Social Conservative Issues - January 27, 2019

"The suppression and silencing of men whose views conflict with the opinions of the group at present in power is a cause of great concern to all Christians who believe in upholding the freedom to preach God's word." Bishop George Bell of Chichester to Ludwig Müller, German Reich Bishop, 1933, on the removal of 'non-Aryan' Christians from their positions in the Church

The part of the above quote that stuck out to me most was "the group at present in power". This applies equally to the right as to the left. The moment we stop discussing the issues, those opposing the status quo have lost. We must remain informed and active in the issues that are important to us.

Education

Haven’t heard a lot on the education front this week, outside of registration for AHEA Convention 2019 opening up. Let me also remind you to please look into Jeremy Williamson’s open letter to the Alberta Ombudsman, sign it and forward it to everyone you know. I am frustrated to see a mere 581 signatures on a letter of this importance. Judging by Jeremy’s followup post labelled Government Criminality, he’s feeling it too.

History

Today was International Holocaust Remembrance Day (Jan 27), and a CBC report on several surveys revealed 1 in 5 Canadian young people are not sure what the holocaust was about or hadn’t heard of it. In Britain, 1 in 20 adults do not believe the holocaust took place, and nearly 2/3rds were unaware of or underestimated the number of people killed.

I would like to believe homeschoolers in general have a better understanding of history, local and international, but this is just a reminder that we cannot allow this subject to slide, whichever system we choose to educate our children.

A View from the Left

Remember that word “progress”? Yeah, it’s as scary as ever. I discovered this article from ThinkProgress that places the HSLDA (Home School Legal Defence Association) as being a Russian pawn trying to infiltrate America. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds, but remember, people actually read this and believe it. Read the first paragraph and you’ll be hooked! Well, that or enraged…

Bills 24 & GSA’s

Again, not a lot on this topic at this time. A few articles of note include an opinion column from the Barhead Leader and an article on a presentation by Parents for Choice in Education in the MyGrandePrairieNow. Out east in Ontario, however, Sue-Anne Levy has written a great article on what their students really need. Check it out.

Charter Freedoms

Outside of the charter freedoms affecting conscience rights to be discussed in the next section, we have a recurring issue across this country wherein anyone who holds to traditional or religious views on issues such as sexuality, they are tagged as ‘hateful’ or ‘bigots’ and actively shut down by individuals and groups at various levels of government. Once again, John Carpay is representing a church organization kicked out of a publicly run space for holding to traditional Christian values. Sadly, this is not unlike the American Vice-President’s wife returning to work at a Christian school where she has already taught for a decade making headline news.

Life

The last two weeks have been abuzz with issues regarding abortion and euthanasia, particularly in the United States, but we have had some political changes up here, as well. In Canada, we have different issues than in the US, the most obvious right now being conscience rights, as it affects all medical professionals in regards to both controversial issues.

Conscience Rights

In Ontario, there has been a decision made by the courts that a doctor MUST refer a doctor who will actively assist them in dying, regardless of their conscience or religious belief. While this was recently heard by the Ontario Court of Appeals, we are now awaiting a response. On January 24th, John Carpay from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms spoke with Danielle Smith on the radio regarding this case. Additionally, ARPA Canada has written on this issue, speaking in particular to how conscientious objections (often religiously based) will prevent many from entering the medical profession, being warned in advance their conscience rights will not be protected. Both conversations are worth looking into.

Euthanasia

Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau shuffled his cabinet, which may not mean much with only 10 months left until the next election. One of the changes was the removal of Jody Wilson-Raybould from her position of Justice Minister, to be replaced by David Lametti. Alex Schadenberg of the Euthanasia Provention Coalition made note of this change due to the positions of Mr Lametti when drafting Bill C-14, our nation’s law legalizing euthanasia. The newly appointed Minister actually voted against the bill, but it was not because he was opposed to euthanasia, instead believing the law was too restrictive.

Fortunately, we do have David Anderson, MP from Saskatchewan, pushing for protection rights to be added to the law. Check out ARPA’s response to this issue and be sure to use their EasyMail system to contact your own MP

Abortion

On Friday, January 18th, Washington DC was host to the 46th annual March For Life (followed the next day by the pro-abortion women’s march), but the big news was New York signing into law a new bill permitting abortion up to birth (subject to the woman’s “health”, a vague, undefined word).

