Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Open Letter to Canada's Catholic Voters

In an open letter to Catholics, Canada's Catholic Organization for Life and Family (COLF) writes:

"At this time in the history of Canada, a realistic look at society reveals a fundamental problem -- the loss of respect for human life and dignity.


"As Catholic citizens, we not only have the moral duty to exercise our civic and political responsibilities, but also the right to be involved in the life of society, each according to his or her own area of expertise, and without denying the Gospel values that are central to our lives. We are not obliged to suppress our moral conscience in order to live in society. There should be no separation -- but instead coherence -- between our faith and our daily choices, made evident in our personal, family, professional, political and cultural decisions."

COLF invites voters to examine critically the platform of each party, and to evaluate those platforms "in the light of the plan of God by studying the social doctrine of the Church."

"The question for the Catholic voter is: How, in the light of the Gospel, can I use my vote to advance the common good in Canada and throughout the world?"

Monday, January 9, 2006

The debates don't matter.

They never have. What matters, of course, is the media coverage of the debates. In other words, what the papers and talking heads tell you to think so you can sound informed at work the next day.

The Toronto Star's lead right now is that "Paul Martin came out fighting." Guess he won then. Cause I'm informed....

Sunday, January 8, 2006

Five weird things about me

Having been duly tagged by The Surly Beaver, I am pleased to relate five weird things about me, for the general edification of anyone who cares:
  • My wife married me. All her friends consider this weird. Just ask them.
  • I love watching Pride and Prejudice - the A&E version is always in our DVD. I cried at the wedding part. Once.
  • I am a math wiz, and enjoy playing around with old cipher systems and inventing new ones. Large prime numbers excite me.
  • I almost died of pneumonia when I was 13.
  • It's not unusual for a man's mind to drift into fantasy. Mine are all about my wife. My friends say that's weird. Which causes me to wonder who they're fantasizing about....
Everyone has just about been tagged by this, so I'm tagging...anyone who hasn't been. Go for it.

Friday, January 6, 2006

Catholics must stop voting Liberal

Normally I'd offer my own take on a letter like this. In this case, I'll just leave it at "What he said." From my inbox today:

Fellow Catholics,

I’m writing to you about the importance of the current federal election to our faith and its place in this country. This election is essentially a showdown between Paul Martin, a Catholic and Stephen Harper a Protestant. Yet the future health of our Church in Canada relies on you and I ensuring that Paul Martin is not Prime Minister after January 23rd.

There is a longstanding connection between Catholics in Canada and the Liberal party. For decades Catholics felt at home in a party that was moderate on economic policy and moderate on social policy. Catholics and Liberals seemed to fit, today, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Liberals that once stood for family and tradition now forbid dissent on key issues for many Catholics. Paul Martin has gone as far as to forbid MPs in his party from bringing forward any bill that would limit abortion. As you may know, Canada has no abortion law meaning that right up until the mother gives birth, abortion is legal if a doctor can be found willing to perform it. There are many Liberal MPs who would be willing to bring forward a private member’s bill to ban late term or partial birth abortions, but Paul Martin won’t let them. Late term abortions are something that even Dr. Henry Morgentaler doesn’t agree with, refusing to perform them. Paul Martin believes banning them is wrong and allowing MPs to say so is worse.

Paul Martin, who still claims to be a strong Catholic, was also behind the push to legalize gay marriage. What you should know is that Mr. Martin is now saying that those who oppose gay marriage aren’t fit to be Prime Minister. Catholic bishops, priests, Knights of Columbus, school teachers, principals or lay people who follow the doctrines of the Church are all unfit to be Prime Minister in the eyes of Paul Martin. Due to Stephen Harper’s opposition to gay marriage, Martin asked Harper why he wants to be Prime Minister adding that the Prime Minister’s job is to protect the Charter. In Martin’s eyes once again disagreement isn’t allowed in fact it is unCanadian even if the person he is disagreeing with is upholding the beliefs of the Catholic Church. While Martin says he is the defender of the Charter, he has refused to speak up for the Knights of Columbus recently ordered to pay $2,000 to a lesbian couple for refusing to rent them a hall based on religious grounds.

Stephen Harper’ Conservatives are not the perfect party for faithful Catholics, but they are better than Martin’s Liberals. The Liberal party will never change as long as they can count on the support of Catholic voters and believe me they take Catholic votes for granted. An American Deacon named Keith Fournier wrote about last year’s US elections saying Catholic should always be the noun; we are Catholics not Catholic Democrats or Catholic Republicans. In the same way here in Canada we cannot be Catholic Liberals or switch to being Catholic Conservatives, no political party deserves the unquestioning support of any faith group. For far too long the Liberals have been able to count on the support of Catholics like you and I and look at where it has taken us. After passing gay marriage the Liberals are now planning to introduce a bill legalizing euthanasia if they are re-elected. While we cannot switch from being Catholic Liberals to being Catholic Conservatives we can vote as Catholics should for the party that will stand up for family and respect life from beginning to end.

I urge you to vote for the future of Catholics in Canada on January 23rd and support Stephen Harper and your local Conservative candidate.

Monday, January 2, 2006

When the Tory Can't Win: Strategic Voting for Conservatives

So what do you do as a good Tory when your local Conservative candidate stands no realistic probability of getting elected? You can vote for him/her anyway, or you may choose to play a strategic role in denying the riding to the Liberals by voting for someone else. It is this latter decision that can plague a Tory voter living in a swing riding that just won’t be going to the Conservatives this time out.

Case in point: Beaches-East York; Liberal incumbent Maria Minna is in a tight race with the NDP’s Marilyn Churley, a popular local MPP who just resigned her provincial seat to run federally. Jim Harris, Green Party leader, rounds out the field. Now you can certainly vote for Peter Conroy, the local Conservative candidate, but most reasonable people agree that come January 24 either Minna or Churley will be the MP. Deciding to exercise the only real power you have – to deny the seat to Minna – is a very real option being considered by a lot of conservatives.

Conservatives I know are making these kind of strategic decisions in many ridings, and by and large they are deciding to do whatever they can to deny the Liberals another seat. In Beaches-East York, this means voting for Churley. In Trinity-Spadina, they’re voting for New Democrat Olivia Chow. In Churchill, Manitoba three-term incumbent Bev Desjarlais is getting the nod as an independent candidate, after getting dumped by the NDP for her opposition to same-sex marriage. Desjarlais is in a tough battle against Liberal star-candidate Tina Keeper of North of 60 fame. There are many other ridings where Conservatives are similarly tested (Fry-Robinson, anyone?), and the decision to hold one’s nose is never easy.

Doubtless there are many who feel being a Conservative means backing your local candidate no matter what. While there is nothing wrong with this approach, it cannot be denied that others prefer to make any difference they can. Sometimes, this means electing the only person capable of keeping the riding from the Liberals. In 2006, fewer seats for the corrupt Liberal Party of Canada translates into a Conservative government.

Even if it means helping elect political foes like Churley, Chow and others.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Open Thread: Penance

As we begin 2006, let us call to mind our sins: and all of the (perhaps) odd type of penance we may have been assigned for them.

A combination of prayers and time in front of the Blessed Sacrament are all I have ever faced. How about you?