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RPTV is bringing a Reformed Perspective to the issues of our day, through video! Our host Alexandra Ellison has a BA (Honours) in Communication and Media Studies from the University of Guelph and also covers Canadian news for our friends at World News Group.

RPTV is produced by Kyle Vasas and David Visser from Faith Inc., ( based in Lethbridge, Alberta.

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Dating, RPTV

How our friends, and the 'Net, brought us together


Alexandra Ellison: Okay, good. Okay, so if you want to start off, could you guys just both introduce yourselves and then we can kind of get into how you both met.

Seth Miller: You want to go first?

Zoe Miller: Okay, I guess I'll go first. I'm Zoe, I am married to this guy right here. If you're a listener, you can't see him. But I'm Zoe Miller. I'm 22. And I currently am a part-time journalist, part-time call center agent at a pro-life company. And Seth, and I've been married for one year and one month, coming up on that. But we're at a Presbyterian Church in Idaho. And Seth is the pastor, he can tell you a little bit more about it. But that's currently where we're at.

Seth: Yep, and my name is Seth. I'm a church planter here in northern Idaho and the Coeur d’ Alene region. We've been at it for about five months now. And we're seeing a lot of growth and exciting things that the Lord's doing through this church. It's kind of a wasteland as far as Reformed churches go. And so it's exciting to be able to participate in this work. I'm originally from Idaho. I made my way down to Texas. But I've always said that Idaho is the true promised land when it comes to states down here in America. That Idaho is it's a great place. But yep, Zoey, and I've been married for a year, and it's been fun so far.

Alexandra: That's great. So maybe if we could go back, I guess to a year and a bit more back to 2022. If you guys could kind of describe how you met.

Seth: Go ahead.

Zoe: Okay, so you should I'll let you finish off the story, I guess. Okay.

Seth: We usually have a plan, you know, though. We've got a tag team story, but...

Zoe: Yeah, it depends on the situation, which of us will start the story and which of us will end this story. But I have this very niche little podcast called "Presbygirls" that I do with a pastor's wife who is a friend of mine. And she and I hosted a show where Rosaria Butterfield was the guest. And she was talking about human sexuality issues, which are really popular to talk about in the PCA, which is the denomination that our church is at. And so Seth, all the way down in Texas, his session ended up listening to the podcast episode that we did with Rosaria Butterfield because it was relevant to the discussions that were going on. And so, as I understand it, Seth was in the office with another pastor that worked at the same church that he did. And Rosaria Butterfield, because we were talking about human sexuality and the theology of singleness, she asked me if I was single on the show, which I  did not expect her to do, so kind of the wing-lady of the century, but she did. So she asked me if I was single. And I said, "Yes." And so Seth and his pastor, friend that he worked with were in the office one day, and I guess Seth said... What did you say?

Seth: So I said, " Who is this Zoe girl" because I had seen her on Twitter. But I didn't really know anything about her. But her name kept popping up. And then I see her on this podcast. And I was just curious who she was. I wasn't sure even how old she was. I knew she was in college or something like that.

Zoe: Isn't it that the first time you saw one of my tweets, you thought it was like 30.

Seth: Yeah. So that was just a thought that went out into the ether that then developed into something much more.

Zoe: Yeah, your pastor friend, Mark, heard Seth inquire about me. And he basically had it all in his mind that it would be a perfect fit, we would be together. And so he goes to this conference called the Gospel Reformation Network, a conference for confessional Presbyterians to get together. And I happen to know a lot of people at that conference because of my podcasting work. And during the conference, and some of the social times Mark was going around telling people "Oh, yeah, you know, we got this youth pastor down there at redeemer in Texas that's got a crush on one of the Preysbygirls." So I got messages from people that I knew at the conference like, "Oh, there's this youth pastor who has a crush on you." And I thought to myself, he can't possibly be my type, there's no way, I'm an old school girl. And then I'm in this big group chat where we talk about, you know, nerdy Presbyterians stuff. And somebody who knew Seth, a classmate of his in seminary, messaged me and said, "Hey, I know this guy, I think he's great. I feel like you guys actually have a lot in common." And he sent me some YouTube videos of Seth preaching. And so I watched the YouTube videos, and I was like, "Oh, yeah, it's, it's over!" It was pretty much over for me at that point. Then his friend set us up on a group chat with the three of us. And as soon as he saw that Seth and I were getting along, he left the group chat...

Seth: Good wing man.

Zoe: ...and that was literally when I was at the WORLD Journalism Institute (WJI). The first time that we talked, on Discord, was May 10. And I think WJI started on like, the 12th. Yeah, so it was, it was immediately then, and so I'm going through mind, there's this pastor guy, he's older than me. This is, this is a little odd. You know, my parents thought it was a little, a little odd. They thought I was too young to get married, not because of any serious reason, but they just didn't see it happening for some time. And then Seth and I got engaged in October. And, but from seth perspective, it was pretty interesting as well, up until that time.

