Author: Daniel Kanis

26 May 2016 ARPA Presentation Sparks Bill C-14 Amendments

Parliament nears a final decision on legalizing physician-assisted suicide through Bill C-14. The bill has evolved since its original draft and there is evidence that the Justice and Human Right Committee, after several days of listening to witnesses and analyzing proposed amendments, has made some small steps towards mitigating some of the harm in this bill. Pieter Harsevoort, Along with James Schutten and Andre Schutten Presenting to the Justice Committee ARPA Canada was one of the very few witnesses privileged to present to the Justice and Human Rights Committee on May 3. André Schutten, legal counsel for ARPA, alongside with two men who suffer from spinal muscular atrophy, James Schutten and Pieter Harsevoort, spoke to the committee about their concerns with the proposed bill. After delivering individual speeches, and answering some questions prompted by the attending MPs, the meeting concluded with an air of uncertainty as to whether the presentation would have a lasting impact on the attending members. Between May 9 and May 11, the multi-partisan Justice and Human Rights Committee analyzed, debated and voted on approximately 100 proposed amendments, with over half of them coming from the Conservatives. As a result, only 16 amendments were passed, creating some minor changes to Bill C-14. In particular, much of the changes were related to clarifying the intent of the bill and ensuring that its contents cannot be interpreted contrary to the framer’s intent or the intent set out in the Carter decision.
Read More

25 May 2016 Living with dignity and courage in the face of bias – Hamilton Spectator

The following article was published in the Hamilton Spectator on May 24th. It was written by Pieter Harsevoort and James Schutten, after they presented with ARPA Canada to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Because legalized euthanasia and assisted suicide will most directly affect people with severe disabilities, as James and Pieter have, Canadians – lawmakers in particular – must listen to their story. Here is their perspective: Hamilton Spectator - May 24, 2016 As two individuals living with severe disabilities due to spinal muscular atrophy, the...

Read More

20 May 2016 51st Annual National Prayer Breakfast

ARPA Canada’s Ottawa staff were pleased and honoured to attend the  51st National Prayer Breakfast. This annual event brings together politicians, political activists, religious leaders, and observers to worship Christ in solidarity and to acknowledge His sovereign control over Canada. The event is led by several MPs and Senators that meet on a weekly basis for a Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast Group. Such meetings are meant to enrich and comfort these Christian political leaders through the many difficulties and discouragements which come along with their office. This year, the breakfast was well attended by some of Canada’s most important political figures including Prime Minister Trudeau, Leader of the Opposition Rona Ambrose, and Daniel Blaikie, an NDP Member of Parliament. These three were invited to read passages from the Bible. Prime Minister Trudeau read from Romans 12 which in verse three says, “I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” (Ms. Ambrose read from 1 Corinthians 13 and Mr. Blaikie read from Isaiah.)
Read More

19 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: A call to action

The last session of God & Government 2016 was not simply a wrap up and a goodbye; with so much Executive director Mark Penninga encourages delegates at the closing reception of God & Government 2016 at stake, that simply wouldn’t be enough. On the eve of the March for Life, and as some of the delegates headed home, Executive Director Mark Penninga and Grassroots Director Colin Postma addressed them with a passionate call to action. Penninga reminded the crowd of how much they’d accomplished during the conference alone; over 50 meetings with MPs and Senators, demonstrating with 6890 baby booties on the Parliament Hill lawn, and taking in a number of informative and educational presentations. What was next? Would it be enough to go home, filled with interesting facts and good stories to tell? No, it was now time to take real action! Penninga reminded the crowd of what the grassroots had already done, leading up to God & Government 2016; they had seen a former local ARPA board member, Arnold Viersen, elected as member for Peace-River Westlock; they saw a stunning flag display on Parliament Hill, commemorating 100,000 aborted babies and resulting in smaller local displays over the next year and a half, and they saw interventions in key Supreme Court cases by ARPA’s legal team. Penninga urged the delegates not to return home an act, as John Piper called it, like “practical atheists”; men and women who may support certain beliefs, but do not let those beliefs motivate them take action.
Read More
Dr. Boot speaks in Ottawa on the death of man and the crisis of social order at the Tuesday God & Government banquet

19 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: Dr. Boot on The death of man and the crisis of social order

Tuesday evening, after a long day of presentations and meetings with members of Parliament, ARPA Dr. Boot speaks in Ottawa on the death of man and the crisis of social order at the Tuesday God & Government banquet delegates were treated to a delectable dinner at the Sheraton hotel. The evening banquet was centred around an address from the Reverend Dr. Joe Boot, senior pastor of the Westminster Chapel in Toronto, founder of the Ezra Institute for Contemporary Christianity, and eminent Christian apologist. Dr. Boot addressed the breakdown of culture stemming from the rejection of God. He began by defining the identity of mankind; they were created and placed in the Garden as image bearers of God, and it is in this lens alone that they find the fullness of their identity. Man can only be understood relative to God, as His creation and His image bearers. Recognizing that he is not God, man ought accept his limitations in this world; however, this is not what we see today. The average man has lost sight of God, and denied any higher ideal than himself. This blindness has become meaninglessness; humanity has become dispensable, depersonalized, and adrift. Dr. Boot quoted lyrics from Sting, where the artist was left only with romance as a way of finding meaning: You could say I lost my faith in science and progress You could say I lost my belief in the holy church You could say I lost my sense of direction You could say all of this and worse but If I ever lose my faith in you There'd be nothing left for me to do  
Read More
Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation speaks to God & Government delegates

