Jean Chretien

Liberal Party

Pierre Trudeau

Canadian Alliance

Voting Christianly

Date: SEP25-00
Source: Email List
Keywords: vote splitting, democracy, theocracy
Comment: Following is Joel Kidd's discussion of biblical voting, and political structure. Below that are the articles he is responding to, by Rory Leishman and Ron Gray respectively.
Posted: OCT06-00
Editorials Index

Voting Christianly
Looking beyond the issues
by Joel Kidd

In a recent article, Rory Leishman argues that we should decide how to cast our vote upon one overriding issue: abortion. Basically he says, 'If he's pro-life, vote for him.' Granted, we should vote pro-life. But I believe positive change in government must come from the roots up: we must look beyond the issues - abortion, taxation, healthcare - to our political structure, to the way we do politics. If we are seeking real change, we must seek a Godly political structure. And godly political structure flows out of a Biblical understanding of political authority.

Political Authority

An angry man, baseball bat in hand, stomps into a grocery store. He starts smashing things left and right. Minutes later, the police arrive and haul him off. He is tried, found guilty, and fined.

But what right does the government have to punish this man? Who says it has that authority? Romans 13:1 gives us the answer:

"Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God."

This passage teaches us that all authority - including political authority! - comes from God: God gives the government authority to rule over the people. And here is the critical point: God appoints (delegates) His authority to them. In other words, God is in authority over rulers! What does this mean practially? This means that rulers are accountable to God for everything they do. They may not do whatever they want; they must do what God says is right, they must obey His law and make just laws. So, political authority comes from God, rulers owe respect to God, and the people owe respect to the ruler. This is the structure of Biblical political authority.

Canada was founded on, and flourished under a political structure reflecting the structure of Biblical political authority. The system is called Constitutional Monarchy. Constitutional Monarchy acknowledges that God is sovereign over the whole government, it holds the government accountable to God through the representative of the state (in Canada, the Governor General), and requires (through the constitution, the BNA) that he obey God's law. I believe Canada needs to return to it's roots and restore the Constitutional Monarchy. It's not a magic solution, but it does lay the foundation for real change.

Canada, Today and Tomorrow

In politics today, the Liberals and their ideological kin seem to believe authority comes from the fact of possessing power. As a logical outcome, they rule however they like, with only the threat of voter-backlash as a restraint. In contrast, the Alliance says political authority comes from the people, and so they'll do whatever the people say. Rejecting both Liberal and Alliance foundations of authority, the Christian Heritage Party supports the "Supremacy of God" over government. But I have yet to hear them advocate a thoroughly Biblical political authority structure. As it stands right now, Canada needs a party that is willing to say that all authority comes from God, that the ruler is accountable to God, and that he must rule according to God's law; a party that seeks to return to a godly political structure.

If we want to see real change in Canada in years to come, we must think beyond the issues - beyond abortion, taxation, healthcare, aboriginal affairs - to political structure. We must seek to return to a godly political structure. Only then can we hope to see real, lasting, positive change.

Catholic Insight, September, 2000
By Rory Leishman

Which candidate should a conscientious voter support in the next federal election? The answer depends on a single issue of overriding moral significance; namely, the shameful lack of protection in the criminal code for children in the womb.

Thanks to a disastrous ruling by our judicial masters on the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1988 Morgentaler case, Canada is the only so-called democratic country in the world where it is legal for an abortionist to kill a perfectly healthy baby at any point in a pregnancy right up to the last second before birth. That's disgraceful and disgusting. It follows that conscientious voters should aim to support the candidate who is likely to do the most to rectify such a shocking lack of regard for the sanctity of human life.

In most cases, that candidate will be the standard-bearer for the Canadian Alliance. Of course, not all candidates for the Canadian Alliance are pro-life. It's likely that in some ridings, the only candidate showing any respect for the sanctity of human life will be the representative of the Christian Heritage Party (CHP): Does it follow that pro-life voters in all of these ridings should vote for the CHP?

Not necessarily. It may be that an anti-life candidate for the Canadian Alliance stands a good chance of getting elected to Parliament, while the CHP contender is completely out of the running. In this case, prudent voters might well vote for the anti-life representative of the Canadian Alliance as a means of helping to elect a predominantly pro-life Canadian Alliance government that is committed to allowing Canadians to settle controversial moral issues such as abortion and euthanasia in binding national referendums.

The CHP is fond of pointing out that vox populi is not vox Dei. But that's not the point. It's a question of tactics. Referendums are the only likely means of curbing the abortion licence in the near future. Suppose, for example, that the horrors of partial-birth abortions are put to a vote in a national referendum. Chances are a solid majority of Canadians would choose to outlaw such an evil attack on innocent human life. And it's unlikely that either Parliament or the Supreme Court of Canada would dare to thwart such a clear expression of the popular will.

