Family

24 Jul 2015 Highs and Lows of the 41st Canadian Parliament

On June 18th, the House of Commons adjourned, setting the stage for an election campaign that will end the 41st session of Parliament. This is an appropriate time to look back on the past four years and see what was accomplished, especially through the lens of ARPA Canada and the issues that we focus on. Pre-born Human Rights: When the Conservatives were handed a majority in the last federal election, many Christians hoped that pre-born human rights would finally be addressed. These hopes were in vain. Although some courageous MPs stood up for the pre-born, the leadership of all the political parties in the House of Commons did their utmost to suppress these efforts.   Motion 312, championed by MP Stephen Woodworth, was the first motion that held promise. It asked that “a special committee of the House of Commons be appointed and directed to review the declaration in Subsection 223(1) of the Criminal Code of Canada which states that a child becomes a human being only at the moment of complete birth.” Local ARPA chapters hosted presentations by Mr. Woodworth on this motion and many ARPA supporters encouraged MPs to support it. But with the party leaders all vocally opposed, the motion died in the House by a vote of 203 to 91. Yet Motion 312 reignited a discussion that was quiet for too long. Momentum for addressing this injustice was building.
Read More

13 May 2015 ARPA in Vancouver Sun: Time and Place for Spanking

By Mark Penninga, Vancouver Sun, May 12 2015: Vancouver-Quadra Member of Parliament Joyce Murray stood in the House of Commons this month to condemn spanking. "Shockingly, section 43 of the Canadian Criminal Code still permits this cruel form of punishment, an archaic flaw in our legal system to say the least," she sais. Murray proceeded to call on all MPs to ban physical punishment of children. Canadian Parliamentarians have unsuccessfully introduced since 1997 eight private member's bills to fully ban corporal punishment, also known as physical discipline or spanking. A case challenging the legality of physical discipline went to the Supreme Court of Canada. The majority of Canada's highest court ruled in 2004 the law Murray decries is constitutional. Chief Justice McLachlin, writing for the majority, took the opportunity to clarify what is and is not appropriate. Physical discipline may only be used for children between the ages of two and 12. It can't include objects, or be directed at the head. Physical discipline must be sober and reasoned and address behaviour. However, these restrictions aren't enough for Murray and many others. Given that about half of Canadian parents use physical discipline, this argument is not a minor or hypothetical matter. There are two key questions: is physical discipline really harmful or abusive, and who is the best situated to determine whether it is an acceptable form of discipline, the State or the parent?
Read More

28 Apr 2015 Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms on Bill 10

The Justice Centre of Constitutional Freedoms issued a press release today (April 28, 2015) with the heading "Alberta’s law mandating Gay-Straight Alliances violates Charter freedoms". You can view it online at their website. The Centre also released a report today titled, "Mandatory Gay Straight Alliances versus Charter Freedoms". We encourage you to take a read and if you're in Alberta, send your MLA an EasyMail letter on the subject - there are 3 to choose from....

Read More

08 Apr 2015 Maxims on Marriage

This week, I have chosen to bring up more than one maxim since they are all needed to demonstrate certain inconsistencies with the modern western legal approach to marriage. "Conjuctio mariti et faminae est de jure natura". Translation: The union of a man and a woman is of the law of nature. "Maris et faeminae conjunctio est de jura naturea". Translation: The union of husband and wife is founded on the law of nature. "Jura naturae sunt immutabilia". Translation: The laws of nature are unchangeable. "Quae rerum natur prohibentuur, null...

