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News

Christian healthcare workers taking province to court over vaccinations

In the fall of 2021, Hilary Vandergugten was working as a charge nurse in the emergency department of a hospital in the Fraser Valley when British Columbia (BC) health authorities ordered all healthcare workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. Vandergugten wasn’t willing, and like many in her position, lost her job. Two-and-half years later, Vandergugten is still unable to work as a nurse in BC. She can, however, practice just south of the border in the US.

“There is an obvious nursing shortage and doctor shortage in our province, but seems to completely ignore that,” said Vandergugten. The BC Ministry of Health reports that almost 2,500 healthcare workers lost their jobs after refusing to get vaccinated, and that doesn’t take into account healthcare workers who opted for early retirement, so the loss of healthcare workers could be quite a bit higher.

When Vandergugten refused to get vaccinated she was initially ordered to go on unpaid leave on Oct. 26, 2021. While on leave, Vandergugten went to her family doctor to get lab work done to prove that she had immunity from the virus, as she had already had COVID-19. However, her lab work was not accepted, and on Feb. 3, 2022, Vandergugten was officially terminated from her position at Langley Hospital.

Challenging the courts 

During this time of uncertainty, Vandergugten started meeting with “the Ark,” a fellowship of Christian healthcare workers who also lost their jobs due to vaccine orders. This fellowship joined a judicial court challenge started by doctors who had lost their privileges to practice in any hospital or government owned clinics.

“We as nurses started to get together in the Lower Mainland here in Greater Vancouver, just a bunch of Christian nurses that had all found each other in this process. We just started getting together, supporting each other and praying and then became involved with this court challenge.”

During this time, Vandergugten said that many court challenge opportunities came up, whether it be suing the union or the health authority. Yet, she says none of them aligned with the group's Christian values. They then were asked to join a case that resonated with them, challenging Dr. Bonnie Henry, BC’s provincial health officer, stating that her mandates were extreme and that she overused her emergency powers. Vandergugten’s name was put on the affidavit, the legal document that served as the evidence for the case.

The courts heard their case for judicial review in November and December of 2023, and they are currently waiting to hear a decision. The decision date was set for the end of February, but they now understand that the courts can delay until the end of June. Vandergugten notes:

“Lots of people at church are asking about it and praying for a favorable ruling. I will say to them, ‘You know what, if there is an extension that also is in God's timing and God's timing is perfect.’”

Winning the case wouldn't automatically reinstate their jobs right away, but it could set a precedent for going forward with challenging their jobs.

“There's still a battle that we need to win. This is just one case. For us to actually get our jobs back and be reinstated to the jobs that we were in, is still a far way off.”

Crazy anti-vaxxer 

Vandergugten says that for her, the decision to not get vaccinated was not what the mainstream media deemed as “crazy anti-vaxxers.” Prior to the vaccine, she worked for months in the emergency department at the peak of the pandemic. Once the vaccine came out, Vandergugten started seeing a rise in what she wondered were potential vaccine injuries. “Working on the frontline in the emergency department, there was an increase of early miscarriages and vascular injuries, strokes or blood clots or macular eye injuries. I knew that right away, that's a vaccine injury.”

She says that it was disheartening to see this up close, especially when she felt any sort of disposition would mark you as a conspiracy theorist.

“It’s hard to sort out actually. It’s hard to validate for yourself, when you see what's happening in front of you daily at work, and try to have conversations with colleagues who refused to engage. People accused me that I was being crazy and making stuff up.”

Spiritual and relational growth in times of grief 

Hilary and her husband Sprout.

As challenging as this time has been, Vandergugten has found peace through solely relying on Christ.

“It has been very beautiful, right? Like, you rely daily, you know, for emotional support, for spiritual support that He will heal those holes, but also that will open my eyes to others that are hurting, right?”

She says that one of the greatest gifts to come out of this has been the connections made with other Christian healthcare workers through “the Ark” group. In addition to praying for each other, they have created work opportunities. No longer able to work in care homes because of their vaccine status, many people will reach out to “the Ark” group to find home care jobs for those who lost their jobs. She said some people will ask for unvaccinated nurses to take care of their loved ones instead of sending them to a nursing home.

