Behind the scenes with the EFC in Ottawa

01 August 2020

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If we are quiet sometimes about our work, there is a reason. In this Q and A, Julia Beazley, director of public policy for the EFC, pulls back the curtain on the EFC’s work in Ottawa.

How does the EFC select the issues we work on?

We engage on policy issues that are touched on by core biblical principles: care for the vulnerable, the sanctity of life, religious freedom, family and community, and church and mission.

The EFC supports and works toward policies that agree with or advance these biblical principles. Our goal is to promote care for those who are vulnerable, protecting and upholding the dignity of all people and respect for the sanctity of every human life.

We select issues and policy positions that we believe would be supported by our affiliates. If there is a new issue that requires our engagement, we first consult with a representative group from our affiliates to test messaging and positioning, and then communicate these back to the wider community,

How do you choose the partners we work with?

We regularly work in collaboration with other Christian organizations or other faith groups on issues of common concern. We may work in a broad coalition with other organizations toward a specific policy goal – even though we may differ with them on other policy matters.

Strategic, coordinated messaging or a statement by a broad coalition has more impact and is more likely to be heard by elected officials.

Not only is it more effective to work in a coalition, it also gives each group the opportunity to learn and benefit from another’s experience and expertise. We focus on what brings us together, recognizing that there are differences between us.

Working with partners can be hard work. It can involve the delicate work of negotiating, collaborating, finding common ground and avoiding pitfalls. It involves trust. Relationships are an essential foundation to working together and they are built over time.

Much of the EFC’s work is behind the scenes. Can you tell us about that?

There is trust when someone in a political office knows your conversations will be both helpful and kept in confidence. Establishing and keeping this trust allows us to have conversations with MPs and Senators about initiatives or concerns with a proposed bill, or to recommend stakeholders and experts who can speak to a parliamentary committee, for example. A relationship of trust allows us to meet with staff in Ministers’ offices to discuss the wording of sensitive policies, to work toward the best possible outcome.

At all times, we are looking to raise awareness and help bring about the best possible outcome, even if our participation remains quiet.

We bring constructive, accurate information to policy discussions, and it definitely takes time to research and develop that kind of response. And relationships of trust are built over time and by reputation. We’re happy we have that role in Ottawa.

What is the most important thing you want donors to know about the EFC’s public policy work?

Your support makes it possible for us to develop trusted relationships and partnerships, and to do the background work necessary to promote biblical principles in public life.

We may not be able to tell you about all the behind-the-scenes ways we’re working to advance biblical principles in a range of policy issues. Sometimes respecting trust means we are not even able to openly share successes the way we would like, but please know that we are there, working faithfully on your behalf. Know also that your support allows us to be involved in important discussions that make a difference, often behind the scenes.

How you can help

  • Let us know your questions. If you are ever wondering about the work the EFC does, or how we carry it out, please let us know. Our donors are our most important partners, and communication is key.
  • We rely on your prayers. Please include the work of the EFC in your household and church prayers. We appreciate this and also pray for you in our weekly devotion times.
  • Check in with us regularly. Our website always has updates.
Also in this issue: The EFC makes submission in Supreme Court case; Could you mail a postcard to help stop euthanasia expansion?; Updating you on Canada’s most immediate issues; Message from the president; EFC statement on racism; Hearts and hands – Insights from the work of the EFC’s Karen Stiller.