Outgoing Letters and Public Statements


Related Materials on the Uncertainty in Parliament

Read suggested prayer and action items from the EFC.

Read a related November opinion column by EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger

Read commentary by EFC Vice-President Don Hutchinson 

December 3, 2008
Re: Wisdom and Goverance 
Open letter to Parliamentarians and Fellow Canadians

In an immediate post election time of economic uncertainty, when political stability, civility and statesmanship are critical, there is a need for Canadians and Parliament to transition from divisive and partisan politics to focused good governance. We need more than rhetoric about civility in the House of Commons. Canada needs a renewed practice of civility where humility, self-control, respect, courtesy, and good manners are practiced.

The political and economic uncertainty in our nation is palpable as we watch recession play out across the world stage. All national party leaders have stated that we are on the verge of a recession, the degree of which is uncertain. Canadians already face this reality. Some have seen their life savings and retirement fund significantly reduced. Some are facing temporary layoffs or the loss of employment. Some who are already unemployed or on fixed incomes will have difficulty in the now projected contraction of the economy.

The Canadian government faces certain limitations on what it can do in the face of global economic turmoil and there is legitimate disagreement among Canadians as well as our political leaders about what course of action the government can and should take. Resolving the course of action needed for this situation requires careful thought and the exploration of many possibilities. Careful thought and exploration requires open dialogue – the willingness to discuss, listen and consider alternatives. Our political institutions and traditions require a common commitment to reason together. It requires wisdom and heeding the simple rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Accordingly, I respectfully appeal to the leaders of our nation, the Members of our House of Commons and Senate and make these requests:

A plea for civility: After expressing the desire for a new level of cooperation and civility in the House of Commons, the rancour, barbs and vitriol among Parliamentarians and their partisan supporters has escalated. All four party leaders and many other prominent Canadians have made calls for a more conciliatory and tempered approach to the nation’s business. The behaviour of the House has not reflected a positive response to these calls. All people of goodwill are encouraged to compel our political leaders to remember their commitment to civility and to personally and collectively take responsibility to treat their colleagues on both sides of the floor of the House with dignity and respect. In fact, we as citizens also need to practice civility and respect in our communication with and about Parliamentarians on this issue, as well as in our conversations around the dinner table, with colleagues and neighbours, in our letters to the editor and calls to talk shows.

A plea for integrity: The language of coup and constitutional crisis may be overstated. There is a need to be disciplined in our rhetoric and choice of words to avoid creating instability and crisis beyond the serious issues already confronting the nation. The rule of law remains and the debate is not about altering the constitution or breaking with Parliamentary traditions, but how these traditions apply in the current context. There are, however, genuine questions of confidence and legitimacy: which party and leader have an agenda that can garner the support of a plurality of the elected representatives? Given the results of the recent election where no party or leader was given a majority, who can exercise power with legitimacy? On these issues there may be and are differences of opinion among people of goodwill. Now is not the time to play into people’s fears, but rather to explore possibilities, articulate principles and search for common ground.

A plea for statesmanship: It is vital that we consider the role of government. In Paul’s letter to the Romans the focus is on the role of the government and government leaders, who are called ministers of God and who are to govern for our good. This is the duty of Parliament and this supersedes partisanship. In the structure and practice of democracy, partisanship is one cornerstone of our Parliamentary system. However, history has shown that government must transcend partisanship to be effective, and this is vital in the context of a minority Parliament. The term statesman, still one of the most complimentary of descriptions one can assign to a politician or civic leader, has historically been reserved for one who is able to transcend partisanship or parochial interests for the greater good.  

A plea for grace: In all human interaction the practice of apology, forgiveness and changed patterns of behaviour are integral to living and working with others. Who is beyond fault? Yet an admission of fault or error has come to be considered fatal in politics and politicians are loath to admit fault even if they, in their heart, know otherwise. Will an apology, if offered, be accepted? This too would require politicians to do something they are also not accustomed to – gracefully accepting an apology and not using the admission of failure or error to further discredit the apologizer or resurrect old grievances. Rather, they would extend grace and allow an opportunity for restoration and the hope of integrity in future interactions. Asking forgiveness and forgiving others. Some may argue that this is not how the real world of politics works. Well, perhaps it is time for something different.  Sincere apologies extended and forgiveness granted would go a long way.