“This has been an unbelievably beautiful gift of just strong Christian women, not all of the Reformed faith – there are Mennonites and Pentecostals. But it’s just this beautiful gift from God that we can be together and pray for each other and encourage each other. And all of us have said our faith has become so much stronger.”

In addition to her spiritual growth, Vandergugten says that this adversity has strengthened her marriage. She is grateful for her husband's support in leading her family through this difficult time, and for his ability to defend and protect her. She mentioned how she didn’t have the “traditional” type of marriage – she had always worked even if only part-time. This led her to let go and let her husband lead. “My marriage has become stronger because of it. It has been beautiful for our marriage, defending his wife repeatedly. My husband has this line, saying the collateral damage of COVID has been beautiful.”

Times of uncertainty lead to new opportunities 

Once Vandergugten and her sisters, also nurses, were fired, they thought they would prepare for the long haul so, they began the process of studying to get their American licenses. They have since passed these examinations and now have the ability to work south of the border.  “We wrote our NCLEXs and got our American licenses. I actually work in Washington State, which is about an hour and 15 minutes from my home.”

To continue to hold a nursing license, a nurse needs to maintain a certain amount of hours. Vandergugten is grateful to be able to continue getting hours, because if BC health authorities do ever open up the restrictions for unvaccinated nurses, she’ll be able to return. She fears others will be ineligible to practice due to a lack of hours.

Although this work is a blessing, at times, Vandergugten also finds it painful. “It's beautiful that I'm able to work there, that I'm able to be back doing what I love to do and have done for 28 years,” she said. “It's just painful that I have to cross the border and leave our healthcare system, with it being so short of so many nurses.”

Why bother?

Vandergugten says that she received some pushback from others questioning why she would even fight something like this. She says that we still live in a country with a democratic judicial system so we should exercise our rights.

“We actually still live in a democracy, you've got elected people, who are making laws and rulings that affect the people, the common people like us, and then we have a judicial system that holds the elected people accountable,” she said. “We need to continue to honor this process and use it because otherwise we are not in a democratic society and I'm not acting like a citizen of a democracy, rather, I'm acting like I'm a subservient part of a totalitarian government. Right? And those are some of those fundamental freedoms that people forget. We shouldn't be afraid to exercise that.”

News

BC says goodbye to phones in school

Last month, the Premier of British Columbia, David Eby, announced that schools must implement restrictions on cellphones. It would be up to local districts to decide how these restrictions would be enforced, but Eby stated that the expectation is to remove phones from the classroom. One exception would be cases where students with disabilities require them as part of an accommodation. Additionally, the government plans to launch two new services, one to help people remove explicit images of themselves from the internet, and the other to help victims pursue online predators for damages. Legislation is also planned to hold social media companies accountable for online harms. This means that the government could take legal action against major companies like Facebook for harms to individuals they may have had a role in. These changes come in the wake of the tragic suicide of Carson Cleland, a 12-year-old BC boy who fell victim to a sextortion scheme in October 2023. Sextortion is when an online predator tricks someone into sending nude images of themselves. Then the predator usually asks for money or for more explicit images. If the victim won’t comply then the predator will threaten to share these images with the victim’s friends or family. Parents must remain their children’s first line of protection, but the pervasiveness of social media, and its negative impact on children, has gotten to the point where even proponents for smaller government, like Christian commentator John Stonestreet, are calling on the State to enact legislation to address these issues....

