OTTAWA, Nov. 16, 2005 – The Catholic Civil Rights League ( www.ccrl.ca) today launched its pre-election awareness initiative, through which the League emphasizes the importance of participation in the political process through education on civil rights issues and through voting.
“Without downplaying the challenges, Canadians should realize there is a lot of good to be achieved through the political process,” said League President Philip Horgan. “An election provides all of us with an opportunity to engage in the political process, to listen to proposals from parties and candidates, and, in a respectful manner, to make our views known. We cannot complain about the marginalization of our concerns unless we are prepared to make those positions a priority in any campaign. The positions of existing MPs on marriage, age of consent legislation, suppression of religious speech, and numerous other issues can be determined from existing voting records.
We know what the major parties say about these issues, and the positions of the leaders of all parties are readily available. There are candidates among all parties who are committed to traditional marriage, the sanctity of life, and to building stable communities. It is our duty to raise the awareness of these concerns in the upcoming campaign, and to attempt to make the positions of all candidates known to Canadian citizens.”
With an election call believed to be imminent, the League encourages all Canadians to make themselves aware of where candidates stand on the issues. The League will continue to assist in this process by making views of candidates known with the help of its supporters and allies, together with an effort to ensure that the positions of the major parties and their leaders are also made known.
As we saw in the marriage debate, the position of the party’s leader often had the impact of preventing individual MPs from voting according to their conscience, or to their previously expressed position on an issue. Those actions will find their consequences in the upcoming campaign, said Mr. Horgan.
“Too often, we hear some politicians and columnists say that the so-called separation of Church and state means that religious values and viewpoints don’t belong in the public square. In fact, moral values, which are shared by all the world’s major religions, are at the core of democracy. The anti-religious reactions that come out during public debates on moral issues constitute a new form of discrimination,” added Mr. Horgan. “Despite the imposition of restrictions on our ability to reach Canadians under new election finance laws applicable to third parties, we will make our views known as best we can, by making information available via electronic means, such that it can be made available for distribution by volunteers across the country.”
Catholic Civil Rights League (www.ccrl.ca) assists in creating conditions within which Catholic teachings can be better understood, cooperates with other organizations in defending civil rights in Canada, and opposes defamation and discrimination against Catholics on the basis of their beliefs. CCRL was founded in 1985 as an independent lay organization. The Catholic Civil Rights League is a Canadian non-profit organization entirely supported by the generosity of its members.
For further information: Joanne McGarry, Executive Director, 416-466-8244