Seth: Yeah, I was working at that church at the time. And, as a young single pastor, it was common for me to be approached by mothers in the church, inquiring if I would be interested in their daughters. That had happened several times. None of them really worked out. Nice girls and everything, but none of them stuck. And so I was in the place of, I don't want to do this anymore. It's weird dating within the church, you know, from a position of being a pastor. And so, at first, like we said, it was just kind of a curiosity that quickly developed into something much more than that. And that was basically what I needed because I wasn't really all that... I guess, I didn't have too many intentions on and really wasn't trying to get married anytime soon. I knew the Lord would provide a spouse for me. And so, it just created a life of its own. And, part of the reason for it is because the associate pastor that Zoey mentioned, his name is Mark, he is like a second dad to me. And so his interest in making sure I was getting married was, even more of an interest than I had. He thought he saw the potential there. And I mean, I thought Zoe was great from what I knew, but I didn't really know anything more about her. It would have been weird if I would have just gone to her Twitter page and, and DM-ed her. And I was definitely not going to do that. So it was like, it was almost this kind of, I don't know, arranged marriage in the Presbyterian world – all these people working behind the scenes. And that's what I think made it so unique. But it was exactly probably what would have worked best for the both of us where we were at our stages of life. You hear about all the horror stories about meeting somebody online, and as a real person, you don't know what they're really like, you only see some pictures. There was some fear and trembling before we actually met the first time. What's this person really like? So we actually met at the General Assembly of the PCA. So again, this is a very, very strange story that's abnormal for 99% of the population. I don't know if anybody else could write up a story like this. But we met at General Assembly and that was an interesting time.

Zoe: Yeah. Because he got to meet my dad for the first time at General Assembly because he was there. So he looked him over.

Seth: Zoey had to meet with the two pastors that I was on staff with, and they wanted to know her intentions. And so it was very much like this, courtship sort of.

Zoe: Both of us were vetted thoroughly.

Seth: Yeah. And, yeah, and then we actually got to talk to each other a little bit during that time. We were both nervous because when you go from online to in-person, that's a totally different dynamic. You know, you can text, you can call, you can FaceTime, all that stuff, but then when you're actually standing in front of each other. I think we were both sweating away – at least I was.

Zoe: Oh, yeah. So, that's pretty much how it happened. Then we had a phone call where I was actually working on my broadcast thing for WJI, late at night. And Seth and I were on the phone, because we talked on the phone all the time. And so Seth, called me as I was working late, by myself in the classroom that you're familiar with on this story. Seth calls me and he's like, "Okay, so before we get too emotionally involved, what is the purpose of what we're doing here? Like, what are we doing here? What are we trying to accomplish?" And I was like, "Well, I guess what I think we're doing is eliciting marital compatibility." Those are the exact words!

Seth: A little robotic, but good. It was accurate.

Zoe: From that point on, it wasn't really awkward to try to figure out like, "Oh, where are we going to go from here?" We got engaged in October of that year. And we got married in March of the next year. I would always be frustrated when I would ask people who I thought had great marriages, "How did you know that you were supposed to marry your spouse?" And they would always say, "Well, you know, when you know," and I would say, "That's not a real good answer!" But at this point, they were 100%. Correct. It's really difficult to convey that to somebody who doesn't actually have that knowledge by experience, but I'm finding out that they were right.

Alexandra: You kind of you kind of mentioned this at the beginning. But part of the story is that there's like, been a bit of pushback, you know, within our culture of people getting young. You even see it within the church. I've been in churches in kind of major cities - a lot of young professionals - and they kind of prolong marriage to you know, 30+. So, was there any sort of pushback for you getting married young? It was only, I guess, a few months when you guys got engaged?

Zoe: Yeah, We'd only been we'd only dated for like five months when we got engaged. So I think my parents were the ones that were more interested in me having a career before marriage than even me. Seth is pretty charming, though. So I wasn't really sure exactly what I was going to do after college, probably journalism, but I didn't have any job prospects lined up. And as I went into college, I had this idea of being a young professional-like single lady. But because of the churches that I was going to, I sat under really solid, good preaching and teaching. And I got to know a lot of families who, the wives and moms were incredibly capable and smart ladies, but it was just a great service that they did to their family to prioritize that before they, you know, before they went off and had a job. Particular lady who I know pretty well, for my church, when I was going to college, she got married to her husband when she was 18. And he was 21. And she's very smart. She's very pretty, she could have done a lot of things with her life, but she decided that she wanted to have a family instead, and having a family and getting married and contributing to somebody else's life instead of just her own. I kind of conceived of that as something you did if you didn't have any other options, but it's through this experience of meeting her and a lot of ladies like her, I learned that just getting married young is not a waste of time. It's not. It's not an anti-intellectual exercise, it actually takes effort, and a little bit of intelligence – the sprinkling that I still have left – to put effort into your marriage. I think people tend to see it as something that doesn't require hard work. You know, women only do it if they don't really have any skills. But I think that's totally wrong. And just meeting people who made that choice changed my perspective. And by the time that I was through with college, I was thoroughly fed up with the, the caricature of the young professional lady who's on her own and doesn't need anybody. Society just doesn't quite work like that. As I got through college, I got more conservative as well as more serious about theology in my Christian faith, so that contributed to it as well. But yeah, there is definitely that pushback towards Christian women marrying young. I think a lot of people are concerned that they're not ready. But a lot of great advice that I received is, if you have a man who loves the Lord, that's 90%. If he's a minister, that's like another 5%. And if he's older than you, that's a big plus, too. So, beyond those initial objections, once we convinced my parents it was pretty much good to go. But

