Thursday, February 5, 2009

Will Christian Right Stick With Harper's Conservatives?

Stephen Harper's Conservatives have done very well in attracting Canada's Christian constituency. In our most recent federal election polling indicated that Harper's Tories garnered roughly 75% of the votes among those who attend Evangelical Churches. That percentage is roughly equal to the number of Evangelical Christians who typically vote Republican south of the border. VANCOUVER SUN STORY

The obvious question is...Can it hold?

Harper has done nothing on issues important to Christian voters, and by all indications he has no intention of touching any of the contentious issues near and dear to many social conservatives. Two of the biggies are obviously Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage, but Harper never addresses either of these concerns. Christian voters must be deeply disappointed in a Prime Minister who won't even discuss many of the issues they feel most passionate about, let alone act on them legislatively.

Of course some might ask if there's any other alternative. Disaffected Progressive Conservative Christians were a major part of the impetus which saw Preston Manning's Reform Party vault to national prominence, which in turn nearly wiped the old PC party off the political map. Manning though was never able to achieve the political power Stephen Harper has achieved, and yet Christian voters continue to see their concerns ignored.

So what will it take? Does another Preston Manning have to emerge on the scene, creating a new party for Canada's social conservatives? Perhaps not. There is already a party which would likely appeal to many of Canada's devoutly Christian voters.
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The Christian Heritage Party has been around since 1987, fielding its first candidates in the 1988 general election. It was de-registered for a while, during the time when the old Reform/Alliance parties were attracting a lot of social conservatives. It was re-registered in time for the 2004 election and has continued to field candidates ever since. In the 2008 federal election the CHP received over 26,000 votes nationally, roughly the same number they had in the 2006 election when overall voter turnout was much higher.

In 2008 they elected a new party leader in Jim Hnatiuk, a veteran of Canada's Armed Forces who is currently a deacon with Emmanuel Baptist Church. There is a complete platform available on their website: which includes a Pro-Life stance on abortion as well a commitment to the traditional definition of marriage.

For those concerned that the CHP doesn't have policies outside of the socially conservative Christian realm, don't worry...they do. Their policies cover everything from Economy to Immigration, from Foreign Affairs to Resource Management:

Rather than waiting and hoping in vain for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives to bring attention to the issues most important to socially conservative Christians, maybe its time to rally behind a party that won't bend to political expediency. I don't think any rational individual would hold out any hope of the CHP achieving overwhelming electoral success when we next go to the polls. But even the election of a single MP would give the CHP a platform from which to speak, and the ability to bring issues such as Abortion and Same-Sex Marriage to the table. Something the Conservative Party of Canada in general and Stephen Harper in particular are totally unwilling to do.

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