Read More

12 Mar 2015 Speak Up! Alberta Forces Schools to Approve GSA’s

Take Action! Three EasyMail letters are below. They will be CC'd to the Premier and Education Minister As you have likely heard, on Tuesday Education Minister Gordon Dirks tabled amendments to Bill 10 and within hours the legislation passed a final vote in the Alberta Legislature. Only two MLAs (Ian Donovan and Bruce Rowe) voted against it. Bill 10 is horrible law (find a copy of the legislation as tabled and amended before Christmas here, and see the even more contentious amendments introduced and passed on March 10 here). Among other things, it requires all Alberta schools to approve GSA clubs. It also adds the terms “sexual orientation, sex, gender identity, and gender expression” to the Alberta Bill of Rights. As ARPA explained at length in the past, if law and public policy are based on subjective notions, such as how someone identifies at any particular moment, then law loses meaning altogether. Perhaps most troubling, the bill also removes the requirement for parents to be informed when their children are being taught about sexual orientation. The Alberta government has cowardly pushed this through, even after many of you explained just how problematic the legislation is. This legislation is an affront to the authority that God has given parents as the primary educators of their children. For a Biblical defence of that statement, see God's directions to Abraham in Gen. 18, God's instructions to the people of Israel to teach their children his commands in Deut. 6, the generational instruction outlined in Psalm 78, or scan through the book of Proverbs, filled with instructions on how to "train up a child in the way he should go" (Prov. 22), including as it relates to sexuality, and it's pretty clear.
Read More

20 Feb 2015 Sex-ed curriculum: practical and easy ways to speak up for parental rights

March 31: The National Post published an op-ed by Dr. Scott Masson that is an excellent critique of the new sex-ed curriculum. Read it here. Click here for a new poem, penned by A. Blokhuis, urging Ontarians to speak up.  As many of you know, the Ontario government is ramming their new sex-ed curriculum forward and doing so without parental consultation. While we believe that God makes all education the responsibility of parents (the State's role is merely an "assistant" to parents) the teaching of sexuality and sexual ethics are particularly the domain of parents. What we are seeing with the present Ontario government on this particular issue is a blatant disregard for this Biblical truth, a terrible intrusion into the safe domain of the family home and a sneering "moral superiority" complex by a provincial government that really seems to believe they know better than almost 5 million parents in this province. How dare they? How dare they mock, disrupt and meddle in Christian family affairs! While we do not advocate for revolution and general civil disobedience, we do encourage all Christian believers to stand up and demand the civil government to back off. God gave this government absolutely no authority to teach our children about sex, much less about approving of and celebrating sexual conduct that He taught us is sin. If they want to do any of this, they need our permission first. What this government is doing is immoral. It is sin. It is wrong. I dare say, it is evil. The chief architect of this children's sex-ed program has admitted to criminal charges of child pornography, including asking a mom to sexually assault her child for him. This is just one more piece of evidence to make us want to shout our outrage at this program! How would a prudent government that just "cares for the kids" not take serious pause after such criminal actions come to light? Few in Ontario are standing up against this government. One member of the Provincial legislature is: MPP Monte McNaughton is one solitary voice in the Legislature who continues to push the Premier on this issue. You can see him asking great questions in this video, and you can witness the infuriating dodging of those questions by the Premier time and again.
Read More

28 Nov 2014 Parents undermined in Ontario curriculum plans

On October 30th, the Ontario government signaled that they will again be introducing controversial changes to the sex-ed curriculum in Ontario. Our readers might remember the furor that arose after a graphic sex ed curriculum was introduced in 2010. Its explicit description of various sex acts and behaviours rightly outraged parents and so the government at that time quickly shelved the curriculum. However, this fall, Premier Wynne (who was Education Minister when the earlier version was introduced) has now stated that elementary schools will begin teaching the proposed sex education curriculum in the fall of 2015. Photo credit The education minister, Ms. Liz Sandals, also announced that parents will be consulted in this process. However, on closer inspection, those parents will be 4,000 pre-selected parents, one for each elementary school in the province. Clearly the government does not want to hear from the vast majority of parents, or those who want to exercise their democratic responsibility to interact with the laws and policies of their province.
Read More