18 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: Taking on Goliath with Jordan Bateman

Does the prospect of swimming against the political tide in Canada intimidate you? Have you ever Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation speaks to God & Government delegates felt like the metaphorical David, armed with little power and few resources, facing the Goliath of secular culture and its many allies? Many attendees at God & Government 2016 have undoubtedly felt like this during at least some point in their political activism. On Wednesday morning, God & Government attendees were privileged and encouraged to hear Jordan Bateman of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) tell the story of their “David and Goliath” victory over a proposed transit tax in the Vancouver municipality. Translink, Vancouver’s regional transportation authority, receives 1.4B in municipal taxes, and in 2014 they wanted more. Jordan Bateman, in his work with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, had already exposed TransLink as a wasteful organization, documenting their excesses, inefficiencies, and inability manage money; his work had made the TransLink brand toxic. As a result, Premier Christy Clark had declared in her 2013 campaign that a re-elected Liberal government would not allow any new municipal taxes without a referendum.
Read More

13 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: Ada Slivinski on Digital Communications and Social Media

Political action in the 21st century involves engaging through social media and the online world. No longer just an optional, alternative way of reaching out to certain demographics, social media reaches across age groups and income levels and is used by individuals, businesses, news media, and community organizations. For the ARPA grassroots, improving social media outreach skills is one part of becoming more effective and engaged activists. On Wednesday morning, one of the three breakout sessions available to delegates was hosted by Ada Slivinski, a communications consultant and social media expert. According to Slivinski, social media is an extension of who we are in real life. When this is forgotten, the result looks a lot like the comments section of online newspapers - nasty, rude, and ignorant, hidden behind a veil of anonymity. We should talk on social media as we would in real life, with decorum and reasonable debate. What we present on Facebook or Twitter is intended to paint us in the best possible light, yet it is important to remain authentic and real to our audience.
Read More

11 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: MP Panel

Over a delicious lunch, ARPA delegates were privileged to hear from a panel of newly-elected Christian MPs. Arnold Viersen, Cathay Wagantall, and Garnett Genuis spoke about their journeys in both faith and politics, and addressed how these two aspects of their lives coincide and influence their personal and political paths. Mr. Arnold Viersen, hailing from the riding of Peace River-Westlock in Alberta, spoke about his unique path from working as a mechanic to becoming federal member of Parliament. Motivated by involvement in his local ARPA chapter, Mr. Viersen attended God and Government 2014 as a delegate from Alberta. Intrigued by the possibility of running in the new riding that was being created in his home area, he met with sitting MPs to explore his options and find out what it would take to win. He took the advice he received seriously and began selling memberships in the new riding; he went on to win the nomination by 21 votes.
Read More
Daniel Gilman speaking at GG16

11 May 2016 GG16 Spotlight: Daniel Gilman on Pornography

How would you react if someone told you that 15% of boys and 9% of girls in Canada had seen child pornography? 32% of boys and 18% of girls had seen online bestiality? 39% of boys and 23% of girls had seen sexual bondage? This is no dystopian fiction. ARPA delegates heard these alarming statistics in a somber but passionate presentation on Prostitution and Pornography on Tuesday morning. Daniel Gilman, a social justice activist, pastor, and speaker with Strength to Fight, outlined how porn has infiltrated the hearts and minds of Canadians and and left extensive damage in its wake. Gilman began with a chilling true story of how a university student, needing money, agreed to be featured in an adult magazine. Instead of the simple photo-shoot she agreed to, she was drugged and raped on camera, and the pornographic footage was used as blackmail to keep her silent. Years later, finally free from her abusers, a young man told her how much he enjoyed watching her porn shoots, specifically remembering that first, on-camera rape.
Read More

07 May 2016 Os Guinness: Forum on Religious Freedom

The 5th Annual Parliamentary Forum on Religious Freedom was hosted by David Anderson, MP for the riding of Cypress Hills-Grasslands in Saskatchewan. The forum seeks to educate attendees on the importance of protecting religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Every year, Mr. Anderson brings in several speakers who have long advocated for religious freedom in the world. This year, the keynote speaker was Dr. Os Guinness, an International Adjunct Speaker with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries. Dr. Os Guinness speaking to the crowd on religious freedom in Canada and abroad. Dr. Guinness began with highlighting the reality that in today’s increasingly globalized world, “everyone is everywhere.” This is not simply because the world is becoming vastly multicultural, but also because in the current “internet age,” the public square, in which opinions and ideas disseminate between individuals, now exists through online forums and blogs, allowing for “barbarous debate,” protected by anonymity. This leads into what Dr. Guinness believes is the underlying issue for protecting religious freedom. How do we approach a society which has so many different views and contrasting conceptualizations of what religious freedom is?
Read More