These disciplines, civility, integrity, statesmanship and extending grace, would be significant steps toward restoring and improving the functionality of Parliament and fostering political cohesion in uncertain times. It would help to restore the faith of citizens in a system intended for our good, and in our elected representatives. Good governance produces peace and security in the best of times and the worst of times.

Bruce J. Clemenger
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

September 27, 2008
Re: One Nation Under God 
Submitted to the Ottawa Citizen September 29, 2008

Kudos to Robert Sibley for succinctly covering the issue of religion and politics in two nations with such a brief article. Please note that in the fifth paragraph from the end, Mr. Sibley might have set hearts at ease by noting that the 2002 decision of a Saskatchewan judge was overturned by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal (leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied). The Court of Appeal determined that “sacred texts,” in and of themselves, could not be considered hate literature.

Don Hutchinson, Vice-President, Centre for Faith and Public Life
General Legal Counsel
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

September 3, 2008
Re: When Jill wants to be a Jack 
Published in the National Post September 4, 2008

In this first piece of back to school articles, Brian Hutchinson has touched on some concerns with curriculum development in the contemporary Canadian world of the human rights commission.

However, he does not note that a substantial number of parents – and by their invitation several organizations, including the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada – have commented on the Social Justice 12 and Making Space, Giving Voice initiatives. The EFC specifically requested that instruction on human rights issues be sensitive to all groups identified under human rights legislation, that invitation be given to representatives of all identified groups to comment on the curriculum development, and that all instruction be age and classroom demographics sensitive in addition to parents being aware of the curriculum teaching schedule. Parents, after all, will be the one’s answering questions about why what was taught at school may be different from the rest of a child’s life experience.

The EFC expressed concern to the Ministry of Education that, as Lorne Gunter states elsewhere in the September 2 National Post (A Handmaid’s Tale, page A12), “on today’s trendy ladder of rights, freedom of religion is on the bottom rung. It is the first to get stepped on by ambitious rights climbers.” This should not be the case in education of children on the subject of diversity in a pluralist and democratic society.

Don Hutchinson, General Legal Counsel
Director, Law and Public Policy
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

August 18, 2008
Re: Forcing Our Doctors' Hands 
Published in the National Post August 20, 2008
Related Article

The underlying understanding of freedom of conscience and religion in the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario’s (CPSO) draft policy appears to be that they are to be exercised only in private. This is not, and never has been, the state of the law in Canada.

The Supreme Court of Canada has been clear. Freedoms of conscience and religion are broad and coveted rights. The Court has stated Canadians have the right to “declare their beliefs openly and without fear …and the right to manifest” them (R v. Big M Drug Mart). Provincial human rights legislation adopts and codifies this to a certain extent by prohibition of discrimination based on creed.

The courts have stated that rights may be limited in specific circumstances (such as to protect public safety) and when possible, the conflicting rights of parties are to be accommodated.

Physicians currently have a codified right to conscience objection limited by the Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics where a patient is in “urgent need for medical care.” This princple is found in several CMA policies and provides for protection of doctors’ human rights as well as ensuring patients are not put at risk.
Lorne Gunter says, “freedom often isn’t easy.” Former Supreme Court of Canada Chief Justice Brian Dickson stated, “If a person is compelled by the state or the will of another to a course of action or inaction which he would not have otherwise chosen, he is not acting of his own volition and he cannot be said to be truly free.”

Faye Sonier, Associate Legal Counsel
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

July 22, 2008
Re: Another memorial stained 
Published in the Ottawa Sun July 24, 2008

Like any respectful Canadian, I am disgusted by the defacing of the war monument. At the same time, I am compelled to respond to the insinuation that it is homeless people who gather at the benches near the monument who are responsible.

I know most of those who gather at the benches. In fact, just two weeks ago, I joined with them and about a hundred people who have homes at that very spot to remember Andre Hamel, one of their own who had died — a story this paper covered beautifully.

For my friends, the benches are a gathering spot. A place to rest, and find shade from the sun. And now, following Mr. Hamel’s memorial, it has added significance as something of a sacred spot.

How many of us would defecate in our living rooms? Or worse, in a location we deem sacred? My guess is none.

I could make a reasonably well-informed guess as to who was responsible, and would wager they had homes to return to when they were done partying. But that’s not the point of my letter.