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 17, 2024

Failing at failure? This could be a great way to bring up an important conversation with our kids. The fear of failure stops many children from trying new and hard things. God gave them talents, and if they are going to develop those skills (and not bury them - Matthew 25:14-30) our children will need to push their limits. That might mean running so hard they start tripping, stumbling, and even eating some dirt. They need to know there is such a thing as God-glorifying failure... but not God-glorifying cowardice. Marriage makes men better Though he doesn't acknowledge God, this evolutionist has discovered that God's plan for the family – marriage – works best, reining in men's antisocial behaviors. There is a really great metaphor here, too, about our rational self being a rider trying to control an elephant that represents our impulses. Those impulses – or, in Christian terms, sinful desires – can be easier or harder to control depending on where we take them. So, for example, a rider troubled by alcohol shouldn't "take his elephant" into a bar. To extend this to the family realm, a dad or mom trying to deal with a kid that pushes their buttons shouldn't indulge in watching the late show – they'll have to put their elephant to bed early each night to better enable them to be calm and controlled. The Swiss Family Robinson: a return to the classics Jonathon Van Maren makes a plug for this great book. Parents, if you get your kids a copy, be sure you get an attractive one: a great cover, good font, and a few illustrations thrown in here and there can really help by making a classic so much more appealing. G.K. Chesterton on AI If you want to understand AI, then who better to ask than someone born two hundred years before it was invented? This is a good one! And for an in-depth dive check out what's on offer at Creation.com. The most bizarre experience of my life When theologian E. Calvin Beisner was invited to do an interview about climate change, he never expected to be interviewed by a clown. Who knows how this will end, but some people certainly are desperate to try to make Christians look bad. "He Gets Us" takes a big "L" in the Super Bowl Among the Super Bowl commercials last week were two to promote the "He Gets Us" evangelistic campaign. Many Christians have defended them as "pre-evangelism" – sure, they didn't hint at the Good News, but they did tell people that Jesus gets them. That's a start, right? There's some truth to that – they had a minute, and if you had just a minute would you be able to present the whole of the Gospel to someone? To say it another way, an incomplete message isn't wrong... it just needs more. But the problem comes when we say the easy part and stop. And a lot of "churches" are content with just telling folks that Jesus gets them. But they don't want to offend anyone. Telling people they need to repent? Jesus as Saviour is offensive indeed. Now someone has shown how it is possible, in just a minute, to tell people quite a lot about Jesus and their need for a Saviour. And Ray Comfort gives his own version here. ...

News

Saturday Selections – Feb. 10, 2024

Click on the titles below to go to the linked articles... Remy: Look what you made me do A serious point can be had from this goofy parody of a Taylor Swift song. Both the original and this version are about denying responsibility, though Taylor was denying her own responsibility and this time it's about criminals and the State denying their responsibilities. Our governments have inserted themselves into most aspects of life – healthcare, childcare, education, agriculture, tourism, job creation, arts, entertainment, recreation, media, and more – but how are they doing with their actual God-given responsibility to bear the sword to punish evildoers (Romans 13:4) and rescue the oppressed (Ps. 72:12-14)? What does it mean to tell your spouse, "I love you"? As Valentine's Day approaches, the world has one definition of love to pitch us, and the Bible has quite another. Doctors admit puberty blockers aren't reversible With Alberta's Premier Danielle Smith facing heat for banning puberty-blocking hormones for children 15 and under, this article couldn't be better timed. Be sure to share this one widely, especially if you live in Alberta. In related news, even the New York Times is willing to admit that transgender surgeries are getting pushed on confused kids. Sex outside marriage has triggered an international bloodbath While the numbers are estimates, more than half of all deaths in 2023 may have been due to abortion, largely performed on the babies of unmarried women. So, in other words, chastity can save lives. Millions of lives. The tattooed generation While some tattoos are meaningful – maybe a Bible text or a spouse's name – many others, as this article declares, "permanentize trivial things." And as such, that sort are a metaphor for a generation which also "trivializes permanent things." This isn't a Christian article, so while it is on to something, it doesn't understand that the Devil always wants us to make big of little and little of big (Matt. 23:23). How to say forbidden things on YouTube Whatever your thoughts on the thing, Prov. 18:17 highlights why they shouldn't have restricted our ability to talk about the thing. ...

