise and change its principles to win votes and appeal to as broad a demographic as possible. But they are still seen as a better alternative then the other mainstream parties, some of which have a history of advocating policies such as the decriminalization of marijuana, prostitution, and euthanasia. There seems to be almost no support for the Liberal, NDP, or Green parties. It would be surprising if more than a handful of those who voted for them in the ARPA poll were from Reformed churches. This reflects the widespread small “c” conservative ideology among Reformed churches. Our view of human nature and the role of government makes us very leery of most parties on the left.
It will be interesting to see what happens to the Reformed vote over the next decade. The CHP has always struggled with the reality of our current electoral system. Their success likely depends on the sucess of electoral reform in this country. With a vote coming up in BC in 2009 to reconsider proportional represention, it may not be too long before other provinces, and eventually the federal government, get on board. The CHP and other ideological parties will no doubt benefit. In other words, we can probably expect the same type of vote for years to come, possibly with the CHP growing in support over time. Regardless of which party you support, now is the time to get involved. Your skills and interest, along with your Christian worldview, can make a big difference in shaping how these parties grow and change over the years.