As it is, some of the most effective pro-lifers currently serving in Parliament are members of an overtly anti-life party. That's true, for example, of Tom Wappel (Liberal: Scarborough Southwest), who has been hailed by the Campaign Life Coalition (CLC) as, "one of the most outspoken pro-life MPs in Parliament, strong pro-family, pro-life record." Likewise, the CLC has lauded Elsie Wayne (Progressive Conservative: Saint John) as, "outspokenly and consistently pro-life." All such stalwart pro-lifers deserve the gratitude and continuing support of conscientious voters.

The greatest threat to some pro-life candidates is a split in the pro-life ranks. That's what happened to Garnet Bloomfield, a principled pro-lifer who ran for the Reform party in Perth Middlesex in the 1997 federal election.

Bloomfield is a long-time activist within The London and Area Right to Life Association and a former Liberal member of Parliament from 1980 to 1984. In this latter role, he distinguished himself by defying the Liberal whip and voting against the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, because, he says, "it failed to guarantee the right to life of all Canadians from conception to natural death."

The CHP also ran a candidate in Perth Middlesex in 1997. He vigorously disparaged Bloomfield throughout the election campaign for affiliating with the Reform party, but ended up with fewer than 900 of 44,500 valid votes. An anti-life Liberal won the riding, while Bloomfield finished third, fewer than 2,000 votes behind the Progressive Conservative.

Bloomfield has announced plans to run again in the next federal election for the Canadian Alliance. Let us hope the CHP has the good sense this time not to put up a candidate against him. There are bound to be ridings in which the Canadian Alliance is weak and none of the candidates for the other major parties upholds the sanctity of human life. That's where the CHP should concentrate its limited resources. It's sheer folly for the CHP to split the pro-life vote in ridings where an outstanding pro-life candidate for another party stands a good chance of winning.

Why Rory’s voting advice is dangerous
By Ron Gray

I’m a long-time fan of Rory Leishman. We’re all grateful for his pro-life stand, and we know he’s suffered professionally for it. However, his advice on “voting in the next election” (Catholic Insight, September 2000) illustrates one of the dangers of punditry: we may come to rely on our own cleverness.

There are several errors in Rory’s column. Let’s start with the simplest:

1 - He implies that the CHP caused Garnet Bloomfield’s 1997 loss in Perth-Middlesex. But Bloomfield was beaten by 2,000 votes, and the CHP only took 900. Bloomfield would have lost anyway.

2 - He accuses the CHP candidate there of “disparaging” Bloomfield. But Dr. Jamie Harris did not disparage Bloomfield. He was, however, quite properly critical of the Reform Party’s failure to take any stand on life issues.

The CHP has always been careful not to attack individuals in other parties, because some are fellow believers, and we don’t ever want to give the enemies of Christ the satisfaction of seeing Christians attack one another.

3 - Rory suggests the CHP should not run in some ridings. But what gives anyone the right to deny any Canadian the opportunity of voting for the one party that publicly acknowledges the supremacy of God? If a citizen wants to use his or her vote to honour God, who has the right to say, “No, no; you cannot do that, because it might interfere with what we want from this election”?

Strange ideas for a fan of a party which speaks so much about democracy! Saying that one option should be excluded is anti-democratic. This is why I have warned the Alliance (and all Canadians):

“If you make democracy your god, you’ll wind up with neither God nor democracy.”

4 - Rory says referenda are “the only likely means” of curbing abortion. But what about God?

Besides, Rory misunderstands Alliance policy. (Not surprising: they change what they says to suit the audience!) CBC Radio in Ottawa asked Mr. Day what he would do about abortion if he were Prime Minister. His answer: “An Alliance government led by Stockwell Day would not raise the issue unless forced to do so by a referendum in response to a citizen initiative.”

But there’s no framework in our Constitution for “citizen initiatives” — so that’s a recipe for doing nothing! Besides, 50%-plus-one can never change God’s decree that abortion is an abomination!

5 - Rory says, “The CHP is fond of saying vox populi is not vox Dei.”; then adds, “But that’s not the point. It’s a matter of tactics."

Tactics were what the Midianites had; Gideon had the help of God. Who would choose mere human tactics over Divine aid?

There’s the crux of his errors: his voting recommendations are based on his guesstimate of the probable outcome. Vote Alliance, he says, even if the candidate is pro-abortion, because media "experts" say CHP "has no chance."

Chance? Who said the universe is run by chance?

If Canadians don’t honour God, He - the One who raises up and puts down governments - may very well decide to smite us with another Liberal regime... and keep inflicting them on us until we do give Him the glory that is His due.

God doesn’t sit in Heaven, wringing His hands and saying, "Oh, what’ll I do? The Alliance may lose!" God could eliminate abortion with a snap of His fingers. But He seeks our obedience. And the First Commandment is the place to start.

If we honoured God, Canada would be blessed beyond anything we can imagine. But if we fail to honour Him, we could elect 301 Alliance candidates - or 301 CHP candidates, for that matter - and the nation would continue to deteriorate.

Without Him, we can do nothing. Read John 15:5.

The answer to Canada’s social and economic decay isn’t in any political party. It’s in Jesus Christ. But only one political party is committed to honouring Him in the public life of this nation.

That’s reason enough for all pro-Lifers, including Rory Leishman, to support the CHP.

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