Alexandra: Some of the article I've been doing is trying to get maybe more concrete advice for young woman, and then also for young men. I think for young men, a lot of the advice I've heard is like Kevin DeYoung's book, it's called Just Do Something. Yeah, you can go out and you can, you know, take God's will, and you can just go and pursue a woman that you're interested in, within the church. You can go do that. But I think, as a woman, in some sense, that can kind of be hard, because it's like, "I just have to wait for someone to pursue me? What can I do during this time?" So I guess I'll ask, Seth, and then also Zoe, so what would be your advice for young woman and your advice for young men?

Seth: Yeah, I think for young men, and I think this would apply to young ladies as well, the early years in your early 20s, that's a great time to really cement your standing as a Christian, really grow a lot, and get involved in the life of the church. When you're focusing on growing as a Christian, you're focusing on serving in the church, and being a part of the church, a lot of those things just kind of come together on their own. I've noticed with some young guys, they kind of, they'll think of everything in terms of, of getting married and pursuing a wife, having children. I think that's a good God-given natural desire, but at times, everything is so focused towards that, that personal growth becomes a means to an end. They feel like, okay, I've gotten all of the boxes checked, and I have enough income to be able to support a family. And so they get really focused on that, which again, I think is fine. And I think to have that drive is a good thing as a young man. But there's still a point to which you want to make sure that you're, you're pursuing the Lord in that time. And again, you're even as a man, you're still waiting upon the providence of the Lord to bring the right woman in front of you. And so there is a sense of waiting even in that, that you don't want to just go out and, you know, pursue everything under the sun. I've seen guys that do that and it doesn't work out too well for them. So I would just say, make sure you're focused on the right things, prioritizing disciplines of godliness, because you want to be able to lead a family well. And if you have not mastered those things, at least in a small sense, before you're married, it's not gonna go too well when you are married.

Zoe: The spiritual disciplines, as far as young women go, it is easy to, especially if you are more conservative, or you are you have more of a traditional desire for a traditional family, which is good, even though you may not be a husband someday because you're a female, it's still good to want to get those spiritual disciplines. You want to be the best kind of Christian you could possibly be, so that you so that you are ready for the solid Christian man that comes into your life. You want to be ready for that in the sense that you take your spiritual life seriously. It's going to be as big a benefit to him as his spiritual maturity is to you in a lot of ways. It might seem kind of counterintuitive to sit and wait but there is a lot of there's a lot of development you can do just spiritually when you are kind of waiting on God's providence to bring the right man in front of you. Something that I have seen and I actually sort of did this myself a little bit when I was younger is, when girls meet guys they expect them to be straightforward, but girls don't have the same instincts to be straightforward. A lot of the times they like to talk to guys and they may be kind of naive about why these guys are interested in talking to them so much. And especially if the guy struggles with being straightforward, you really have to, if you are talking in any kind of way with a Christian man who's around your age, and it's a little more than normal, more than a friendship or an acquaintance, you have to question. Don't stop yourself from being straightforward. Because you don't want to play with him. That's a really strong temptation for a lot of Christian girls, is thinking, "Well, I don't have to be upfront about what are my expectations for the relationship are, what I want out of a marriage and a family, because that's his role." I think it's really good for you to, to just be straightforward. And if he has a problem with being straightforward. Anyway, I've used that word like, fine. But the point is, the point is, you should be upfront about your expectations.

Seth: Clarity, right?

Zoe: That's not something that's limited to the man's role. And spiritual disciplines as well. But it's not bad to have great expectations and happy expectations of a marriage and a family. I think that's a really important piece of advice, too.

Alexandra: And I think my final question would be, how do you think that maybe the church or other people in ministry could kind of help to encourage young marriage because some of the things that I've seen being done is I spoke to one pastor, he runs this conference in Calgary called reformed youth conference. So it's for people, singles, aged between 18 and 30, they all go down to Calgary for a week at night, you know, hear speakers, and then like, the point is not necessarily to get people married, but it kind of just happens, because, you know, you have all of these like minded Christians in one space, I spoke to someone else that does Ottawa, Christian speed dating. So all of these kinds of different events that are just, you know, being set up to help kind of grow those relationships. So I don't know if you guys Yeah, haven't yet other ideas on how we could kind of

Seth: Yeah, I think, you know, one of the most helpful things you can do, and I, say this from our limited experience of being married for a year, but also just receiving a lot of good advice and encouragement from older saints, older ministers, is to speak positively about marriage in the first place. There tends to be a lot of cliches in Christian circles that kind of downplay marriage or speak down on "Oh, it's the most sanctifying thing you'll ever do." And even speaking of marriage as almost like a sacramental thing, where it's like, you have to work enough to finally be good enough to get married. I've seen that happen in different church contexts. So, you know, speaking about the goodness of marriage, speaking about as the ordinary way that God grows his church through through families. It's not something that's strange. Our culture is pushing against it that, you know, a marriage between a man and a wife, especially at a young age is odd. Why would you tie yourself down? Why would you commit to uncertain pains for the rest of your life? I think that if we can encourage younger people that marriage is good, you should do it. We don't have to put unnecessary pressure on younger folks to get married, but we can at least encourage that this is a good thing. Especially if you're in the Reformed community – Christianity in the West in general – you know, our circles are getting incredibly small. So if you're at a church with 60, or 70, people, there's probably only a couple of single people left. And so the more and more that we can just have relationships with other churches, and just, what you're describing there of, of allowing opportunities for young people to meet. Online is allowing that – there's limitations to it, there's blessings in it. But, you know, the more that we can actually do this on a kind of a local level, I think the better.

