Latest on Assisted-Suicide Law
EFC leaders presented concerns about Bill C-14, the government’s proposal to legalize assisted suicide, on the TV show 100 Huntley Street (12 min. video) and to a Parliamentary committee in writing (four-page PDF) and at a hearing (ten-minute video, jump to start time of 19:43).
On May 10 The EFC made a written submission to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.
The EFC is part of a coalition focused on conscience protection (if you watched the 100 Huntley video above you heard that mentioned). The Coalition for HealthCARE and Conscience, founded by the Christian Medical and Dental Society and several other groups, operates www.canadiansforconscience.ca, a website that enables people to write to the federal or respective provincial government.
Add Your Voice
The EFC encourages you to contact your MP to ask for strong, specific conscience protection in its assisted-suicide law, Bill C-14. Our Urgent Action page has all the information you need to prepare for this timely and important communication. It can take less than half an hour for you to make sure your MP knows your views about assisted suicide.
EFC Webinar: The Problem of Pornography
Registration is now open for the next EFC webinar, scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, 2016 and featuring Julia Beazley, EFC director of public policy. The webinar will present an overview of the problem of pornography and its connection to human trafficking. It will also explore practical ways church leaders can equip their congregations to resist and fight it. Join us to add your own contributions to the discussion and learn more on this challenging issue. Sign up today!
Videos and More on Assisted-Suicide Law
In a five-minute video interview, the EFC’s Julia Beazley summarized concerns about Bill C-14, the government's proposed new legislation on euthanasia and assisted suicide, for 100 Huntley Street. The EFC also held a joint news conference April 19 with the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, Canadian Council of Imams and representatives from the Salvation Army and Canada’s Jewish communities (see video on CPAC and joint media release). Les deux derniers sont aussi disponibles en français.
Help Protect Life: New Canada Watch
Canada Watch is the EFC’s free bi-monthly newsletter. The new April/May issue is now available. Its four short pages include “You Can Help the EFC Protect Life in Canada” and “The EFC Represents You at Global Gathering.” There’s also a word of thanks from EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger and our regular update from Parliament Hill.
Interfaith Response to Assisted-Suicide Law
The EFC joined other religious leaders to express their shared opposition and concerns regarding proposed legislation on physician-assisted dying. A news conference on Parliament Hill included the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops, the EFC, Canadian Council of Imams and representatives from the Salvation Army and Canada's Jewish communities. See their joint media release (aussi disponible en français).
Refugee Crisis: A Global Perspective
How have churches and church leadership responded to the Refugee Crisis? Missio Nexus recently held two webinars on the topic, one focused on Europe and another beyond Europe. The EFC made a presentation in this non-European webinar, as did representatives from the World Evangelical Alliance, Brazil and the United States. Read the EFC’s presentation about Canada’s response to Syrian refugees.
Human Trafficking and Pornography
The EFC’s Julia Beazley made a presentation at Equip Against Human Trafficking, May 1 in Newmarket, Ont. She discussed the impacts of pornography, how it contributes to sexual exploitation and how we can fight it. Consider inviting an EFC speaker for your group or church at theEFC.ca/speakers.
New Resource: Give Your MP the Details
Now on our website: a briefing kit to equip you and your MP to consider the issues of the new assisted-suicide laws being developed. This collection of PDF documents summarizes the EFC’s key concerns and offers relevant testimony from medical professionals and others. It also includes a summary of the EFC’s submission to the parliamentary committee, two informative EFC blog posts and the text of the Declaration Against Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide. You can use the content for background when you contact your MP, or you can share it with your MP or with others who are concerned about the issue.
Office of Religious Freedom
The EFC has released a statement expressing disappointment on the closure of Canada’s Office of Religious Freedom. Aussi disponible en français.
Parliamentary Motion to Study Effects of Violent Porn
The EFC supports a new parliamentary motion to study the negative effect on public health caused by easy access to violent pornography, and has released a sample letter Canadians can send to their MPs about it.