But how does that affect us here in Canada? Well, it doesn’t, but that is because Canada continues to have no law concerning abortion. At all. Abortion at any time, for any reason, is paid for by the taxpayer. Click here for more information. As the Americans are shocked at what one of, if not the, most ‘progressive’ state has done in regards to regulations on abortion, they continue to pale in comparison to our own nation’s cowardice on this issue.

One good thing about these more ‘progressive’ laws is that they bring the issue of abortion back to the minds of the public, and may lead to ever more numbers realizing that the taking of an innocent human life is simply wrong, on every level, and never something to be celebrated.

Political Update - January 13th, 2019

On Facebook on January 2nd, I shared an article by John Robson (highly recommend his articles to students of history and politics), where I stated that “we need fewer politicians and more people who just want to get things done.” For whatever reason, this revelation stuck with me for the next few days, particularly in areas where the government should not or does not need to exist. It is with this in mind that I have decided to focus this ‘newsletter’ into a sort of blog with weekly updates, and see where it ends up.

Whereas social conservative issues are the punching bag for the NDP and Liberals, and a red flag or no-go-zone to the UCP, I believe these issues are the most important ones we need to focus on today. We must continue to stand up and fight for what we believe in: a strong province and nation based in strong communities and even stronger families. My goal is to keep people informed through a weekly summary of articles discussing the current state of politics and culture in Alberta, especially those concerning the family and the communities supporting it.

I have taken my website and repurposed it with this goal in mind, so feel free to look around, share it with others and contact  me with any issues you may feel we need to look at in greater depth. With that being said, there has been a lot in the news this week, so I’ll try to focus that here for you now.

Thank you,
Eldon Siemens

Education

Bill 24 Court Challenge

On Tuesday January 8th, ARPA Canada was given Intervener Status in the court challenge regarding the constitutionality of the Alberta government’s Bill 24. This allows them to bring forward further evidence as to why the bill goes against the nation’s constitution and stand up for Alberta parents and family. If you are able to support this group, please do. Here is their first video of the new year, if you’re interested in what they have planned going forward.

Education Minister - David Eggen

As we see regularly, Mr Eggen is working hard to remove any religious values from the government education system. While it was initially an attack on the Catholic schools who required their staff to live according to Catholic beliefs, he has now gone the next step in actively requesting similar employment contract information from other “publicly funded religious schools.” While the Charter was initially created to protect individuals from the government, it is now being used to ensure individuals abide by new government regulations.

Sex-Ed in Public Education?

I think we are probably near the point where the state should get out children’s sex education, because there is no cultural consent as to what it should be, so I think that should devolve back to the family.” - Dr Jordan Peterson

There is great value in this stance, as Jonathon Van Meren points out regarding the above statement (and others) by Dr Peterson. The LGBT activists and the conservative and/or religious right will never agree, and as such, any such broad-based instruction on such a sensitive topic must be removed from the school system. You can agree or disagree, but while the state is struggling to grow its monopoly on the training of our children, only one ideology can win out and that is what is going to be taught. My thoughts? Better no ideology than the wrong ideology.

School Choice

So we have seen the Alberta Education Minister argue against religious organizations requiring their staff to follow their religious beliefs, after we had Bill 24 implemented, attempting to enforce progressive sexual ideology on our children from which we cannot remove them. Fortunately, here in Alberta, we have choice on our side, right? Sadly, for years we have had several groups, the Alberta Teachers Association included, argue against the separate Catholic, private, charter and homeschool options. The responses have been back and forth, with one opinion column after another. You may choose the public system for yourself and your kids, but never forget that you were given the opportunity to choose, especially when many around the world do not have that option...

Homeschooling in Germany

The ECHR said officials in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, were reasonable in assuming the parents had "endangered their children by not sending them to school".

