Guest blogger: Bruce J. Clemenger is President, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

With federal election 2011, we have witnessed an historic election with many firsts. 

First, a majority for the Conservative Party of Canada, a relatively new party birthed out of a desire to unite the right, and which first led the longest minority Parliament in Canadian history before achieving a majority.  

First, the NDP has emerged as the official opposition. 

First, the relegation of the Liberal Party, dominant for over a century, to third party status.  

First, the loss of official party status for the Bloc Quebecois.

And, the first election of a Green Party Member of Parliament.  

We have witnessed a significant change in federal politics and after hard fought wins and difficult losses – some winners are relatively unknown; the losers included cabinet ministers, several long serving MPs and the leaders of both the Liberal and Bloc parties. It is remarkable that, as in the past, the evening also featured gracious speeches from leaders who lost, respectful speeches about hope and compassion, and confirmation of a desire to work with others for the betterment of all from those who won.

A recurring theme of election night was respect for the expressed will of the voters, and for our democratic process. After a very divisive session of Parliament, Canadians have voted for change; for a majority government, for a different composition in the House. Canadians have also expressed a deep desire for a more civil Parliament where, as the Prime Minister said last night, differences are reconciled.

What is required is a Parliament that functions well, both in word and deed. I hope for a high level of civility among the 308 MPs, in the committees and during questions and speeches, where ideas will be debated and not shouted down, where the big issues we face as a country can be identified and discussed openly, options and proposals explored, and prudence exercised. The apostle Paul tells us those who rule, who are in authority, are God’s servants for our good. May our elected representatives know wisdom and have courage to do what is right and just. 

A key theme of the election was family, something that distinguished this election from many others. All parties agree that families are critical to the health of our society and offered proposals to help families, and to assist families do what families are to do; love, nurture and care for family members. Families must be protected and enabled to fulfill their unique task. Governments can’t do what families do and should not try. Neither in policy or practice should governments thwart the role of families or pretend to be their equal. To do so would be neither right nor just.

Governments can assist families, it cannot replace them.

Similarly with other institutions – like churches, cultural groups and other societies that offer care, companionship and community – government should not obstruct, but should enable where it can.

Congratulations to Prime Minister Harper for what he has accomplished; may God give him wisdom, courage and grace as he leads in challenging times.

Congratulations to Mr. Layton, the new Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, may he give sound advice and offer prudent alternatives. 

And congratulations to all who were elected, and thanks to all who ran. Our country is better for your service.

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