News

Judge: government wasn’t legally justified to invoke the Emergencies Act

A year ago, Justice Paul Rouleau ruled that Canada’s federal government acted appropriately when it invoked the Emergencies Act to clear out “Freedom Convoy” protesters who were camping out around Parliament Hill back in 2022. But this past week a different judge made the opposite call. Federal Court Justice Richard Mosley ruled that the government was not legally justified in invoking the Act. For those who need a refresher, on Feb 14, 2022, the Canadian government invoked the Emergencies Act, claiming that the hundreds of semi-trucks and thousands of protesters that had been around Parliament Hill since late January of that year were a “threat to the security of Canada.” Invoking the Act gave the government increased powers. However, any increase of power for government has to come with a corresponding loss of freedom for their citizens. For example, the government gained the power to freeze protesters’ bank accounts, and those they chose to do this to, lost the ability to access their own money. The government gained the power to ban protests, but, as Justice Mosley ruled earlier this week, they did so at the expense of citizens’ Charter Right to freedom of expression. However, as The Globe and Mail’s Marieke Walsh and Sean Fine reported: “The government failed to prove that there was an emergency, as defined by the Emergencies Act, with the protests not meeting the high threshold of a threat to the security of Canada, said. The government ‘cannot invoke the Emergencies Act because it is convenient, or because it may work better than other tools at their disposal or available to the provinces,’ he wrote.” For Christians who have been wrestling with what the limits of government power are, this ruling presents another wrinkle. What does submission to government look like when one arm of the government declares something right, and another declares it wrong? This ruling also confirms that just because a government official declares something doesn’t make it so. Even as our country drifts from God, it is still a nation of laws, not just a nation of men – we don’t have to submit to every whim of our political leader, but can appeal to a system of laws, including our Charter of Rights, that even the Prime Minister can be held accountable to. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland has announced the government plans to appeal. Photo is of Ottawa protesters on January 29, 2022. Picture credit: Michel Elzo/Shutterstock...

News

Saturday Selections – Jan 27, 2024

Click on the titles below for the linked articles... 80's "kids'" movies aren't how you remember them Those classic 80s kids' movies that you remember so fondly? Turns out they aren't kid movies at all - woah! There's a strange blessing that comes with understanding stuff was wacky back in the day too (Eccl. 7:10). We can remember how God was with us in the middle of that craziness, and be reassured that He's able to sustain us in today's clown world too. "Be fruitful and multiply" is not religious bumph. It’s how civilizations survive. The West is facing a coming economic implosion due to its low birthrate. And we don't seem to get it. What is Critical Race Theory? Samuel Sey offers this succinct explanation. Brits take Canada to task for state-sanctioned suicide (10 min read) This is a really good summary of how Canada has flung itself down the slippery slope, offering death as the medical treatment for more and more conditions. And while this is a secular article, they almost get to the root of it: they recognize that autonomy is a lie, and death isn't medicine. What they miss is that our lives are not our own to dispose of as we wish – the author doesn't acknowledge life as a gift from God entrusted to our stewardship. "In less than a decade, Canada has gone from legalising assisted dying in the tightest of circumstances – for adults suffering from terminal illnesses, for whom death was imminent – to offering suicide as an alternative to life’s woes. It amounts to a cautionary tale of the deep inhumanity, the cruel disregard for human life, that is unleashed when you introduce state-assisted death." We owe so much, just the interest is going to cost Canadians almost $2,000 a year Whenever you borrow, you're actually taking from future you, which might be fine sometimes if you really need to (for example, it's tough to buy a house without borrowing any money). But when it comes to massive government debt loads, what the previous generation borrowed is hitting us now, and if we keeping going along this route, then we'll be taking from our children. 8 fossil fuel facts: the other side (6 min) While we often hear about supposed downsides to fossil fuel usage, we rarely get the upside. But if we aren't taking that into consideration, then we aren't really counting the cost (Luke 14:28-30) of going "carbon free." This is a secular presentation but it presents the other side of the argument that we most often don't hear but need to (Prov. 18:17). ...