26 Nov 2014 Alberta Take Action to Defend Parental Authority: Bill 202 & Bill 10

Update (Dec 4, 2014): The Prentice government has just announced that it is shelving Bill 10 in light of the opposition the bill is receiving. Unfortunately most of the opposition seems to be from people who are pushing for even more radical changes. Let's be proactive and meet with our MLAs, write them, and call them, to discuss a better alternative. Alberta's government is pushing hard to promote alternative sexual lifestyles while also decreasing the ability of parents to educate their children according to their beliefs. First, Bill 202 was introduced into the Alberta Legislature on November 20, 2014 by MLA Laurie Blakeman, as a private member's bill. The legislation has similarities to Manitoba's Bill 18 and Ontario's Bill 13 in making gay-straight alliances mandatory in any school where it is requested by a student. Like Manitoba, this would be the case for all schools, including independent and Christian. But the bill goes further (see below).  Soon after, the government responded by drafting its own legislation, Bill 10, which is also very troubling. Although they try strike a balance between LGBT rights and parental authority, it is clear that parental authority is being undermined. First, the bill will remove the requirement for parents to be informed when their children are being taught explicitly about sexual orientation. In addition, it would also add "sexual orientation" to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination in the Alberta Bill of Rights. In other words, the government has determined that parents shouldn't be informed when their children are being taught about "sexual orientation."   Second, Section 11.1 of the Alberta Human Rights Act (AHRA), which requires that parents be able to remove their children from instruction about sexuality and religion will be removed and put into the School Act and Education Act. A statement about parental rights will also be added to the Bill of Rights. It is hard to know why Section 11.1 is being removed from the AHRA. The AHRA is a quasi-constitutional document, so pulling this section suggests that the protection drops down a tier and would be subject to the other "rights" in the AHRA. Third, it explicitly grants students from all schools, including private, who would want a gay-straight alliance, the authority to appeal to the school board if they are met with resistance. The school board's decision can be challenged by judicial review "for jurisdictional error or unreasonableness." Although we don't know the direct impact on Bill 202, it appears that Bill 202 will become moot. We encourage our readers to read this article and then use our EasyMail sample letters to write their MLA, explaining that neither Bill 202 or Bill 10 should not be supported. Please encourage others to do likewise.  Take Action: Easymail letter 1 - Parents have authority over children Take Action: Easymail letter 2 - Freedom of Religion and Association
Read More

21 Jul 2014 Without autonomous families, freedom falters

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).
Read More

02 Jul 2014 Report Card: Assessing Canada’s Conservative Government

The following article, "Report Card: Assessing Canada's Conservative Government on 10 Key Issues" was originally published in the Reformed Perspective magazine. It has been updated and 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. By Mark Penninga (Updated July, 2014) In a June 2011 article for Reformed Perspective I detailed 10 realistic goals that could be accomplished for our nation under this Conservative government if our leaders have the courage to lead and if citizens give them the encouragement and accountability to do so. Now that we are about halfway through this government’s mandate, how are we faring on these issues? 1. Give Aboriginals the responsibility and hope that belongs to all Canadians Grade: B+ Not long after ARPA published a policy report on this issue in 2012, we were very encouraged to see the federal government announce a number of bills and policies to increase accountability, equality, and opportunity for Canada's Aboriginal peoples. In June 2013, the First Nations Financial Transparency Act became law. Aboriginal MP Rob Clarke has also introduced a private member's bill C-428 entitled the Indian Act Amendment and Replacement Act. And the government has also taken steps towards allowing private property ownership on reserves and increasing parental responsibility in education. As encouraging as these changes are, they are small steps in light of the enormity of the problem. And given that the issue crosses into provincial responsibility, much more can also be done in having the provinces and federal government work towards a common vision. 2. Reform the Canadian Human Rights Commission Grade: C- In light of all the opposition from all sides of the political spectrum to problematic sections of the Canadian Human Rights Act, it is striking that it took a private member's bill (Brian Storseth's C-304) to finally abolish Section 13 in the summer of 2013. This was a huge victory, but the current government can't take much credit for it, apart from not actively opposing it. Much more can be done to reform or even abolish the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Read More