Zoe: Yeah, and especially because of the way we met: somebody knew somebody. Somebody knew of the two of us and then somebody else figured out that we might be good for each other just based on common characteristics. But it's all due to just church connections – kind of like Seth was saying – people at other churches who know people at other churches. So it's this big kind of intertwined ball of yarn that is like an arranged marriage almost to a certain extent, like Seth said. One thing that we heard i our premarital counseling, which was honestly great – and I think you don't have to go to premarital counseling to see that this is true – but our pastor at the time, he said, a lot of people ask him, "What are the five easy steps to have a happy marriage or a healthy Christian marriage?" And he said, "The easiest way to sort of understand what a good healthy Christian marriage looks like, is just to find somebody who models that well, and watch what they do." So I mean, as people in the church, it's our responsibility to model as Christ-like behavior as possible to those around us, which you know, I am sure I have a lot further to go than I think I do. Married couples modeling that as best they can. Not necessarily saying that marriage is a standard of perfection that you have to attain or, or that your marriage is perfect. But there is a peace to marriage – a lot of people see it as limiting – but I think there's a lot of freedom with, you know, being united somebody else, that people don't really realize. So couple's in the church just being positive about marriage. It's not that you won't disagree with each other sometimes. But our premarital counselor also told us this, "That if you go into marriage, expecting that, it'll be hard, you're kind of pre-empting yourself into thinking that, 'Oh, it's just going to be really tough. And it's going to be this experience that's so hard. And that's why it's going to be sanctifying.'" But if you trust in the Lord and go in with positive expectations, I think that's something that people should be told. So just a general modeling of Christian behavior on the part of the church. And don't be afraid to tell somebody about somebody else that you know, because that's how we got together.

Alexandra: Well, thank you both for just taking the time to tell your story. I think that a lot of people will find it interesting and intriguing. It's a little different compared to the regular, I guess, online dating sense. But yeah, thank you both.

Thank you again to Zoe and Seth for joining me on this episode. If you would like to read more about the story then you can check out the May/June 2024 issue of Reformed Perspective. Thanks for watching. Bye!


Canadian women's unfulfilled fertility goals and the country's declining birth rate

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective. I'm Alexander Ellison. Today we are diving into a pressing issue – Canada's record low birth rate. Statistics Canada recently confirmed that in 2022 just over 350,000 babies were born, marking the lowest number of live births since 2005. This raises a critical question: what do Canadian women really want when it comes to family size? "So, do you guys have children?" "No, no." "Yes." "Do you have children?" "No." "Uh no." "Do you have children?" "Yes." "Do you plan to have children in the future?" "We don't think so. We actually just talked about it, like two days ago, and I don't know. Everything is just getting so expensive. We rarely know if we will make it, everything's rising up so much." "Honestly, I did think I was going to do it when I was younger, but recently, I've changed my mind, not just because of the whole financial thing, but security, and everything in my country. And then the whole idea of having children is just so big a responsibility. I don't know if I want it or not." "I had three, and that was enough." "I feel like I'd like to build a family of my own. I found that quite a nice future idea, to kind of like raise people like I was raised, hopefully give them a good future." "Yeah, pretty much the same. I just like the idea of family."  "Just having people to support you..." "Yeah, by your side." "It's really important, especially the fact that I don't have siblings, you know. So I want to have children." "Well, we had four children, two girls and two boys, and life was busy, but it was enough. I wouldn't want it to be busier, but I can't imagine my life without them." A Christian think tank, Cardus, took a closer look, through a survey they did, discovering some eye-opening facts. They found that when it comes to family size, there's a significant gap between what Canadian women desire and what they actually have. Andrea Mrozek: "So we found that almost half of Canadian women wish they'd have more children than they do have at the end of their reproductive lives. So we asked a range of women, up to the age of 44. And that's the key takeaway: that women would like to have more kids than they have. Fertility ideals are much higher than intentions. What that means is that the future people have for their family is not typically fulfilled. "My thought for changing the culture is around recognizing that you can be fulfilled over the life course in every way – that the career is something you can have the entire life course to work on – but having children is something you only have a more limited amount of time to work. I think we're really fortunate to live in a world where we have a lot of options and possibilities as women today. I think now is the time to speak more strongly to the joys of a family life. At one point in time you needed to speak more strongly to the desires of doing waged work and getting out into the world and having a career, but those things are completely accessible, they're accessible over the life course, but having a family is something that is deeply fulfilling and can only be done in a certain time frame. We kind of lost the plot on why that matters, how it feels to not achieve that. I really am hoping young men and young women can live in freedom and trust God with their lives. That means trusting him with every aspect of our lives including our family and our fertility. In a secular worldview, it's quite constrained – you have to do things in a particular way, in a particular order, and definitely take the birth control pill till you're good and ready, and really constrain, actually, how you live your life. I think you could view a secular worldview as being quite constrained. Then the joy of being Christian, and the beauty of being Christian is living in the freedom of God's plan for us, and being open to all aspects of that, at whatever time in life that they do come. I think we as Christians have more capacity to live imaginative lives, and that includes our family lives." As we conclude our discussion on women's fertility goals, let us remember that children are a blessing and an integral part of God's plan for families. In a world where fertility rates are declining, it is crucial to support and understand the desires of women when it comes to building their families. We hope this video has shed light on the importance of considering women's wishes in family planning and how societal challenges can impact their fertility choices. Remember in all our pursuits let us honor the call to "be fruitful and multiply" (Gen. 1:28), trusting in God's divine wisdom. Thank you for watching this video. Please like this video and subscribe to this channel, and feel free to share with friends and family. For Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison....

