Monday, January 02, 2006

Religious Liberty Issues and Your Candidate in the Canadian Federal Election

It is election time once again here in Canada. On Monday, January 23 the voters of this great country will choose a government to act on their behalf. It behoves us to make sure that we vote for those who best represent our interests and values. As Christians, we cannot separate our lives into secular and spiritual compartments and still be faithful to the Lordship of Christ in all of life. Hence, we at The Voice of the Martyrs encourage you to exercise your responsibility as a Christian and as a Canadian by voting, wisely and prayerfully.

As a charitable organization, The Voice of the Martyrs is restricted in how involved we can become in the electoral process. For example, like all charities (including churches), we cannot invite candidates to speak at VOMC-sponsored events unless all candidates in a riding are invited to speak at the same event or service. We cannot promote or oppose one candidate or political party or post signs for a candidate or political party on our property. We cannot publicly endorse a candidate or party or distribute literature for one candidate or party. Nor can we link our views on issues of concern like religious liberty issues with those of a particular party or candidate. We cannot highlight or publish how one particular party or candidate voted on a given issue. We cannot encourage you to vote for a particular candidate or party.

We can, however, encourage you to get know the candidates who are running in your reading and to ask them about religious liberty issues that concern you. Issues such as:

1. The inclusion of sexual orientation in the hate propagation legislation (C-250) and the redefining of marriage to include same-sex couples (C-38). Candidates should be asked about where they stand on the protection of the religious freedom of those who do not support same-sex marriages and those who wish to speak, teach or publish on the subject of homosexuality from a biblical perspective.

2. The increasing of aid to and trade with religiously restrictive nations. Of particular concern is the sale of surveillance equipment and other technology by Canadian companies that can be used to suppress freedom of speech and religious expression. International aid to such repressive regimes should also be linked to improvements in higher education, basic civil liberties, human rights and freedom of expression, including religious and press freedom.

3. Religious persecution and Canadian foreign affairs. In April 2005, the government released its International Policy Statement which articulated a vision for Canada's role in the world. Religious persecution was not even mentioned in the document, even though it is a vitally important part of international human rights. Candidates should be asked how they believe Canada should address issues of religious persecution internationally.

Of course, there are other issues that should concern Canadian Christians as they prepare to go to the polls. But these ones should not be neglected. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada has developed an election kit for churches and individuals that is available online at

You can have an influence in the coming government. Make your concerns known. It is your right and your duty.

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