Justice and Freedom

29 Nov 2019 What’s going on with Bill 207, Alberta’s conscience rights bill?

  *UPDATE (added Dec. 5): On Monday, December 2, while MLA Dan Williams was speaking on Bill 207, a tragic incident occurred outside the Assembly, which then adjourned. Consequently, Bill 207 was delayed. It will likely be revisited in February 2020, once the legislature resumes. Last week, an Alberta legislative committee voted against Bill 207.  So, is Bill 207 dead? Not quite. Ordinarily, a bill gets debated in the Assembly at second reading. Then, if it passes the “second reading vote”, it goes to an appropriate committee for closer study, where amendments are often...

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28 Nov 2019 Why liberalism and conservatism are both (mostly) wrong: Politics from a Christian worldview

by John Sikkema The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms acknowledges the "supremacy of God". Many see this as an inappropriate mixing of law and religion. Is it? What if the Charter stated instead that the individual is supreme? Or the people? Or the nation? Or the working class? Each of these would be a statement of the law’s foundational commitment, a statement of belief. We shouldn't think that politics becomes nonreligious simply by leaving out references to God. In his new book, Christian political philosopher David Koyzis helps us understand why. In...

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20 Nov 2019 Dispelling myths about Alberta’s conscience rights bill

  Bill 207, tabled by Alberta MLA Dan Williams, now faces fierce opposition. The bill proposes protections for health care providers’ freedom of conscience. It is scheduled for a vote at second reading on Monday, November 25. It deserves to pass and proceed to committee for further review and possible improvements.   Bill 207 does not threaten access to health care The primary line of attack is that Bill 207 threatens “access to health care”. “Imagine … a patient being denied access to a therapeutic abortion even if the woman’s life is in danger,”...

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07 Nov 2019 New Alberta bill offers robust protections for freedom of conscience

    We have encouraging news. Dan Williams, MLA for Peace River, Alberta, tabled a bill today that would protect both individual health care providers and health care facilities from being required to provide services that conflict with their religious beliefs, conscientious beliefs, ethical judgment, or cultural traditions. One of the bill’s stated purposes is to provide certainty to health care providers and religious health care organizations with respect to exercising their Charter-protected freedoms of conscience and religion. This is greatly needed in a time when both individual providers and religious health care...

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11 Sep 2019 B.C.’s highest court says 14-year-old can continue hormone treatment, despite gaps in risk disclosure  

by John Sikkema  The B.C. Gender Clinic’s “Informed Consent Form” for “hormone therapy” is both inadequate and misleading, in my view. Yet the province’s highest court ruled last week, in AB v CD, that a 14-year-old girl who had signed the form could continue to receive testosterone therapy despite her father’s objections. In this article, I explain that decision and what it may mean for B.C. children and families. What is the AB v CD case about? ARPA was in court last week as an intervenor in AB v CD (anonymized short forms for...

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10 Sep 2019 ARPA Gives Oral Arguments in Critical Court Case

This week ARPA Canada was one of just two intervenors that was permitted to give oral arguments in a crucial and sad case in the BC Court of Appeal. We have produced a special Vlog about the case. However, due to a publication ban, we can’t share many details of what transpired in the court room. The case centres around a BC father who has been told he may not express his concerns about his 14-year-old daughter’s decision to take hormone treatments to appear as a boy. The case centres around a...

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23 Aug 2019 NB: Should vaccines be mandatory? Have your say!

Backgrounder: In June, 2019 the Government of New Brunswick introduced Bill 39. This bill makes changes to the Education Act, the Public Health Act, and the Early Childhood Services Act. It mandates that children will need proof of immunization to attend public school, early learning, and child care facilities. The list of vaccines required by law is specified in the Public Health Act. Previously, the province required proof of immunization to attend public school. The law had allowed for those with a medical exemption or for parents providing a 'declaration of objection.'...

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23 Aug 2019 Ontario government releases updated 2019 sex-ed curriculum

Some improvements made to the curriculum, but concerns remain By André Schutten & Ed Hoogerdyk The Ontario government has released its new health and physical education curriculum. The 320-page document highlights what and when students will be taught under the following four strands: Social-Emotional Learning Skills, Active Living, Movement Competence, and Healthy Living. A good chunk of the curriculum has nothing to do with sex; instead it focuses on important topics like diet, exercise, mental health, physical safety, biological development, and online safety. These basic elements of the curriculum are uncontroversial and...

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12 Jul 2019 Pastor preaches gospel. People react. Police arrest pastor.

by André Schutten This week (July 10) pastor David Lynn appeared in court for the second time. In early June, pastor Lynn of Christ’s Forgiveness Ministries was arrested and charged with “causing a disturbance” (section 175 of the Criminal Code), held in jail overnight, and released on bail the next morning. His crime: preaching the gospel on the corner of Church and Wellesley. The Toronto Police explained in a news release at the time (image of the release copied below) that pastor Lynn’s message was “causing alarm” in the community (the Church...

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20 Jun 2019 Gender, politics, and censorship at the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Morgane Oger, Vice-President of B.C. NDP and 2017 provincial candidate in Vancouver by John Sikkema There’s a recent Human Rights Tribunal decision in B.C. you should know about. It’s about gender, religion, politics, and censorship. It’s noteworthy for how the Tribunal’s religious worldview is displayed and enforced. The decision is Whatcott v. Oger. You may have heard of Bill Whatcott and his style of public engagement, which, to put it lightly, needs improvement. But for now, let’s focus on the substance of the case – what Whatcott wrote and what the Tribunal decided. The...

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