Politics, RPTV

RPTV: MP Arnold Viersen on the legal fight against pornography

OVERVIEW 1:05 - Beginnings with local ARPA chapter 3;30 - Why don't you do it, Arnold? 4:09 - Why learning French isn't always a bad idea 5:05 - Three reasons Viersen ran 5:48 - Private Member's Bill on pornography 8:01 - Mindgeek, the Canadian pornography company 9:53 - On protecting children online 12:23 - Ways to fight pornography and human trafficking 14:21 - Christian worldview as a launching pad TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective; I’m Alexandra Ellison. In today's video, I had the privilege of sitting down with a dedicated Member of Parliament who has been actively using his Christian worldview to champion the cause of human dignity. Arnold Viersen is the Member of Parliament for Peace River-Westlock in northern Alberta Today, let's learn more about how he got into politics and what he is currently doing to combat online pornography. So, to start off, could you introduce yourself and just talk about how you got into politics. Arnold Viersen: Well, thanks for interviewing me. My name is Arnold Viersen. I'm the Member of Parliament for Peace River-Westlock, which is a big chunk of Northern Alberta. I mostly just say Northern Alberta, because... several European countries are smaller than that. I'm married. I've got six kids – my oldest is 11, the youngest is two and we're expecting one in February, so it's exciting. How did I get involved in politics? It was through an organization called ARPA Canada. There was a guy named Mark Penninga – you might have heard of him before – and he came to Edmonton I think back in 2010, just before I got married. There was a notice in the church bulletin – organization called ARPA, a guy named Mark Penninga, be here on Wednesday night, kind of thing – and so I convinced my brother-in-law to drive with me. It was about 50 kilometers to church, so it was a bit of a drive. I said, hey we should go to this thing, And he says, "Well, what is it?" I said that's what is for, to tell us what this is. So we showed up and four other people showed up so there was six of us that showed up to this event. Mark was telling us how he wanted to set up local ARPA chapters all across the the country, and that a local board was, he was kind of hoping for seven people to be on these boards and seeing as there was six of us there, he just kind of told us that we were now the ARPA board for that area. So that was back in 2010 I became a local board member with ARPA. Then I moved to Neerlandia, Alberta – that's where I'm born and raised – and I moved back there, bought a house there. I got married and joined the local ARPA board in in Neerlandia. I was involved with organizing a God and Government in Alberta, and then the following year we organized it for Ottawa. ARPA's big thing was "get to know your Member of Parliament so that you can have some influence with them" and so I went there and got to know my Member of Parliament. Then in 2013, where I lived became a brand new riding. There was no incumbent, there was no Member of Parliament at all. I thought, Well, rather than waiting to get to know my Member of Parliament, if I work hard to elect somebody then I'll know them before they get elected and I'll probably have more influence. So starting in 2013, I started going around asking my friends if they thought they should be Members of Parliament – three friends in particular I talked to, and one was like, "Wait a minute, I've got six kids; I can't do that." The other one was "I've just started a new business here; I can't take my foot off it." And the third just thought it was crazy. But all all of them said. "Hey Arnold, if you think it's such a good idea, why don't you do it?" So I was 27 at the time. I didn't think 27-year-olds were old enough to be Members of Parliament, but turns out there's only three requirements for being a Member of Parliament – be a Canadian citizen, be 18 years old, and get the most votes – so that put me on the path to running in the nomination for the Conservative Party of Canada, and running to be the Member of Parliament. The Reformed community came out very strong in support of me, in the nomination in particular – that was a really important piece that led me on the path to doing this. People always say, "Did you dream of this your whole life?" and, definitely not. I remember Mr. Wielinga in grade seven trying to teach me French and I said, "Why are you teaching me French? Probably Dutch would be a better language to learn than French, seeing as I could probably use that more." And he said, "Well, you never know, you might work in the Parliament building one day." And I said to him, "Fat chance of that happening!" He came back – he lives in South Africa now – he came back a couple years ago and walked to my office and said, "Fat chance of that happening, Arnold!" So, it wasn't something that was on my radar, prior to 2013. That's really interesting to hear how God puts different people in your life to lead you down a different path. So over your years in politics, you've worked on many issues upholding human dignity. Why has this been so important to you? Arnold Viersen: So when I ran in the nomination, there was three things that motivated me to get involved in politics. One was the defense of Alberta. I generally find that the rest of the country doesn't understand Alberta, and also generally is trying to shut down all the things that were we're trying to do – so that was one of the things. I'm a firearms owner and I also find that the country is pretty hard on firearms owners so I wanted to defend firearms owners. And the unborn or pre-born – that was another motivator for me. In Canada there's no protection, there's no law for the pre-born so I wanted to get involved in politics to defend the pre-born. That has branched out into probably more of just a defense of human dignity. Back in 2015, right after I got elected, I had the opportunity to do a Private Member's Bill, and everybody in the whole country shows up with ideas for a Private Member's Bill. Seeing as you get to make the decision on what that is, I just started writing a list. And there's a guy named Mark Penninga again – a character that reappears in my story of politics often – I just remember I had narrowed it down to 12 items that I was interested in. I remember going through it with him, and his criteria for whether it should be a go or no go was how many other MPs would do it. If the issue had wide support and other MPs would probably do it, he said "Arnold, you don't have to do that one; somebody else will do it." So that's how I came to the issue of combating pornography in Canadian society – we eventually settled on doing a private member's motion on the impacts of pornography on Canadian society. That has basically drawn together a whole bunch of groups from across the country that