Letter to Justice Minister
The EFC sent a letter last week to Canada's Justice Minister urging the strictest possible safeguards if the government proceeds with legislation allowing euthanasia and assisted suicide. The letter also urges protection for the conscience of medical practitioners and institutions.
Video: Responding to Assisted Suicide Recommendations
The TV show Context With Lorna Dueck has just published a five-minute video of Julia Beazley, the EFC’s director of public policy. She responds to the 21 recommendations that a joint parliamentary committee recently presented to the Liberal government as it sets out to draft the law on medically assisted death. What does it mean for Canadians? Are the vulnerable at risk? The moderator, Karen Stiller, also wrote a blog post: Why I rushed home and finally called my Member of Parliament.
Digital Booklet Now in Print
The 64-page booklet Euthanasia + Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians continues to be available for download at theEFC.ca/EuthanasiaPalliativeGuidePDF. But you now have the option of ordering printed copies as well. It makes a great study guide for individuals or small groups. Learn more and order printed copies attheEFC.ca/EuthanasiaPalliativeGuide.
Pray for TWU
The EFC was in court in Nova Scotia, intervening in support of Trinity Western University and its fight to ensure accreditation for its proposed law school. The Nova Scotia Law Society is one of three law societies that have refused to accredit TWU. The lower court in Nova Scotia ruled in favour of TWU. Please pray for the five judges who heard the appeal case, for TWU and for healthy religious freedom in Canada.
Report on Assisted Dying
The Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying has made some deeply troubling recommendations to Parliament. The committee’s report recommends far more expansive access to assisted death than the Supreme Court decision in Carter required. The committee recommends no requirement for a terminal or physical illness to be eligible for assisted death, that individuals with a psychiatric condition or psychological suffering be eligible without psychiatric assessment, and that euthanasia and assisted suicide be made available to mature minors within three years. Read the EFC’s analysis at theEFC.ca/AssistedDyingReportAnalysis.
Response on Indigenous Rights
The EFC issued a statement in response to Call to Action #48 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Call to Action #48 invites all churches and faith groups in Canada to issue a statement by March 31, 2016 outlining how they will implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as a framework for reconciliation.
Improving Palliative Care
EFC staff met with Member of Parliament Charlie Angus about his motion on palliative care. The EFC supports motion M-46, which calls on the federal government to improve the availability of palliative care in Canada in a number of ways, including the implementation of a Pan-Canadian Palliative and End-of-Life Care Strategy. Read more at theEFC.ca/PalliativeCare.
Defending Religious Freedom
EFC President Bruce Clemenger was part of a delegation of religious leaders who met with Rona Ambrose, Leader of the Official Opposition, in advance of the vote on whether the federal government will extend the mandate of the Office of Religious Freedom (ORF). The EFC had encouraged the government to continue the good work of the ORF and its Ambassador Dr. Andrew Bennet in a February letter. The motion to extend the mandate of the ORF was defeated.
Calling Parliament to Protect Vulnerable Persons
The EFC joins disability, health and faith organizations in supporting the Vulnerable Persons Standard. The EFC is completely opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide, and our staff are working to support the strongest possible protection for vulnerable persons if the government proceeds with permissive legislation against our urging. The Vulnerable Persons Standard calls on Parliament to establish strict safeguards to protect vulnerable people in any legislation allowing physician-assisted death. It was developed by leading Canadian physicians, lawyers, ethicists and representative organizations for people with disabilities and the needs of vulnerable persons.
New EFC Submission on Assisted Suicide
The EFC made a 10-page submission to the Special Joint Committee on Physician-Assisted Dying. An excerpt: “We believe the proper response to suffering, and particularly to those who are nearing the end of life, is to respond with care and compassion, and to journey with those who are walking in the shadow of death. On the basis of our beliefs and commitment to the sanctity of human life, we are unequivocally opposed to both assisted suicide and euthanasia.” Read the full submission.
