The rumours had been circulating for a while, so when the EFC heard there would be a federal election Sept. 20, we were ready to share the 2021 EFC Election Engagement Kit with Canadian Christians (www.TheEFC.ca/ElectionKit).
A common concern for churchgoers is around what churches are allowed or not allowed to do during an election campaign. Answering that question well was one of the anchor pieces of the kit. We produced an animated two-minute video that explains the do’s and don’ts for churches registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
The kit included questions voters could ask candidates on 15 key issues of concern, along with other pieces designed to help inform and equip Canadians.
The EFC also tried to generate some conversation through short videos and blogs around the topic of why to vote. As a non-partisan organization, the EFC would never tell people how to vote, but we do encourage voting as a civic duty and as a tangible way we can love our neighbours and help make our communities better.
Of course, our engagement can – and should – continue after election day is over. The EFC encourages Canadians to reach out to our communities and to engage with government officials, businesses or community leaders, as part of our Christian witness.
The EFC also offers an updated Civic Engagement Kit to help inspire and equip you to engage with elected officials (www.TheEFC.ca/CivicEngagement).
The EFC helps churches determine action during election
The EFC’s lively two-minute video detailing what churches can and cannot do during an election helped familiarize congregations with the rules governing their participation in election campaigns, if they are registered with the Canada Revenue Agency. You can still watch the video at www.TheEFC.ca/Videos.
As always, a new Canadian Parliament offers us all an opportunity to engage in a new way. The government will set out its plans and priorities in a speech from the throne soon, likely later this month.
The new Parliament is likely to act quickly on a review of the Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) law. A bill that passed last March requires a special committee of MPs and Senators to review MAiD and issues relating to mature minors, mental illness, the state of palliative care in Canada and the protection of Canadians with disabilities. A special committee was formed to begin this review last spring, but it was dissolved at the election call. A special committee is likely to be formed again quickly, and it will have one year to report back to Parliament after it begins its review.
Another issue likely to be tackled in the new Parliament is a review of the prostitution laws. A five-year review of the law is overdue. Canada’s laws on prostitution target the demand for paid sex. They recognize prostitution is inherently exploitative and dangerous. They penalize sex buyers and pimps, not those who are prostituted. The EFC supports the current laws as essential to fighting sexual exploitation in Canada.
We hope to see more positive work in Parliament to protect children and youth from the harms of online pornography. Earlier this year, the House of Commons ethics committee heard from survivors whose intimate images were posted on Pornhub without their knowledge or consent. One of the ethics committee recommendations is to verify the age and consent of anyone depicted in pornographic material before it is posted.
Also, a Senator’s private member’s bill proposed to protect children and youth from sexually explicit material which is available online for a commercial purpose. This bill, Bill S-203, passed in the Senate and was sent to the House of Commons, but died at the election call.
We encourage you to contact your new MP and take steps to develop a positive relationship. Pray for your MP. Research the issues you care about and plan to connect with your MP on them.
How you can help
- Visit www.TheEFC.ca/Citizenship to find resources like the EFC’s Civic Engagement Kit that will energize you to be more involved.
- Subscribe for free to Faith Today, a magazine published by the EFC, to connect you to Christians across Canada and inspire you to be present in your community even more.
- Keep praying. Keep giving. Your prayers and donations make this work possible. Thank you.
Also in this issue: The EFC and prayer ministry; Introducing Dave Tod, major gifts officer for Western Canada; Faith Today magazine’s Witness series; Updating you on Canada’s most immediate issues; Message from the President, Bruce J. Clemenger; Heart and hands: Insights from the work of Valerie Hunter, human resources director and executive assistant to the president; Building dialogue between Catholics and Evangelicals.