care about that issue, and human trafficking and prostitution. That area, that's kind of been my niche in the world of politics. So I'm a Conservative Member of Parliament – I fight alongside my Conservative colleagues, and then my kind of special thing that I bring to that Conservative movement is the combatting of human trafficking, prostitution, and pornography. And this seems to be fairly well accepted within the Conservative movement and I'm able to get some some action happening on it in other parties as well. Focusing in a little bit, I've seen a lot of kind of campaigning for online safety of children. Would you be able to expand on that, and introduce what is is Mindgeek for people who don't know about that. Arnold Viersen: Mindgeek's a company that owns a whole host of websites in the world. They're based in Montreal, Canada, so they are a Canadian company. They claim that they own 80% of the pornography in the world, and I don't have any reason to doubt that either. Their ownership structure is really murky. We're never quite sure who's in charge and who owns it. We do know that they make a lot of money, despite it being a private company so their are not publicly available. But they brag about how much money they make, which is approaching a billion dollars a year. They've gotten into hot water – we've kind of been pushing this – in that they have no controls on who is viewing pornography, but also who is showing up on their site. In Canada there's non-consensual images laws; there's underage images laws; all this kind of stuff. But Mindgeek doesn't seem to care about the law, and they just want to make a lot of money. They have a big office building in Montreal; I've been out there protesting outside of their office building in Montreal. They are two main executives that we know of, based in the Montreal area, so this is a particularly Canadian story, although the ramifications of their actions are felt all across the world. I know that you've been working on legislation and also working on spreading this message. What do you see the future of protecting children online? What do you hope to get? Arnold Viersen: While my private member's motion way back in 2015/16, kind of opened the door to this discussion, I've seen of other countries – France, Germany, the UK, Australia, and then states like California, Utah – have all really been grappling with this as well. While we got accolades in Canada early on for starting to tackle this, other countries have very much leapfrogged us. There's some good stuff happening in terms of age verification of those that are using pornography, and then also of those showing up in pornography, that's kind of happening all around the world. It's branching out a little bit beyond that, to child safety online becoming more of a much broader topic than just pornography use. It's about, what are the impacts of social media, why are our children more depressed and more sad and participating in other socially detrimental activities? Instagram for example – their own internal documentation showed that one of their notification features was causing suicides in 12-year-old girls. So this whole online safety world and regulation is growing. While I started in this fight around the pornography issue and keeping porn out of the hands of kids and keeping kids out of porn, it's broadening out from there into this whole online safety world. I liken it to traffic laws. When the car was first invented, it was cars and horses and buggies and there were no laws around how the roads work. We've made decisions on which side of the road to drive on; we've made decisions about painting lines on the roads, and the lights on the roads, and what the lights mean, and putting guardrails, and all this kind of stuff. So we're likely going to proceed down a similar path when it comes to the use of the Internet. For a lot of the audience, they're very passionate about these issues but they're not necessarily sure kind of where to start on, you know, wanting to get involved; how can people get involved? Arnold Viersen: Well first, the biggest thing is, just quit looking at porn. That's a big challenge. In Canadian society we know from the stats 85% of the population is participating in the use of porn. So the most impactful. I would say it's the simplest; it's not necessarily the easiest but it's the simplest. Beyond that there's local organizations that are fighting human trafficking in your local area. Human trafficking happens within 10 blocks or 10 minutes of where you live. There's likely an organization in your community that's already participating in the fight against human trafficking, sheltering the victims of human trafficking, that sort of thing. If you want to get involved politically, there's huge opportunities for all of these things municipally, provincially, and federally. Municipally, you have the licensing of body rub parlors, that kind of thing. That all municipal. Libraries, what kind of content is available on library computers, that kind of thing, that's all municipal. Provincial, you have the education system – how do we train our children to identify victims of human trafficking and also to not become victims of human trafficking. So there's education opportunities. Then federally, becoming a Member of Parliament – the more Reformed Members of Parliament we have here the better, in my opinion, so... get involved with your local Conservative association, run for nomination, that sort of thing... Thank you so much for sharing. My final question would be, how do your Christian convictions come into play in everyday life on the hill as an MP? Arnold Viersen: Being a Christian on Parliament Hill is a luxury – it gives me a solid worldview, a launching pad from which to launch from for the issues I work on. It also allows me to see issues clearly, having a solid worldview. Being a Christian on the Hill also sometimes pigeonholes. People see you coming, which has its advantages as well – people, generally, because they know I'm a Christian, they think I'm going to think in a particular way, which often I do. So it opens the negotiation up on any particular issue; you have a good starting point, a good basis point Being a Member of Parliament is an extremely rewarding position, and one that you have to enjoy every day that you're here, because I've watched many Members of Parliament come and go, so make the most of it. Thank you so much for coming on to speak with me today. Be sure to go check out . Arnold Viersen: Yeah, check out my website and follow me on Facebook and Instagram so you can keep up with all the work that I'm doing in Parliament. Thanks for watching this episode. If you would like to support this work, please consider liking this video, subscribing to this channel, and sharing it with friends and family. For Reformed Perspective, I’m Alexandra Ellison in Ottawa....