News

Alberta taking steps towards nuclear power

In the same week that Alberta was facing power shortages, the government announced they were going nuclear. Last week the province was sending emergency alerts to residents asking them to limit their electricity usage because of pressure on their electrical grid from extremely cold temperatures. Then, on Jan 15 an announcement was made of a partnership between two corporations to examine the feasibility of building small modular reactors (SMR) in the province. Currently there are no nuclear power projects west of Ontario. The partnership is between Alberta company Capital Power and the crown corporation Ontario Power Generation, which owns four nuclear power plants and is responsible for close to half the electricity generation in Ontario. The two companies shared that their plan is to take two years to assess the feasibility of small nuclear reactors in Alberta. This aligns with a strategic plan that was created by the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick in 2022, towards the advancements of SMR’s, which they called “the next evolution in nuclear innovation and technology.” Nuclear power is far more reliable than “renewable” power options like solar and wind, which Canadian governments have been pushing for decades now. They are able to produce maximum power more than 92 percent of the year, compared with 35 percent for wind and 25 percent for solar. “Nuclear energy offers humanity the safest, most efficient approach to harnessing natural resources for its use” explained Vijay Jayaraj, Research Associate for the CO2 Coalition. “As the densest energy source available, nuclear fuel requires the least amount of material and land for electricity production.” Safe electricity is necessary for lighting, heating, cooling, refrigeration, and most commercial activity. Although we take it for granted, it has been critical for alleviated poverty and promoting human flourishing.  As Andrew Spencer, from the Gospel Coalition notes, “as we prudentially consider technologies that balance the goods of society with the limits of creation, relatively clean sources of electricity like nuclear power are part of seeking the welfare of the city in which we dwell. (Jer. 29:7) This is especially true for people on the margins who cannot afford expensive electrical backups and are most at risk when the power goes out.”...

News

British Columbia approves protocols to give opioid prescriptions to minors 

Recently, Adam Zivo reported in the National Post that the British Columbia government has authorized the distribution of opioid prescriptions to minors, without parental permission. This is being done under the province’s “safer supply” or “harm reduction” strategy which involves the prescription of opioids, including fentanyl, to addicts. So, instead of trying to put these children into rehab to get off drugs completely, the program aims to provide individuals with “clean” drugs as an alternative or supplement to the illicit and toxic substances that they are addicted to. Harm reduction is grounded in the belief that complete abstinence is an impossible goal. This perspective is evident in sex ed, where the focus is on teaching kids how to lower but not eliminate the risks of unwanted pregnancies and STDs – it’s safer, but not at all safe, sex. One of the goals of harm reduction is often to “destigmatize” actions, whether it be in the case of “sexual liberation” or drug use. Some Christians see this shame-free approach as a way of loving your neighbor, yet it goes directly against what God says about sin. How can one come to repentance if you are told what you are doing is not shameful? Despite the implementation of “safer supply” pilot programs across the country since 2020, the latest data from BC Coroners Service reveals that 2023 marked the third consecutive year with overdose deaths exceeding 2,000 lives. Recent reports of “safer supply” programs have found serious cases of diversion, where people were getting government-funded drugs and selling them, and in some cases, bringing them to youth in suburban areas. In an August report, the British Columbia Centre on Substance Use (BCCSU) proposed protocols permitting nurses and doctors to prescribe opioids to both adults and minors. The BCCSU, in outlining its protocols, has even admitted that “To date, there is no evidence available supporting this intervention, safety data, or established best practices for when and how to provide it.” So, without any clear sense of concrete evidence that interventions like this work, they proceeded to recommend this process with loose requirements. The only requirement for minors to qualify is a “two prescriber approval system,” wherein one medical professional interviews the patient, and the other signs off. What raises serious concerns is the lack of acknowledgment for parents and their rights over their children within these protocols. According to the National Post’s Adam Zivo: “While the B.C. government generally promotes its commitment to safer supply, it was oddly silent in this instance. I became aware of the new protocols only because two concerned addiction physicians contacted me shortly after their publication.” The absence of any requirement to inform or involve parents in the decision-making process for minors seeking prescription opioids may create incentives for young individuals to distance themselves from their families. The family unit, a child’s God-given foundation of support and guidance, is bypassed in a manner that could contribute to strained relationships and increased risks for the young individuals involved. Not only does the province allow access to safe supply drugs without needing parents’ approval, but it also takes away parents’ rights to get the help their child needs. In BC, parents can’t make their kids go to rehab against their will. Historically, the Church has been the place where individuals with addictions sought help, but in recent times, we have witnessed a shift towards government interventions driven by a worldview that doesn’t value the family as God does....

