Just in time for the 2015 federal election, a new non-partisan resource offers support for Canadian Anglicans to engage with parties and candidates on a range of vital issues rooted in shared prosperity and protecting the most vulnerable members of society.
Entitled Compassion, Justice and Reason: An Anglican Approach for Election 2015, the free downloadable resource consists of double-sided sheets on 10 different justice issues highlighted by the Anglican Church of Canada and rooted in the Marks of Mission.
Highlighted by a letter from the Primate to all party leaders, Canada is a country of abundance, yet not all of its people benefit from that wealth. The role of political leaders is to guide all Canadians towards a more prosperous future, considering all voices while protecting the most vulnerable among us and elevating the relationship with the First Peoples of this land.
Among the issues highlighted in the election resource are:
- Child poverty;
- Overseas development assistance;
- Peace in the Middle East;
- Caring for creation;
- Interfaith inclusion;
- Justice and corrections;
- Homelessness and affordable housing; and
- Intergenerational inequalities
Each resource sheet includes a theme, background on the issue, a description of the Anglican experience and perspectives, and questions for candidates for what their party would do to address the issue. Links to further information and resources are provided, while a separate section offers tips for a successful meeting with one’s Member of Parliament.
The impetus to creating an election resource for Anglicans came from multiple sources. A government relations advisory group in the diocese of Ottawa and social justice coordinators in various dioceses had each expressed interest in producing such a document, while an ecumenical resource produced by the Canadian Council of Churches inspired the creation of a similar resource for Anglicans.
Public Witness for Social and Ecological Justice Coordinator Henriette Thompson played a key role in creating the resource and pointed to the importance of the church using its voice to speak in solidarity with those who are marginalized in society.
“I think that it’s an opportune time for us to be actively engaged in this election period, and stating by our actions that we really hope Anglicans will exercise their role as citizens,” Thompson said.
“We live in a democracy,” she added. “We can’t take anything for granted. We have to work hard to preserve and protect the rights of people and to work for the well-being and the safety of all people, young and old, and so this election is a wonderful opportunity for us to engage in the conversations … I hope that this resource will contribute to that engagement in some small way.”
Another driving force behind the scenes was the Rev. Laurette Glasgow, special advisor for government relations, who said the document serves three functions: helping Anglicans understand issues that are priorities for the church, encouraging people to vote, and making politicians more aware of Anglican concerns.
“We’re not just saying, ‘Do this, do that,’” she noted. “We’re saying, ‘Here’s what we’re engaged in on a whole range of issues, and here’s our experience and here’s how we want to work with you.’”
To raise awareness of issues highlighted in the resource, the Anglican Church of Canada will publish regular web stories on each issue until the election on Oct. 19. Visit the church website each week for new instalments.
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