Pro-life - Abortion, RPTV

RPTV: Katrina Marshall on being a pro-life advocate

TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison. Today we bring an inspiring video of a young woman who has been working to make a difference in the pro-life movement. Her journey has taken her to the heart of Canada’s capital, Ottawa, where pivotal decisions about the sanctity of human life are made. Through dedication and passion, she has been working tirelessly to reshape the way people view the value of every human life. Join us to learn more about her challenges and her commitment to a cause that has the power to change lives. Katrina Marshall: "I'm Katrina Marshall. I wanted to be in Ottawa. I was connected with a church here, sort of online during COVID, before I was actually in the city. And it's not too far away from my parents in Kingston." Marshall got involved in the pro-life movement after an internship with the Canadian Center for Bioethical Reform (CCBR), an educational human rights organization dedicated to making abortion unthinkable in Canada. Katrina Marshall: "I actually heard about the CCBR internship from an ARPA Canada newsletter – my brother shared the ad with me and I applied to their four-month internship March of last year, and I could not go back from that experience. So it's been kind of life-changing." As part of the internship Marshall spent the past two summers traveling around western Canada educating people about the truth of abortion. Katrina Marshall: "Basically we spend most of it doing pro-life street outreach and various projects. We do what we call 'Choice Chain' which is basically a public protest. We use abortion victim photography in all our projects, and we do things like door-knocking, and we do flyer delivery known as postcarding. So we are witnessing to a world that is often very pro-choice in our society, and we have conversations with people. Sometimes we'll just display the photos so that everyone knows what abortion actually looks like, and it's incredible. It's very hard work to do it all day, every day, but it's so rewarding. "It's hard to summarize, but you live for those conversations where they do end up changing their mind. They often end up sharing a lot, even a person, male or female, starts out completely supporting abortion, often by the end of the conversation, they will completely reject abortion in all circumstances, including the hard ones. So when that happens, it's almost hard to believe, because it's such a controversial topic. And often we see a lot of people who are really set in their ways, and who don't want to give us an inch. So when someone changes their mind it kind of just makes your day, sometimes even makes your week, depending on how it goes. But it's also definitely something that we get a lot of hate for, as you can probably guess. So we get a lot of verbal abuse, and things like that, but it is really worth it for the positive moments." Marshall spoke about the process of what having on-the-street conversations is like. Katrina Marshall: "Everyone is coming from a different place. So we always just try and ask them what they think about abortion, get their viewpoint. Often they'll bring up a hard circumstance where they think it is justified. Some people support abortion for any reason; some – in fact many, mostly – for limited reasons. So we always want to speak into that, into the specific situations they're discussing, and the issues they're raising. Not only that, but find out where their ideas are coming from, where that opinion was formed, and what's going on in their life, to really have compassion for them, and not just for the babies (as we are often accused of). "So if someone said they supported abortion for most situations, but not for casual encounters which they deem is irresponsible, I would ask them to consider a toddler in that same situation. If someone brought up the case of poverty, I would ask them if they would tell a mother who is in poverty, a mother of a 2-year-old, if she could kill that child to solve that problem. People are often taken aback: 'Of course not; of course we can't do that!' We use this common ground especially to begin. Then we use that analogy with the toddler and question, 'If we can't harm born humans, then why can we ever harm the same humans a few months earlier?'" Changing the general public's mind about abortion can be a path toward succeeding in political legislation. Katrina Marshall: "A lot of people have asked me why I do this specifically, and my answer is that there are so many people, especially pro-lifers, who don't recognize the value of educating the public on the issue of abortion, and how that plays into other arms of the pro-life movement, such as the political arm, or the pastoral crisis arm. If the public doesn't see that abortion is wrong then these other arms will not succeed. I see a large gap in the educational arm of the movement. What better way to save babies than to to talk with people who don't think that abortion is wrong at all, and in fact it's often celebrated." As a Christian, Marshall says that she can educate others about abortion as much as possible but at the end of the day it is Jesus Christ who saves lives. Katrina Marshall: "You can't change everyone's mind. When you realize what abortion is, how children are being starved to death, and ripped apart, and no one loves them, it's hard to recognize that sometimes you're the only one that will stand up for them. You're the only one that will love them, and honor their legacy, and it's hard to recognize that only God can change minds and only He can save lives in this work and you have to surrender that to Him." For Reformed Perspective, I'm Alexandra Ellison in Ottawa....