News

Saturday Selections – Jan 6, 2024

"Let the fire fall!" (6 min) Two fantastic fire shows, just miles apart, point us to the incredible showmanship of God. Tucker Carlson on building a home library (10 min read) Your digital editions can be edited without your permission. They can't do that to paper. Rainbow blowback: African countries are turning away from the West over its LGBT agenda ...and consequently, they are turning towards China. 2023 Word of the year: Authentic Authentic got the Merriam-Webster Dictionary's 2023 "Word of the Year" top prize, but for a usage that is entirely unauthentic. "Be your authentic self" is an affirmation meant to encourage someone to continue to act the gender they say they are rather than the gender they actually are. Should scientists lie to us for our own good? Materialist evolutionists argue the universe has no purpose, but some of them admit that could leave folks feeling really depressed. So they wonder if that purposelessness might be something to lie about – wouldn't it be better if folks pretended or were deceived into believing life has meaning? That they are asking this question shouldn't surprise us: if there is no purpose, then there also isn't any reason to prefer truth over feelings. But, that they are asking the question also highlights the incoherence of their own purposeless worldview. If there really is no point to life, then there also isn't any reason to prefer people being happy over people being depressed – shucks, if we're just chemicals in motion, why would anything at all matter? So no, dear scientists, it isn't good to lie to people. It is good to abandon incoherent worldviews and turn in repentance to the Creator who made you with a purpose: to glorify God and enjoy Him forever. Yes, I am "anti-abortion" We don't need to shy away from being labeled anti-abortion. We just need to explain why. ...

