by Danielle Martell

 The 2020 BC Election campaign is well underway with voting day fast approaching on October 24. As we head to the polls it’s crucial as Christians that we consider the impact of our voting decisions, the weighty issues affecting society, and the need for a godly voice in civil matters.

Christians have a rich history of thoughtful engagement in society, such as the development of hospitals, caring for the dying and elderly, equal rights for women, ending slavery, defending the poor, upholding freedom of religion, caring for families, protecting human life from conception to natural death, advocating for a free and democratic society, encouraging the freedom of speech, economic prosperity, generosity, society development, education, defending godly justice and valuing moral boundaries for the good of society and human flourishing. These are just some of the many ways Christians have contributed to the well-being of our culture.

However, in recent years, we have begun to see the decay of many of our long sought-after values, being upheld in society by our governing bodies. For instance, we have progressively seen our Charter of Rights and Freedoms become suppressed in the courts and in governing policies. Cancel culture, which is thriving in BC, has suppressed our freedom of speech. Parental rights are suppressed in our schools, our homes and in the medical care of our children. Culturally speaking, morality has reached an all-time low. The freedom of religion faces an increasing strangle hold and conscientious objection is becoming fraught with difficulty.

These are just some of the challenges Christians are forced to consider when voting with a Christian conscience. Do we want more government involvement in our lives? Or do we want less? How do we speak into the current situation and what will bring about the society reformation that Christians have a rich history of contributing to?

The good news is that as Christians head to the polls in a few weeks, we can do much more than vote. We also have the right to be involved in all layers of society. We can vote both with our voice and with our actions. It’s time for change and Christians are good at change. We believe in it because of the life transforming power of Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit, to bring change about and enable God’s people to be change agents in God’s world, for God’s glory and the benefit of people. So, with this in mind, we have no need to feel helpless in the face of yet another election, but hopeful in the power of God to effect change through us. What party then should you vote for?

The current party in power is the BC NDP, which currently holds a minority government and makes deals with the BC Green Party to maintain power. The leader, John Horgan, called a snap election a year early. Many criticized this move, suggesting it to be a power grab in light of the pandemic, while using the stardom of Dr. Bonnie Henry as opportune. As of Oct. 5, Horgan has not yet released his party’s platform. Some promises already made, as reported by Richard Zussman in Global News, include increasing the BC Access grants for eligible college students for up to $4,000/year and the NDP would also like to add an additional 2,000 spots for students in the technology sector.[1]

The NDP has boasted to the public about the diversity of their candidates for election, noting among others, that they have four youth running and six LGBTQ. Historically, the NDP is known for being a socialist party. They seek to aid the poor and afflicted. They work toward racial equality, have been continual defenders of pride groups, and they currently uphold SOGI 123 in our schools. They are opposed to the Trans Mountain Pipeline. They are known for high taxes, big government oversight, red tape for industry, and economic downturns. Under their leadership our farmers, among others, have been experiencing increasing loss of property rights, auto insurance rates have increased, and the forest industry has suffered. The NDP also compelled euthanasia into palliative care facilities across the province, though this was not required in bill C-14 and it also prompted many conscientious objectors to lose their jobs or resign. To see the platform of the NDP, visit http://bcndp.ca.

As for the BC Liberals, led by trained physician: Andrew Wilkinson, one of the parties more attractive campaign promises is to immediately eliminate PST for one year, followed by a return of 3% PST in year two, until the economy stabilizes from the pandemic. According to the party’s platform on their website, they stand for choice in auto insurance leading to lower rates. They intend to open up the forest industry, a leading economic engine of BC’s northern-interior. They will provide aid in the face of the addiction crisis, reduce taxes & red tape, provide affordable housing, encourage equality in wages for women & men, work on building the Trans Mountain Pipeline, pursue environmental care, build the infrastructure needed in the lower mainland, provide aid to schools and long-term care homes, support tourism, and provide “safe-regional reopening” in co-ordination with health professionals. When it comes to moral concerns, Liberals were the ones who initiated SOGI 123 into BC schools, many have failed to stand against euthanasia and abortion, with the exception of MLA Laurie Throness. BC Liberals have not spoken out against the imposed euthanasia into palliative care facilities or the destruction of parental rights in the landmark decision of AB vs CD under the NDP government. Their social agenda is liberal and not conservative, it is not pro-life, and nor is it pro-family.

When it comes to the other minority parties, the BC Greens have a new leader, Sonia Furstenau. The Greens are promising support for renters, want senior’s care homes to no longer be profit driven but governed by not-for-profit and public governing bodies. They will continue to defend indigenous rights and invest in the clean energy sector with high-paying jobs. Furstenau also plans to defund the fossil fuel industry. In 2019, Andrew Weaver, former leader of the BC Greens, put forward a controversial bill, M218-2019, to the Legislative Assembly that would make conversion therapy illegal, while putting many Canadian freedoms at risk including parental rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and the freedom of professionals to practice according to their expertise. The bill never became law but the effects of such a bill on culture are being felt in society today where people are afraid to speak up when their ideologies differ from the government for fear of losing their jobs or facing the courts.

The BC Libertarians are the next largest party with a full platform on their website: libertarian.bc.ca. They are followed by the BC Conservatives: bcconservative.ca.

The Christian Heritage Party of BC have a new leader in Laura-Lynn Tyler Thompson. For more on them see the other article in the Light Magazine this week: The Christian Heritage Party of BC, a Christian voice in the upcoming election

There are a total of 87 ridings in British Columbia. After nominations closed, Elections BC published a list showing that only the NDP and Liberals are running candidates in all 87 ridings.[2] The BC Greens follow close behind with 73 candidates, followed then by the Libertarians: 25, the BC Conservatives: 17, the Christian Heritage Party: 5, the Communist Party: 5, BC Vision: 3; Wexit BC: 2; Rural Party of BC: 1, and 24 Independents.

Now is the time for Christians to be informed about who they are voting for and to take an active participation in society. Christians have historically been driven to engage politically with the culture of the day out of love for God and neighbour. Christians can be a voice for societal change and action, influencing the future.

This journey begins with a vote.

[1] Accessed Oct. 1, 2020: Richard Zussman, Global News, https://globalnews.ca/news/7372189/bc-election-post-secondary-tent-city.

[2] Accessed Oct. 5, 2020: https://elections.bc.ca/provincial-elections/provincial-candidates/candidate-list/.

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