Coverage of Andre’s memorial, and what he meant to so many, began to erase a deeply entrenched sense of “us and them,” and gave a glimpse of the humanity we all share. We cannot afford to lose this to more unfair assumptions and cruel judgment.

Julia Beazley, Co-ordinator, Streetlevel: The National Roundtable on Poverty and Homelessness
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

July 24, 2008
Re: Beijing Olympic Games Opening Ceremonies
Letter to The Honourable David L. Emerson, P.C., M.P. and The Honourable Helena Guergis, P.C., M.P

Dear Minister and Secretary of State,

In light of your upcoming visit to China for the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games, we would like to take this opportunity to respectfully urge the government of Canada to continue to engage the Chinese government on its human rights record relating to freedom of religion.

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada (EFC) is deeply concerned about China’s continuing infringements on religious liberty.  Olympic athletes, including Canadian athletes travelling to China to compete in the Games, have been barred from bringing their own spiritual advisors with their teams. Traditionally, every competing country has been allowed to bring spiritual advisors to the Olympic Games for the benefit of team members. Instead, China has said that it will provide Chinese spiritual advisors to each national team. Not only could this pose problems for the athletes on a cultural and language level, but it demonstrates the Chinese government’s ongoing suspicion of world religions and religious leaders. Further, the advisors who have historically travelled with national teams have been selected because they have the confidence of the team members and national Olympic team officials which will be lacking in those approved and provided by the Communist Party of China. This decision could jeopardize the spiritual health of the athletes and is ultimately a reflection of the continued ongoing reluctance of China’s acceptance of true freedom of religion.

Additionally, the EFC is deeply concerned about the health and welfare of China’s religious community, particularly the underground Protestant Christian community. The EFC’s Religious Liberty Commission (RLC) recently released a report (attached) on the persecution trends faced by Chinese Christians in the lead-up to the Olympic Games. Despite promising human rights improvements, our research reveals that religious persecution has increased in advance of the Games.

As you celebrate our country’s great athletes this summer in China, we respectfully ask that you remember the basic human rights of freedom of thought, conscience and religion that are being denied the world’s athletes, Chinese Christians and many others in China and that you will use every opportunity to reiterate the seriousness of this issue.

Thank you for your ongoing efforts to uphold human rights in the important diplomatic work that you do.

Don Hutchinson
Director, Law and Public Policy
Chair, Religious Liberty Commission

cc: The Honourable Bob Rae, P.C., M.P., Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic
      Ms. Francine Lalonde, M.P., Bloc Quebecois Foreign Affairs Critic
      Mr. Paul Dewar, M.P., New Democratic Party Foreign Affairs Critic  

July 22, 2008 
Re: The Company Muslims Keep
Published in the National Post July 23, 2008

In the midst of the points communicated by Jonathan Kay in his editorial is a comment on Canadian law that is in need of correction. While the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission did find the passage from Leviticus to be hate speech, their decision was overturned by the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada intervened in the case to attain the decision that ‘sacred texts’ cannot in and of themselves be considered hate speech. Leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada was denied making this decision the law of the land.

Don Hutchinson
General Legal Counsel and Director, Law and Public Policy
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

July 3, 2008 
Re: Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Abortion and the Order of Canada
Letter to the Governor General of Canada


I write to you to express deep disappointment in the announcement that Dr. Henry Morgentaler is to be awarded the Order of Canada.

The following is a statement we released on July 1st:

In awarding Dr. Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada, an honour has been bestowed upon someone who participates in, promotes and, for many, symbolizes the moral tragedy of abortion. It is a reminder of the shameful reality that Canada is one of the few countries in the world without laws protecting the most vulnerable among us – unborn children. This vacuum is not the result of consensus. This is not about health care but a lack of political leadership to reasonably address the full breadth of the issue.  

For the millions of Canadians who celebrate the gift of life and the dignity of the human person at all stages of life, this is a very sad day. 

By giving this award, the narrow interests of some and the misguided judgment of others have diminished Canada’s highest civilian honour. Knowing the controversial nature of this act, the process and the timing have discredited the institution. Rather than a day of celebration of what we share as Canadians, Canada Day 2008 has become a day of great sorrow for many that Canada would honour one rather than lament the loss of hundreds of thousands taken in the womb.