"Based on the information available at the time, the domestic authorities had reasonably assumed that the children were isolated, had had no contact with anyone outside of the family, and that a risk to their physical integrity had existed," the court added. - BBC News

Have you heard this anywhere before? “What about socialization?” For homeschoolers, this ridiculous question just won’t go away, and even the courts in Germany fall for this nonsense. Home educating is illegal in Germany, which is sadly ironic, considering how the UN Declaration of Human rights enshrined parents having "a prior right to choose the kind of education that shall be given to their children" as a response to the Nazi indoctrination of that same nation’s youth.

All this being said, the power we have as parents over our children’s education, especially in such sensitive areas as sexuality, are clearly at risk at this very moment. If we do not stand up against this now, we will lose what rights we have now.

Gender Identity

It’s a big issue underlying much of our society today, one we cannot get around, appearing in seemingly every issue facing culture today, often intentionally so.

The APA on Boys & Men

This week the APA (American Psychological Association) released the Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men to much consternation from the general public and active psychologists. While I have not read the document myself, I have read several articles on the issues that it purports to attend to: “traditional masculinity” (Post Millennial, National Review and follow-up) in particular, and how that subsequently affects marriage (Washington Examiner). Here’s a 20-minute video by Gad Saad with his thoughts on it, followed by an hour long video by Stefan Molyneux if you want a deeper, more philosophical review. Going back 5 months, Allie Stuckey did a video for PragerU, which is also relevant to how we got to this point.

Political Update - December 28th, 2018

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope you all had a great Christmas break thus far, spending lots of time with family and friends, and possibly eating more than you should have. I know I have, on all accounts, however we haven’t even held our big Christmas party yet (the annual Christmas get together of 4 generations of Siemens is tomorrow). It is times like that that we really see the blessings of a large family, something local MP Garnett Genuis wrote in defense of 2 weeks ago in the Sherwood Park News. The home educating population as a whole has a large number of large families, as any visit to AHEA will attest, and our children are why we do what we do. Remember that every day and continue to hold them close.

Being the weeks before and after Christmas, there is not a lot going on, but here are several articles have caught my attention relating to issues of family, parental rights and home education.

Eldon Siemens

Bill 24 & GSAs

Request to the Alberta Ombudsman

I continue to encourage you to sign Jeremy Williamson’s open letter to the Alberta Ombudsman as found on the Concerned Parents of School District #76 website. His letter notes dozens of concerns that have been brought forward by parents regarding various levels of the education system, from the Minister himself to teachers and non-Alberta Education individuals. The list is extensive, but I urge you to read the whole document, sign it, and encourage others to do the same.  It currently only has 433 signatures, a number I am saddened to see so low, so please check it out before doing anything else.

Letters to Minister Eggen

In what often may feel like a hopeless cause, Catherine Van Kampen has been writing open letters to the Minister, with her final letter of 2018 summarizing her thoughts. I just recently found this blog and have only read a few, but she seems to have a lot of good things to say in her blog (I especially like the one from November 18th). Give them a read. Perhaps it may be a torch you as well can take up, offering the Minister your thoughts as a private, voting, citizen of Alberta whom he has a responsibility to listen to.

Informing the Public

If you have not yet read any articles by Licia Corbella regarding the examples brought before the Court of Appeals in the fight against Bill 24, she spoke on the radio with Danielle Smith on Dec 10th about these issues. Keep informed on these cases.  

Parenting Shift

There have been a number of articles regarding a young boy, “Desmond Is Amazing”, that define the decline of our society, which you may want to look up, should you have not yet heard of him, but one article in particular points to his case as one wherein it is now the parents who are being groomed to accept the new morality. We must recognize this and ensure we fight back against this shift. Additionally, I discovered an old Maclean’s article from 3 years ago on the collapse of parenting, something as relevant today as it was then.  

Other Issues

Education Scores

The Fraser Institute’s blog put out a short little article indicating the failure of the Alberta education system. It appears we are not doing as well as we should, or could, be doing. As home educators, we mustn’t allow the numbers to dictate our learning plans over the relationships we are building with our children, but at the same time, they can not be ignored.

A Global Movement

The new gender construct is not restricted to Canada, it is active around the world. Those in Australia are now addressing conversion therapy, with one organization putting out a quick short 90-second video on the issue.

The End of an Era

MP Pierre Poilievre put out a great video on the closure of the House of Commons. It’s a beautiful piece of our nation’s history about to undergo renovations for an unknown period of time with an unknown cost. I only wish I could have gone inside to see it when I was in Ottawa last year.


