News

24 Jun 2020 Counting the Cost of COVID Part II: Comparing to Past Crises

Updated July 8, 2020 by Levi Minderhoud In the first blog post in this series, I delved into the wisdom and morality of government debts, deficits, and aid from a Christian perspective. I concluded that incurring debt is often unwise and sometimes even immoral, but as long as the government has the ability to repay their debt, and the norm is a balanced budget, debt can justifiably be incurred. The Bible also teaches that individuals, families, and churches – not just governments – have significant roles to play in assisting the financially...

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23 Jun 2020 The Importance of Partisan Political Activity

by Levi Minderhoud *As ARPA’s British Columbia Manager, I’m going to discuss involvement in party politics in the British Columbian context, but the same principles apply anywhere in Canada.   Since its inception, ARPA Canada has chosen to be non-partisan. This allows ARPA as an organization to better engage with elected officials regardless of their partisan colour. But we certainly encourage you to be partisan. Being a member of a political party does not give you extra responsibilities within that political party. It does not take much time or money. It doesn’t even mean that...

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19 Jun 2020 Churches as unifiers should not be penalized for their effective contact tracing

By pastor Gerrit Bruintjes and André Schutten For the past month, many religious leaders have been calling on the Ontario government to ease its total ban on corporate worship services. On June 12th, the Ford government issued an executive order permitting religious ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, at 30% building capacity. In our current context amidst social unrest and uncertainty, this is a good decision not only because the Charter of Rights demands this response, but also because churches unify diverse people and can trace contacts well. In the last few weeks,...

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18 Jun 2020 BC Cuts Funding to Independent Distributed Learning Schools

Updated July 14, 2020 by Levi Minderhoud The year 2020 seems to be a year of almost unlimited government spending. The federal government (as of July 8) announced that its deficit would be $343 billion this year. The government of British Columbia is also spending $5 billion on a variety of COVID-related measures. The dominant view among policymakers and economists is that government should spend, spend, spend to avoid an even deeper recession. But, apparently that fund-everything-in-sight logic doesn’t apply to independent distributed learning (IDL) schools in British Columbia. On May 4th, the...

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17 Jun 2020 Counting the Cost of COVID Part I: A Christian Introduction

by Levi Minderhoud  Months after governments declared public health emergencies, COVID still dominates headlines and lifestyles. We at ARPA have tried to respectfully explain the essential nature of worship services and urge respect for fundamental freedoms. We’ve also evaluated the impact of government policies on long-term-care residents and workers. But there is another piece of the COVID puzzle that Christians must address: its monetary cost to our government and country. This blog post initiates a four-part series on the monetary cost of the “COVID Crisis.” This first post aims to articulate a...

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16 Jun 2020 Smithers Residents Launch Letter-Writing Campaign to Town Council

by Levi Minderhoud You are ARPA. ARPA is you. This tagline from ARPA’s intro video means that ARPA isn’t just made up of the staff members who work full-time for the organization. ARPA, fundamentally, is a grassroots network of people who take political action to bring a Biblical perspective to our civil authorities. ARPA members and supporters in Smithers last week demonstrated what effective political action looks like. A few years ago, the town of Smithers agreed to install a rainbow crosswalk to promote the LGBTQ cause. At the time, local ARPA supporters and...

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03 Jun 2020 Canada’s lack of strategy in targeting COVID-19 led to unnecessary crisis in long-term care homes

By Anna Nienhuis Long-term care facilities house some of our society’s most vulnerable: those who need help eating, using the bathroom, or simply turning over in bed. The fact that some of our elders are facing neglect and abuse from those meant to care for them incites justifiable outrage. We need to ask what can be done to improve long-term care and assisted living. But we also need to ask how our governments’ (federal, provincial, and municipal) responses to COVID-19 contributed to this. Long-term care homes were known to be high risk Outbreaks...

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03 Jun 2020 As COVID restrictions drag on, the civil government needs guidance from the instituted church

By André Schutten I’m always moved when I read the introduction to the Belgic Confession in the Book of Praise. It explains that a copy of the Belgic Confession was sent to the persecuting King Philip II, with a letter from a group of petitioners who “declared that they were ready to obey the government in all lawful things, but that they would ‘offer their backs to stripes, their tongues to knives, their mouths to gags, and their whole bodies to fire,’ rather than deny the truth expressed in the Confession.”...

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02 Jun 2020 Funding for Victims of Human Trafficking Quietly Removed during COVID-19

  In the midst of the 2020 COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian federal government has quietly removed funding for several programs that work with sex trafficking survivors. The London Abused Women's Center released a press release on May 12th announcing that federal funding for their organization and others had been eliminated. Here is a portion of what they released: After waiting for months and repeatedly contacting the Justice Department, organizations across Canada providing long-term support to trafficked, prostituted and sexually exploited women and girls discovered their funding proposals submitted to the Justice Department...

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02 Jun 2020 Still glorious and free? The duty of each Christian to stand on guard for freedom in an age of unprecedented lock-down

By André Schutten The chorus in our national anthem is a prayer: God keep our land glorious and free. O Canada we stand on guard for thee. So, what does that mean practically? Christians take prayer very seriously. It is the most important part of our thankfulness to God (Lord’s Day 45, Heidelberg Catechism). James teaches us that it’s no good to pray for the hungry and poor if we ourselves don’t also help the hungry and the poor (James 2:14-26). How does God answer our prayer to feed the hungry?...

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