May this tragic decision serve to reinvigorate people of good will and cause us all to renew our commitment to champion the protection of all human life, to plead for the voiceless, and to care for the vulnerable amongst us.

I respectfully ask that you and the selection committee reconsider this nomination.

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

July 1, 2008
Re: Dr. Henry Morgentaler, Abortion and the Order of Canada 
EFC public statement sent to the National Post on July 1. An edited version was published July 3, 2008.

In awarding Dr. Henry Morgentaler the Order of Canada, an honour has been bestowed upon someone who participates in, promotes and, for many, symbolizes the moral tragedy of abortion. It is a reminder of the shameful reality that Canada is one of the few countries in the world without laws protecting the most vulnerable among us — unborn children. This vacuum is not the result of consensus. This is not about health care but a lack of political leadership to reasonably address the full breadth of the issue.

For the millions of Canadians who celebrate the gift of life and the dignity of the human person at all stages of life, this is a very sad day.

By giving this award, the narrow interests of some and the misguided judgment of others have diminished Canada’s highest civilian honour. Knowing the controversial nature of this act, the process and the timing have discredited the institution. Rather than a day of celebration of what we share as Canadians, Canada Day 2008 has become a day of great sorrow for many that Canada would honour one rather than lament the loss of hundreds of thousands taken in the womb.

May this tragic decision serve to reinvigorate people of good will and cause us all to renew our commitment to champion the protection of all human life, to plead for the voiceless, and to care for the vulnerable amongst us.

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

June 13, 2008
Re: Apology for Residential Schools

Note: the EFC's Aboriginal Ministries Council also responded to the apology.

Letter to the Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister:

The apology of the Government of Canada for its part in the residential schools program which caused much injustice, abuse and pain was necessary and most appropriate. It is a significant initiative which I believe will contribute substantially to the process of reconciliation between Canada and its First Nations people.

I wish to thank you for your leadership and courage displayed in making the apology, and for providing the opportunity for aboriginal leaders to respond in the House of Commons.

May God grant you wisdom and grace as the Canadian government moves forward in its relationships with our First Nations peoples.

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

April 29, 2008
Re: Listen, Learn and Serve: Diagnosing Events in the Middle East 
Opinion column published in Christian Week, April 2008

Our approach to the complexities of the Middle East should be characterized by hope and humility.

Ultimately our hope of peace for the Middle East is found in the Second Coming of Jesus and the full expression of the Kingdom of God on Earth. While we wait expectantly for His coming, ours is not a passive faith. We are called to be living expressions of Kingdom life here and now.

Our faith is not just a future expectation, but a lived-out expression of what it means for God's Kingdom, for His will to be done “on Earth as it is in heaven.”

In expressing this hope, we also know and experience the fallenness of humanity, and are acutely aware of our own sin and brokenness. This brings humility to our witness. We live in the in-between of the Kingdom to come, but not yet fully come, of forgiveness and redemption and the angst of doing that which we do not want to do and of seeing through a glass darkly.

As Christians it is with hope and humility that we approach the complexities of life, and these should inform our entry into discussions and debate about the Middle East.

As Canadian Christians our attitude of humility should include a recognition that we do not know how we would respond to the acts of violence that continually tear into the lives of Israelis and Palestinians – other than the quick and controversial measures taken by the Canadian government in response to the violent acts of the FLQ.

Whether between French and English, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal, we have not encountered the level and intensity of violence experienced by people on all sides in the Middle East. Our inability to deal prudently with the treaties between Canada and many native peoples should also cause us to pause before offering commentaries on justice and solutions to others on matters of land.

Our hope is evidenced in the reconciliation and friendships that have been expressed in the lives of followers of Jesus in the Middle East – between Messianic Jews and Palestinian Christians for example. We can learn from the expressions of respect and the collaboration between Christians, Jews and Muslims.

At home we must resist the temptation to offer quick judgments or uninformed solutions. We can also set an example to others by refusing to engage in what one denominational leader called identity theft – the practice of labelling others using self serving language that the others would not use to describe themselves. Let us begin by seeking to understand the theologies and nuances of the differing positions.

In our engagement with other countries, Canadian Evangelicals have learned to come alongside local congregations and national churches and serve them. Our advocacy regarding foreign policy can then be informed by this engagement. The same should be true of the Middle East.

