EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger

Let’s model civility and respect during the election, says EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger. Download the EFC 2015 Election Kit.

Originally published in Faith Today (Sep/Oct 2015) as “Someone is looking for your vote.”

With summer holidays behind us, it’s impossible to miss we’re in a federal election campaign. News coverage, conversations with family, friends and neighbours, lawn signs, visits from those wanting our vote – all prompt us to consider the future of Canada and our collective priorities.

Most Christians agree participating in the political process is a citizen’s duty. The Apostle Paul used his Roman citizenship in the pursuit of justice – we also exercise ours as we seek the welfare of the land where God has placed us (to paraphrase Jeremiah 29:7).

A critical issue, among the many now being debated, is how our political parties plan to respond to the Supreme Court decision to allow assisted suicide in some circumstances.

This shift is profound, since our law previously affirmed the 6th commandment (“you should not kill”). Historically both Parliament and the courts have promoted the sanctity of human life and protected the vulnerable by keeping assisted suicide illegal, even when compassionate grounds were invoked.

Now that the Supreme Court has given Parliament one year to revise the law, whichever party is elected on October 19 will have less than four months to pass legislation.

Without new legislation, Quebec will implement Bill 52 that allows medically assisted death. Other provinces may well follow suit, resulting in a patchwork quilt of different rules. Bodies such as the Canadian Medical Association will then need to develop guidelines for professionals who oversee assisted suicide.

Clearly, the longer we go without a national law, the more difficult it will be to pass one.

How each political party will approach the looming deadline – and where each candidate stands on the issue – are literally matters of life and death.

All of us also have local issues to consider. Recently in Manitoba churches led by musician Steve Bell have begun advocating for the Freedom Road, a year-round link between the Shoal Lake 40 First Nation and the Trans-Canada Highway.

A hundred years ago the building of an aqueduct for Winnipeg turned Shoal Lake 40 from a peninsula into an island. Inconsistent access during freeze and thaw causes many problems including inhibiting the construction of a water treatment plant. For 18 years the community has been under a boil water order. It spends $130,000 per year on bottled water.

Winnipeg and the province have each offered to fund a third of the cost of the road. Should the Federal Government contribute the last third? Perhaps there are other viable approaches, but certainly there is no better time than during an election to press for an answer.

Whether the issues are local or national, now is the time to ask questions and garner commitments from those who want to represent you in the House of Commons.

Helpful election kits, including fact sheets and suggested questions to ask candidates, are available from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada and other organizations. (Get the EFC 2015 Election Kit in either French or English at theEFC.ca/election.)

When probing candidates and talking election politics with our neighbours, let’s also model the civility and respect we want to see from our elected representatives.

Many of us have complained about the bitter exchanges in Parliament. Now is the time to foster an environment where substantive issues can be debated in a constructive manner. Let’s remember that the process as well as the outcomes contribute to good governance.

We should not avoid the difficult issues. In a democracy we strive together in pursuit of the public good. However, we are people of grace and truth. Let’s demonstrate and model that.

Above all let’s remember to pray for the candidates and their families during this long campaign. Whether you agree with them or their party, they have invested themselves in a process that benefits us all.

Let’s all ask God to work in the hearts and minds of all Canadians as we set the course politically for the coming years.

Bruce J. Clemenger is president of The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. Please pray for our work “Uniting Evangelicals to bless Canada in the name of Jesus.” You can follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and support us financially at theEFC.ca/donate or toll-free 1-866-302-3362.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *