05 Mar 2009 Historic Event on Parliament Hill (with pictures)
In what may have been the first time ever, a Canadian Reformed minister and professor made a presentation on March 3rd before leaders from Canada’s Parliament. The event, organized by the Association for Reformed Political Action (ARPA) Canada, was titled “God & Government: A Biblical Perspective on the Role of the State.” It featured Dr. Cornelis Van Dam, professor of Old Testament at the Theological College of Canadian Reformed Churches. Conservative MP Maurice Vellacott and Liberal MP John McKay co-sponsored the event, allowing us to hold it right in Parliament.
About 15 MP’s from the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic parties attended, along with one Senator and staff from the offices of MP’s who weren’t able to make it. Other organizations were also present at the event, including the directors of the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada and the Laurentian Leadership Centre.
By all accounts, the presentation was a success. After a short introduction by Mark Penninga (ARPA Canada) and MP Maurice Vellacott, Dr. Van Dam gave a powerful talk, based on Romans 13, which gave both theoretical and practical direction to the leaders in attendance. The audience listened attentively and the speech clearly connected with many hearts. It led to a very good and extensive discussion between the MP’s and Dr. Van Dam.
The transcript of the talk was also printed as an attractive booklet and a copy was provided to each of the guests who attended. In the days that followed, a Member of Parliament graciously distributed many more copies of this booklet to his colleagues, including our Prime Minister. A copy will also be sent to those who have financially supported ARPA Canada. The relevant subject of the booklet, along with the fact that it is written with our political leaders as the intended audience, will make it a very valuable resource for Reformed Christians who are interested in how our faith applies in a secular country like Canada.
ARPA Canada is very grateful to all those who helped make this possible. In particular, we thank Dr. Van Dam for delivering a quality talk, the sponsoring MP’s for making this possible and going out of their way to make it an enjoyable day with lunch in Parliament and a tour of the area, and members from the Ottawa Canadian Reformed and Presbyterian Reformed Churches who helped out with accommodations, photography, and by attending. We are also very grateful to all those across Canada who encouraged their MP’s to attend. Our financial supporters are also a big reason for this event and ensuring that ARPA Canada can continue to grow in influence towards both the grassroots and the leaders of our country.
While in Ottawa, the Director of ARPA Canada was also able to attend some meetings where we could offer our input and suggestions for legislation that is close to our hearts. We are very grateful for the reception that we have received, especially given that we have only existed for one year and are a very small organization.
With the Lord’s blessing, with your prayers, and with ongoing financial support, our hope is to continue to be able to motivate and equip Canada’s Reformed Churches and our leaders to apply our faith in the public square.