New End-of-Life Resource
Download a brand new EFC booklet to help you and your church better understand what’s at stake with physician-assisted suicide and what’s needed in the area of palliative care. Euthanasia + Palliative Care: A Guide for Canadians includes fresh articles and discussion questions plus a compilation of recent articles from the EFC magazine Faith Today.
Declaration Against Assisted Suicide
Have you added your name to the 26,000+ Canadians calling our government to protect vulnerable Canadians and improve palliative care? You can do so at euthanasiadeclaration.ca. Help us demonstrate cross-Canada support for limits to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. This declaration was developed in October by the EFC and the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (aussi disponible en français).
EFC Letter About Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim
The EFC wrote to Canada’s minister of foreign affairs regarding Rev. Hyeon Soo Lim, pastor of Light Korean Presbyterian Church in Mississauga, a man in his early 60s who was sentenced to hard labour for life and accused of subversion or “crimes against the state” by the North Korean Supreme Court in December 2015. “We will continue to pray for Canadian government officials as they work diligently to negotiate Rev. Lim’s release, and for Rev. Lim and the Lim family during this difficult time,” says part of the letter.
Letter to Ontario Consultation on Assisted Death
The EFC sent a letter Jan 13, 2016 to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario Consultation on Interim Guidance on Physician-Assisted Death.
Practical EFC Resources on Helping Refugees
How can your church sponsor refugees and best respond to the largest refugee crisis the world has seen since the Second World War? Visit theEFC.ca/RefugeeResources. There’s a new link to the Dec 2015 EFC webinar – “How Can Your Church Help Refugees?” – in which three Canadian experts address practical questions. There’s also a link to the two-page Faith Today article “How to Help a Refugee Family.” Another link goes to the helpful resources, contacts and potential partners of the Middle East Refugees Resettlement initiative, a group of EFC affiliates established in 2015. A helpful webpage worth sharing!
Letter Against Commercialization of Human Ova
The EFC wrote to the Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, expressing concern over media reports that donors of human ova are receiving payment above their expenses, contrary to the Assisted Human Reproduction Act. Read the letter at theEFC.ca/EnforcingAHRA.
No Age Limits for Assisted Suicide?
A nationwide government advisory group is making a serious mistake, argues EFC Policy Analyst Julia Beazley at theEFC.ca/blog.
Letter to Government on Prostitution Laws
The EFC asked the federal government to uphold Canada’s new prostitution laws in a Dec. 10 letter to Canada’s justice minister. The letter also calls for a few amendments and policy changes, including “the complete decriminalization of women in prostitution, … making it simple and inexpensive for those who have been exploited to have prostitution-related charges expunged from their criminal record, ... [and] continued and enhanced government investment in exit supports and services.”
Letter Supporting Toronto Christian Event
The EFC wrote a letter Dec. 9 to the board of management of Yonge-Dundas Square, which had denied a permit to a Christian group to hold its annual Christian music festival. “This group shouldn’t be excluded from the public square because of its identity as Christians or because its event includes a public expression of faith. Performing music with lyrics that praise God is not proselytism,” says the letter. The management recently announced it will now allow the festival for 2016.
Refugee Highway Partnership Meets
EFC staff from our Middle East Refugee Resettlement Initiative participated in a Refugee Highway Partnership Summit that took place Nov. 25 in Hamilton, Ont. RHP North America is a Christian network that connects and mobilizes leaders, churches and organizations to effectively engage with refugees. Also, read the news story “Evangelical Churches Stepping up to Refugee Crisis,” a post at Blog.FaithToday.ca.
Letter to Justice Minister on Assisted Suicide
The EFC wrote to the Minister of Justice urging her to hold broad, meaningful and nation-wide consultations on assisted suicide, and to request an extension on a Supreme Court February 2016 deadline to make such consultations possible.
Assisted Suicide: EFC at Federal Panel
EFC leaders appeared before the Federal Government’s Expert Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada. In the Carter decision handed down last February, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled assisted suicide should be allowed under certain circumstances and gave Parliament one year to amend the Criminal Code. The panel is to report to the Federal Government in November. Back in September, the EFC made a print submission to a similar provincial advisory group.