News

What’s happening on the Hill: federal legislation to watch in 2024

What came first: the chicken or the egg? While I’m convinced that God started by creating a chicken, the riddle points to two truths: that eggs come from chickens and chickens come from eggs. We can ask a similar question in a different and more important area of life. What comes first: laws or culture? Again, the answer to this riddle is that both are true. And that’s why a country’s laws are so important. They not only shape our culture, but they are also symptoms of what our culture wants. Laws are not only signposts of where we are going, but conveyor belts pushing us in a particular direction. So, where are our laws directing us to go? Well, here are some of the potential laws on a variety of issues that the House of Commons and the Senate will continue to study and debate throughout 2024. The bills that ARPA Canada is actively following can be categorized into bills relating to life, pornography and sexual exploitation, family, and human rights and justice. Note: In Canada, bills need to go through eleven steps to become law. A bill needs to pass first reading, second reading, consideration in committee, report stage, and third reading in the House of Commons (or Senate) first and then go through the same five steps in the Senate (or House of Commons). Finally, the Governor General must give Royal Assent to the legislation. We mention this so you can know how close the bills listed below are to becoming the law of the land. Life Euthanizing the mentally ill The first one is actually not a bill, but an ongoing discussion. The Special Joint Committee on Medical Assistance in Dying (consisting of both Senators and MPs) is meeting to discuss the expansion of euthanasia to people with mental illness as their sole underlying medical condition. The committee is officially reviewing “the level of preparedness in Canada” to euthanize people with mental illness. But some MPs and committee witnesses believe Parliament must stop, or at least delay, the expansion of euthanasia to mental illness, which remains scheduled for March 17, 2024. The committee is expected to submit a final report to Parliament, with recommendations, by January 31, 2024. Euthanizing the mentally incompetent Another bill, S-248, An Act to amend the Criminal Code (medical assistance in dying), seeks to expand euthanasia still further by permitting advance requests for euthanasia. This means that a person who is worried about losing the capacity to consent to euthanasia may consent weeks, months, or even years in advance. They would just need to pick a random day in the future to be euthanized or declare that they agree to be euthanized if they reach a stated level of decline and have lost the capacity to consent by that point. The bill is awaiting further study at the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Pornography and Sexual Exploitation Protecting young eyes Bill S-210, the Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act, prohibits making pornography accessible to young people online and requires pornography companies to verify the age of potential viewers of pornography. Canadians rank 7th in the world for daily porn consumption, and children are exposed to it at increasingly younger ages. This bill is an important step in restricting pornography that is available for children and adolescents. Bill S-210 has successfully passed through the Senate and completed its first hour of debate in the House of Commons on November 23, 2023. It is currently awaiting further debate at second reading in the House of Commons. Protecting young people While Bill S-210 prohibits children from viewing pornography, another bill seeks to prohibit a person from making or distributing pornography without first ensuring that those depicted are at least 18 years of age and have consented to their image being depicted. Online pornography often exploits young people, particularly girls. Bill C-270, the Stopping Internet Sexual Exploitation Act, would make such exploitation punishable by a fine of up to $500,000 or up to two years in prison. Bill C-270 successfully passed through the Senate and, in December, also passed its second reading in the House of Commons, with all Conservative, NDP, and Bloc MPs, as well as several Liberal members, supporting it. It is currently awaiting further study by the National Safety and Public Security Committee. Better terminology Bill C-291, introduced by MP Mel Arnold in June 2022, focuses on the issue of child pornography. The bill seeks to replace the term “child pornography” with “child sexual abuse and exploitation material.” While a simple terminology change does not directly combat child pornography, it does shift our society away from viewing child pornography as something that is potentially value-neutral to denouncing it for the abuse and exploitation that it is. The bill has received widespread support so far, passing unanimously in the House of Commons and passing second reading in the Senate. It is awaiting further study at the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Human trafficking Finally, a set of bills focus generally on human trafficking. Bill S-263 and C-308 are identical bills in the Senate and House of Commons which would require the government to maintain, update, and report on the progress of its National Strategy to Combat Human Trafficking. The current strategy ends in 2024 but Canada desperately needs to do more – not less – to combat human trafficking. Both bills have passed first reading in their respective legislatures but have yet to proceed any further. Family Spanking bans Currently, parents in Canada are permitted to use force (e.g. spanking) to correct a child, as long as the force is reasonable under the circumstances. In the past 25 years, at least 14 bills have been introduced as attempts to ban corporal discipline, but none have passed. The government can never replace parents in the life of a child and must not try to do so by legislating how children ought to be raised. A set of bills – Bill S-251 and Bill C-273 – are the most recent attempts to ban corporal discipline entirely. The Senate bill is currently awaiting further study at the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, while the House of Commons bill completed its first hour of debate at second reading on November 27, 2023. Human Rights and Justice Protecting personal political speech MP Garnett Genuis introduced Bill C-257, An Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act (protecting against discrimination based on political belief), in 2022. An identical bill, bill S-257, was also introduced in the Senate in 2022 by Senator Salma Ataullahjan. Both bills have passed first reading but are awaiting further debate in their respective legislatures. These bills would prohibit discrimination by federally regulated employees against a person because of their political belief or partisan activity, such as, for example, an air traffic controller being fired because he expressed support for a conservative policy on a radio talk show. These bills would help safeguard free participation of all people in public life. Restorative justice The Canadian justice system is the focus of Bill S-265, introduced in the Senate in May 2023. Some elements of the bill support pathways for restorative justice as an alternative to incarceration. It would require training for authorities in the justice system regarding restitution and restorative justice programs. The bill also focuses on helping victims of crime navigate the justice system and access information about various services and programs. The Senate has begun to debate the bill at second reading, but it is awaiting further debate. Conclusion All of these bills are private members’ bills, meaning that they aren’t given the same priority as government bills to be debated and voted on. And yet, these bills give our representatives in the House of Commons and the Senate the opportunity to focus on critically important issues that the government may be ignoring. Some of these bills would have a negative impact, while others would have a positive impact. Either way, each one has the potential to shape Canadian law. If you are interested in further analysis of any of these bills, please visit ARPACanada.ca for existing analysis or any updates as they develop....

