Fundamental Freedoms

28 Jul 2021 A Win for Freedom of Expression in British Columbia

  In December 2017, Grace Chapel booked a venue owned by the city of New Westminster to hold a youth conference. The theme, drawn from Romans 3:14, was “Let God Be True” or “LGBT.” Their posters used this theme surrounded by rainbow colouring and understandably drew the notice of a member of the public who emailed the city concerned that they were hosting an anti-LGBTQ event. The day after receiving the email, the city cancelled just one month prior to the event. In response, Grace Chapel asked the BC courts to review...

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08 Jul 2021 God’s Care

By Ed Hoogerdyk   I love Manitoba. Of course, I’m biased. I lived there for four years. My wife grew up there. Many in her family still live there. If you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to visit. There’s more to Manitoba than skeeters, winter, and the Jets. And if you check out the Reformed Churches in the area, you’ll love the people. Friendly Manitobans. Hard-working folks with a heart for service and community. But their strong sense of community was rocked recently because of a tragic accident affecting so many...

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26 May 2021 Supreme Court Affirms the Exclusive Jurisdiction of the Church over Doctrinal and Membership Questions

On Friday, May 21, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church et al. v. Aga et al. The unanimous decision is a resounding victory for the authority and autonomy of the church over questions of doctrine and membership. Thank the Lord for this positive development! This case was appealed to the Supreme Court after the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled unanimously that the civil courts could adjudicate a dispute between several former members* and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church regarding their membership status and...

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21 May 2021 Freedom of Expression and the Regulation of Social Media through Bill C-10

By André Schutten   Last fall, the federal government introduced Bill C-10, a bill that – if passed – will amend the Broadcasting Act for the first time since 1991 in order to expand the regulatory powers of the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) over the internet. In the last month or so, the number of critics has increased, as has the vociferousness of their opposition to the bill. When Bill C-10 was first introduced, we did an initial analysis and found that, while there were aspects of the bill that concerned...

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19 May 2021 Understanding Section 1 of the Charter

  Legal challenges to Covid-19 gathering restrictions are happening across the country. Whether it’s a percentage cap on worship, only allowing for a small group, or a total prohibition, churches have turned to the courts to challenge the constitutionality of a government response that limits citizens’ ability to gather in worship. The churches in these cases argue that the restrictions are not in accordance with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, our highest law.  Included in Charter section 2(a) is the freedom of religion, which our Supreme Court has said includes...

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21 Apr 2021 Let the Church be the Church Campaign

It’s been over 13 months since the first Covid-19 restrictions were enacted across Canada. Since then, ARPA has launched targeted campaigns in British Columbia and Ontario and encouraged Reformed Christians in all provinces to use emails, phone calls, petitions, letters to the editor, and social media to ask their provincial leaders to allow church leadership to make the decision on how Christians can safely gather for corporate worship. We argued that corporate worship is an essential activity and that these restrictions are unconstitutional. At various times and places, we have pointed out that the...

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20 Apr 2021 Bill C-268: Protection of Freedom of Conscience Act

Since the legalization of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) in 2016, there has been little effort to protect the consciences of those who refuse to participate in providing MAiD. The recent euthanasia legislation has increased access to MAiD, and doctors will increasingly run into conscientious problems with patient requests for MAiD. Currently, the province of Manitoba is the only province that specifically protects the conscience rights of physicians. Under Manitoba’s legislation, medical professionals can refuse to participate in MAiD if it violates their personal convictions. They cannot be required to provide...

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14 Apr 2021 ARPA Submits Recommendations for Freedom of Conscience for Ontario Physicians

Freedom of conscience is an issue that is increasingly at stake in our society. While freedom of conscience has a role in many areas of life, one specific area is in the medical field. In light of legalized and recently expanded access to euthanasia, doctors are at risk of being forced to participate in providing euthanasia to patients, whether directly or indirectly, even if their consciences do not permit it. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario (CPSO) is requesting feedback on their policy and guidelines for Ontario physicians regarding...

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22 Mar 2021 Conservative Convention Debrief

Last week, the Conservative Party of Canada held its bi-annual policy convention. Due to COVID-19 gathering restrictions, this convention was held virtually, enabling a record number of delegates to attend this year. Conventions are opportunities for members of political parties to come together, build the party, and prepare for the next election. At this virtual convention, delegates participated in campaign training, watched Conservative leader Erin O’Toole outline the party’s post-COVID-19 recovery plan, voted for national councillors (who help run and direct the party), voted on changes to the party constitution, and,...

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20 Mar 2021 College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Consultation

The CPSO is the regulatory body for all medical professionals in Ontario. Physicians are required to register with the CPSO, who will then monitor quality of care and investigate and discipline any doctors who do not follow professional conduct as described in the various policies. Regarding Medical Assistance in Dying, the CPSO has no authority over the existing legislation or changes to it – this would fall to Federal and Provincial legislatures, or to the courts. However, the CPSO does have jurisdiction over the policies given to doctors regarding how...

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