Let's ensure that the voices of Jesus' followers in the Middle East are sought out and heard. They have felt overlooked or ignored by other Christians. Yet they are contextualizing the call of the Gospel in the region we are debating from a distance. Their experiences and understanding of life on the ground are invaluable.

A critical task for us is to support fellow believers and not thwart what God has called them to be and do. If you travel there, seek them out, attend their services and let them define themselves through their testimonies. Tell their stories to others and support them in ways that they deem meaningful.

Our task is to serve them; let's do so with humility and a shared hope.  

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

April 28, 2008
Re: Human Rights Commission Decision About Christian Horizons
Opinion column published in the National Post, Apr. 29

To find related news articles, see our EFC in the News (2008) webpage (scroll to May).

The EFC is intervening in this case. You can support this initiative with a donation.

Elsewhere on the Web are other versions of this Hutchinson column about the Horizons decision:

Imagine that Mother Teresa and her Missionaries of Charity had been told that their ministry in the streets of Calcutta was, in essence, not ministry but “social work.” In order for the sisters to continue in their work, they would no longer be permitted to require that staff members share their beliefs and ministry commitment.

As bizarre as this may sound, this is essentially what a single adjudicator acting as an Ontario Human Rights Tribunal recently decided in the case of Heintz v Christian Horizons.

Christian Horizons is, and has been since 1964, a practical ministry expression of the Evangelical Christian faith. Over the decades, it has ministered to special-needs children at group homes across Ontario. Christian Horizons' success contributed to the province's decision to close large institutional care facilities and move to a community group-home model for the provision of services for developmentally disabled individuals. As the large institutions closed, Christian Horizons expanded to over 180 residential homes, over 2,500 employees and approximately 1,400 residents.

Maintaining the faith convictions that motivate its ministry, Christian Horizons requires its staff to agree both to its statement of Evangelical Christian belief and a "Lifestyle and Morality Statement" that was originally developed and agreed to by the directors, management and all staff. The document is based on the same biblical understandings that form the foundation of the ministry.

In 2000, Connie Heintz, a five-year employee who had been raised and educated in an Evangelical Christian environment, confessed to Christian Horizons management that she was engaged in a continuing lesbian sexual relationship in violation of the beliefs she had held for 30 years and the agreement she had committed to in writing when joining this unique ministry. Ms. Heintz was offered counseling in her Evangelical tradition to assist her in determining whether she could return to compliance with the basic requirements of her employment. Instead, she resigned, filing a human rights complaint four months later.

As Ontario Human Rights Commission adjudicator Michael Gottheil noted, in his April 15 decision, the case goes to the "very identity and existence" of Christian Horizons.

Unlike the United States, Canada has no constitutional concept of the separation of church and state. Indeed, our nation has a history of recognizing religious differences and allowing them to exist peacefully. Federal and Provincial governments have long provided funding for activities conducted by religious organizations for the purpose of accomplishing state goals including education, health services and, in this instance, the care of special-needs children.

At no time was the Christian identity of this ministry hidden from government funders, staff, residents or their parents. In fact, the Evangelical nature of Christian Horizons was an appealing feature to government, parents and staff in considering the needs of those placed into care. A representative from the Ministry of Community and Social Services testified that "Christian Horizons was an agency with a particular willingness and ability to accept some of the most challenging placements."

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal's finding that Christian Horizons be required to abandon its statement of faith and its Lifestyle and Morality Statement does, as Mr. Gottheil noted, go to the very identity of this valued community partner. In falsely concluding that we should be treated as a garden-variety social-service provider rather than a group engaged in religious ministry, Mr. Gottheil pretzels his way through earlier decisions of human rights tribunals and the courts that would disagree with his conclusion.

Christian service of others is an integral extension of the Evangelical Christian faith. The attempt to sever that link is to misunderstand the nature of religion and undermine the very ethos that undergirds Christian Horizons' expression of care and compassion for others. Ultimately, it serves to undermine the supply of loving ministry to those who would benefit most from its provision. 