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 30, 2023

The Babylon Bee's Spelling Bee "Can you give me the definition?" Play vs. screens "Screen time is stolen time," said one expert. What did he mean? That the 20%-45% of the day that kids spend on screens is stealing away kids' opportunities for free unstructured play and for creating, rather than just consuming. Richer than you knew When budgeting gets tough, it's worth considering our blessings. One nugget: if you've ever had pineapple on your pizza you've enjoyed a luxury the likes of which the very richest couldn't have imagined a couple hundred years ago. Back then a pineapple cost $8,000! Frozen embryos are the new orphan crisis (15 min read) This story doesn't really get into the overall harm the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) industry has caused in treating children as a good – to be sorted, implanted, frozen, or disposed of, however their parents might wish. Two thirds don't reach the blastocyst stage, and of those that do, millions have been thrown away. What this story is about is the more than a million others that have been frozen, where they remain in a state of limbo, left orphaned by parents who no longer have a use for them. But over the last couple of decades couples have been adopting these children and carrying them to term. Many Christians are conflicted about the morality of such a "snowflake adoption" because it necessarily involves working with the same IVF industry that's been killing millions of unborn babies in the first place, and it uses a process that depersonalizes the unborn into a product. So, can snowflake adoption really be good? Adoptions always involve tragedy – a set of parents has either died, or in some cases is unable or unfit to raise their own children. That children were ever put in a position from which they needed rescuing is sad... but to do the rescuing is wonderful. Christians understand adoption as God's own rescue plan (Eph. 1:5). So to go and do likewise is simply to imitate our great God. A response to an employer’s request for pronouns "I recently spoke to a Stand to Reason supporter who received a company-wide email saying leaders were expected to display their pronouns. After considering the cost and thinking carefully through his response, this is what he told his employers..." How to get your kids excited about reading the Bible Pastor and professor David Murray has some helpful suggestions, and they start with modeling. More help can be had with his 6 tips for reading the Bible with your kids. Pacific Golden Plover defies evolution This little bird makes an 80-hour migratory flight from Alaska to Hawaii. But it only has the fat reserves to fly 70 hours. And it can't swim. So how does it make it? ...

News

Saturday Selections – Dec. 23, 2023

How could reproduction evolve? (3 min) That reproduction happens all the time has people thinking that it's no big thing. But it needs all our body's systems to be working to pull it off, all working at the same time, and in perfect sync, interacting in just the right order at just the right time, with one another. Should we leave our children with a monetary inheritance? Proverbs 13:22 says: "A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children, but the sinner’s wealth is laid up for the righteous." Randy Alcorn looks at this verse and offers some pointed thoughts for our consideration. Stubborn facts about saving sex for marriage Multiple studies confirm that the world's “try before you buy” plan for marriage doesn't work like God's "save it" command. The world's not going to hear that if Christians aren't confident themselves that God's ways are best, so let's say it one more time: God's ways work! 11 practical ways to reduce digital consumption  If you or your kids are anxious or depressed, your devices could be one reason. 8 habits that could add 24 years to your life These tips aren't anything you haven't heard before, but maybe you underestimated their importance – this is about being good stewards of the bodies God has given us. I love my transgender son. I love Jesus more. The author doesn't understand why this is happening to his son. But he trusts that what God says is right and best and good. Another pro-life prophet Nathan moment In  2 Samuel 12, the prophet Nathan gets King David to render judgement on one situation, and then demands David apply that same principle to his own situation. In this clip, Freedom Toon's Seamus Coughlin is questioning why a baby's location would deprive it of all rights. It's a good point, but a third party to the conversation comes in with an even better one – if a baby's location deprives it of all rights, then why shouldn't we let a pregnant mom do meth? ...

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