Letter to Justin Trudeau
The EFC sent a letter to congratulate Canada’s prime minister-designate, the Hon. Justin Trudeau, after the election. It assures him of our prayers and highlights a number of issues such as freedom of religion, refugees, children and youth in government care, poverty, human trafficking, sexual exploitation, euthanasia, palliative care and relations with Indigenous Peoples.
Letter to the Editor on Refugees / Open Letter to Party Leaders
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger sent a letter to the Ottawa Citizen highlighting how churches have a long history of “welcoming the stranger,” including refugees of other faiths. (See also the EFC’s recent open letter to the leaders of Canada’s federal political parties. “Evangelicals stand ready to not only welcome but also to sponsor refugees,” says the open letter. Both letters highlighted the EFC denominations that signed a statement of intent to demonstrate openness to sponsoring anyone in need, regardless of the refugee’s religious beliefs or affiliation.)
Don’t miss the guest blog post by Harold Jantz at theEFC.ca/blog in which he argues that Canada has accepted large numbers of refugees at crisis points in the past, and that today we should make room to accept 200,000 more.
Supporting Refugee Resettlement
Months before all the media headlines about a refugee crisis, the EFC was working behind the scenes on a collaborative approach to refugee resettlement. David Hearn, President of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, recently spoke out about the Syrian refugee crisis. He said, “It is in these dark moments of human history that the Church must take a stand and engage in helping the helpless.” The latest post at theEFC.ca/blog offers background. Find out what you and your church can do at theEFC.ca/MiddleEastRefugees.See also a recent article in ChristianWeek.
B.C. Court Case Heard
The EFC intervened in another case about a proposed law school at Trinity Western University, heard August 24 in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. This is the third province where TWU has launched legal challenges against provincial law societies which are objecting to TWU's Community Covenant and refusing to accredit the law school. See theEFC.ca/TWUlaw.
EFC Webinar: Religious Freedom
What does religious freedom mean in today’s Canada? How do we protect it in our changing culture and political landscape? What do churches, pastors and Christian organizations need to know moving ahead? Watch a recorded webinar discussion on freedom in Canada with Bruce J. Clemenger, President of the EFC.
Truth and Reconciliation
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger and Policy Analyst Julia Beazley attended the closing event meetings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Commission completed its seven-year task of hearing the testimonies of thousands of Aboriginal people who attended residential schools. The final report of the Commission was released June 2.
Limits of Public Prayer: New Commentary
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger published a commentary on the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Saguenay case. The EFC intervened in the case which asks wether there is a place for religious observance in state-sponsored events and gatherings. Read the commentary and see the EFC's other responses at theEFC.ca/Saguenay.
Responding to Sex Education Changes in Ontario
When Ontario released its new Physical Education curriculum this spring, which outlines a new sexual education component for the province’s public and Catholic schools, the EFC responded with a webpage of advice, sample letters and other resources at theEFC.ca/OntarioPE2015.
Will Ontario Enforce Prostitution Law?
EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger wrote a letter in December 2014 to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in response to comments reported in the media suggesting the Government of Ontario might not enforce Canada’s new prostitution laws over concerns about their constitutionality. Defend Dignity, an EFC affiliate, is encouraging Canadians to write our own letters to government on the issue.
Religious Persecution Affects Children
The EFC Religious Liberty Commission released a report detailing the nature and effects of religious persecution on children. This report is part of the EFC’s continuing focus on public policy issues that impact children, whose presence and vulnerability often go unnoticed. Entitled The Overlooked Demographic: A Report on the Impact of Religious Persecution on Children, the 23-page document briefly considers various ways in which children are uniquely affected by religious discrimination and persecution.
Has Your Faith Group Faced Challenges From Your Municipal Government?
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Centre for Faith and Public Life has released Zoned Out: Religious Freedom in the Municipality, an introductory guide to understanding the religious freedoms of faith groups and the engagement process when they face municipal zoning challenges. You can download the report here.