News, RPTV

RPTV: Ed Fast wants to stop gov't from offering euthanasia to the mentally ill

OCT 18, 2023 UPDATE: The vote today failed to pass, but it was close, with the entire NDP and Conservative caucuses supporting Ed Fast's Bill. For more on the vote, see ARPA Canada's update here. TRANSCRIPT Welcome to Reformed Perspective. I’m Alexandra Ellison. In March of 2021, Parliament passed Bill C-7, which amended the criminal code, changing the provisions for doctor-assisted suicide in Canada. Medical Assistance in Dying, otherwise known as MAiD, became available to those whose natural death is not reasonably foreseeable. It also expanded euthanasia to become available for those with mental illness to come into effect in March of 2023. Last March, the federal government delayed the mental illness provision of Bill C-7 by one year, promising to create safeguards. However, they have yet to act on this promise. Today, we bring you a critical development in this ongoing debate. Conservative Member of Parliament Ed Fast is putting forth Bill C-314, aimed at stopping the Canadian government from expanding euthanasia to those suffering solely from mental illness. Ed Fast: “Well, this is an existential issue for Canadians because it's quite a step to expand Canada's assisted suicide laws to the most vulnerable in our society, the mentally ill being among the most prominent of those. I want to make sure the mentally ill are protected against government overreach. We know that they are intensely vulnerable to abuse, and we want to make sure that Canada's laws do not extend to the degree that those most vulnerable Canadians risk unnecessary death, and needlessly die." On October 3, the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition hosted a press conference in support of Bill C-314. Anike Morrison is a recent graduate of an Ontario university, whose passion for advocating this bill stems from her own experience with mental health. Anike Morrison: “I have gone through quite a bit when it comes to my mental health, and I've had some really hard times. But I am coming through the other side of that, and I can say from personal experience it gets better. And I am living proof that with help, with counseling, therapy, family and friend support, medical care, that you can actually come out through that other side of a dark period of time without having to take your own life, or without having to leave your family and friends grieving for the loss of your life. You can actually get better and enjoy life.” Whether the bill passes or not, Morrison hopes this will open the conversation about euthanasia nationally and internationally. Anike Morrison: “I’ve been hearing that Canadians across the country are in support of Bill C-314. So I'm hoping that that movement and progress carries the Bill to be passed. But even if it is not, I'm hoping for increased conversation around medical assistance in dying in Canada, and even internationally, and having a national discussion about what is appropriate, and what is merciful, and what is truly helpful for our society, and what, maybe is going too far.” Dr. Paul Sabba is a family physician in Quebec who has been advocating for pro-life policies. In 2020, he wrote a book called Made to Live reflecting personal stories and debunking the myths of euthanasia and assisted suicide. Dr. Paul Sabba: “For example, if I refer a patient to a psychiatrist here in Quebec, it's about a 5-month waiting time from the time I make the referral to the time they actually get treatment. In the present legislation, which will be coming into effect for people with mental disorders here in Canada in March of 2024 – people will have access to be euthanized – there's only a three-month waiting period. We don't end the person's life because they have a disorder, or health or mental challenge, or are in distress. We have to help them in that distress. We have to meet what their needs are. That's our goal. That's the idea of the Good Samaritan; you don't leave the person half dead. You care for them. You treat them. We make every attempt to bring them to wellness, as close to wellness as you can, and find out what their needs are." Bill C-314 is currently at its second reading, with a vote scheduled for October 18 to see if it will go on to further study. Ed Fast: “I'm hoping that cooler heads will prevail and that members of all parties in the House of Commons will understand what's at stake here – the lives of the most vulnerable in Canada – and that they will support my Bill.” The reality is the general public is in opposition to the government’s expansions to euthanasia. According to the most recent Angus Reid Institute survey, just 28% of Canadians are in favor of MAiD for individuals with mental illness, while a significant 82% of Canadians emphasized that enhancing mental health care should be a priority before considering MAiD. For Reformed Perspective, I’m Alexandra Ellison in Ottawa. Other RP euthanasia resources For resources on how to understand and respond to arguments for euthanasia, check out the articles below. Euthanasia and the folly of downward comparisons Why euthanasia restrictions fail – “safeguards” become “barriers to access” Euthanasia film highlights horrors, but offers the wrong solution ...