Don Hutchinson, General Legal Counsel and Director of Law and Public Policy
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

April 17, 2008
Re: Film Credit Proposal Falls Short, Evangelist Says
Letter submitted to the Globe & Mail, Apr. 18

Has Canadian Family Action Coalition President Charles McVety been targeted because of his religious beliefs as he has claimed? In the several articles covering McVety and C-10, the Globe has used the words evangelical and evangelist to describe him. And while McVety is the president of a Christian college, on C-10 he was speaking on behalf of CFAC which is neither evangelical nor an evangelistic organization. The CFAC presentation to the Senate Committee on April 16 made no reference to evangelical or evangelistic matters, only to the concerns of Canadians –- particularly as identified in a COMPAS poll.

It is not the normal practice of the Globe or reputable journalists to note the religious affiliation of the spokespersons representing a business, political or not-for-profit organization -- so why make an exception in this case? Interestingly, making the distinction front page news did serve to galvanize opposition to a bill that the Globe opposes –- and did so at the expense of a broad and diverse religious community.

McVety did not himself appeal to his religious beliefs in opposing C-10, and it is a misuse of the power of the press to use religion as a wedge issue. This does not serve to promote a tolerant and respectful society, nor to contribute to respectful debate about public policy.

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

April 5, 2008
Re: Evangelicals vs. Fundamentalists
Letter published in the National Post, Apr. 8

The reason Robert Fulford has a hard time grasping Christian fundamentalism is his presumption that fundamentalists and evangelicals are one in the same. They are not. Billy Graham is not a fundamentalist -- he is an evangelical who fundamentalists consider too liberal.

Evangelicalism is much larger, broader and more dynamic than fundamentalism. To confuse the two is not only sloppy and inaccurate; to misuse and misapply a label like fundamentalism that has such a pejorative public meaning can only serve to marginalize and demean a significant religious community in Canada.

Perhaps the common courtesy extended to others could be extended to evangelicals as well. Call people what they call themselves.

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

February 14, 2008
Re: Lord's Prayer Not in Tune With Times: McGuinty
Letter published in the National Post, Feb. 15

It is a good thing to take time at the beginning of a day’s activities for prayer, and this is true for the Ontario Legislature. The act of prayer itself is an acknowledgement that legislating is not self-sufficient, that politics and governance are not simply human artifice, and that politics itself is an expression of a broader vision of life and is founded in a higher purpose and reality that transcends our individual interests.

Faith is a dimension of life that deserves expression. How this is expressed is a distinctive feature of Canada’s history. Unlike France’s secularist approach that seeks to privatize religion, or the American strict separation which presumes a compartmentalization, in Canada we have understood that religion cannot be separated from other aspects of life and sought non-sectarian solutions which did not eliminate religious expression nor establish one denomination or church.

Faith should be given expression and done so in a way that reflects the beliefs of those for whom the prayer is offered. The Lord’s Prayer would encompass most but not all, and its author would be the last to want people to be compelled to recite it or for it to become meaningless in the mouths of those offering it. It need not, however, be eliminated and its use could be retained as other provinces have done while providing for other expressions. Many faith communities would welcome the opportunity to provide recommendations as the Premier suggested. 

In the end, those who gather each day to hear the prayer offered should be allowed time and opportunity to confess and give expression to their commitments and beliefs that shape their engagement as our representatives. 

Bruce J. Clemenger, President
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

February 8, 2008
Re: Deciding when Life Ends
Letter to Ottawa Citizen, submitted Feb. 8

What price tag can be attached to a human life? Professor Schafer advocates a balancing act between the economics of Canadian medical care and the doctors who provide that care. But what place for the family or beliefs of the unfortunate patient who is unable to express his desires and failed to adequately plan for unanticipated unconsciousness by developing a living will or enduring power of attorney?

Having personally served eight years on an ethics committee that was on more than one occasion faced with debating the issue of who in the hospital decides when life ends, it is important to say that the religious beliefs of the family should not be ignored. Certainly in a society in which we have both a constitutional Charter of Rights and Freedoms and quasi-constitutional provincial human rights legislation, the religious beliefs of the family cannot be ignored.

When the decision is made that a price can be attached to the unconscious human life before us, it is a slippery slope of economic and medical variables that will determine death, not life, for that patient … and then another … and then another …  

Don Hutchinson, General Legal Counsel
The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

Outgoing Letters


EFC President Bruce J. Clemenger writes regular commentaries about public policy issues. The EFC magazine Faith Today often publishes articles and essays that examine such issues.

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