Political Update - December 15th, 2018

Merry Christmas!

Not a lot of new information to bring up this week, per se, but there are several new articles this week that I have come across in my usual circles. In these updates, I am trying to remain focused on issues pertaining to education and family rights from a Christian worldview. I do ask you to take some time and look at the first article, as it does give you an opportunity to act and pressure the government to respond. Additionally, if you come across any news articles you’d like to share, or have specific questions or concerns, feel free to relay them to me.

Thank you,

Eldon Siemens

New issues.

Request to the Alberta Ombudsman

On Friday night, Jeremy Williamson posted an open letter to the Alberta Ombudsman on the Concerned Parents of School District #76. His letter notes dozens of concerns that have been brought forward by parents regarding various levels of the education system, from the Minister himself to teachers and non-Alberta Education individuals. The list is extensive, but I urge you to read the whole document, sign it, and encourage others to do the same.  

Catholic teachers must adhere to Catholic lifestyles

The absolute nerve of a Christian (in this case, Catholic) school requiring staff to adhere to the same belief system that school exists to propagate and protect! At least, that’s how the left views in, including the Education Minister, David Eggen. He has demanded the Catholic school boards hand over their employment agreements. Naturally, Bill 24 was also referred to regarding “freedom from discrimination,” and the comments on this issue are exactly as you would expect: “remove funding!”, “separation of church and state!”, “bigots!”. Nothing new, in other words, but once again they are pushing to have any opposing ideology shut down. The Edmonton Journal posted an article on this earlier in the week. On Friday, on CHQR AM770, Danielle Smith spoke with Dr. Kristopher Wells and John Carpay regarding Catholic Schools VS LGBTQ Teachers (starts at 6:00), but this woman drives me batty, insisting you can be Catholic while not holding to Catholic beliefs on marriage and sexuality.

Parental control

While 8 months old, was interested to stumble across this video from a school in St Paul where children were removed from their school without parental consent, as well as continued disrespect by the school board. This event is also referenced in the Ombudsman letter above.

Marriage as part of Sex Ed

Cardus has a lot to offer in the support of the family, and last week put out a report arguing the need change sex ed curriculum to include marriage as a key component. I haven’t gotten a chance to read the report yet, however, so cannot comment on the contents.

Government Bills

Bill 24 - GSAs

“[Parents] do not expect their underage children to be ushered off school property during class time – without their knowledge – and provided with over 100 condoms and a disturbingly graphic “how-to” sexual flip book.” - Poorly written laws leave kids at risk, Theresa Ng & Donna Trimble (Parents for Choice in Education) in a Lethbridge Herald opinion piece.

John Stackhouse wrote a great piece for the Context with Lorna Dueck news website, discussing what GSAs were meant to be and what they’ve become. He clearly identifies what the concerns are and why they are no longer merely social gatherings for pizza and support, as the Minister claims.

Lastly, Part 2 of Faith Beyond Belief’s discussion with Donna Trimble regarding Are We Losing Parental Rights? is available, and I recommend listening to it if you have 45 minutes available.

Political Update - December 9th, 2018

Thanks for tuning in, once again I hope you find this helpful. I’m probably going to try to compile this in my website once I get around to rebuilding it, but in the meantime, feel free to forward anything I write to your friends and family, should you feel this a valuable resource.

Eldon Siemens

Bill 24

What a week! Lots going on in response to the appeal Monday to Bill 24, but at this time we have had no answer from the justices (expect a response in a few months, from what I understand).

To start off, from Faith Beyond Belief, I’d like to recommend Shafer Parker’s video summary on how Government Threatens Christian Schools. Shafer and Jojo Ruba also interviewed Donna Trimble for their weekly podcast, part 1 out now. Well worth the listen.

On the Parents for Choice in Education front, Donna Trimble and Theresa Ng put out a new article on Thursday detailing some of the revelations which had come out at the court hearing on Monday.

Further details in two Calgary Herald articles from Licia Corbella regarding the alarming revelations brought forward at the hearing, as well as the bad info being provided to the court, are must reads. Jonathon Van Maren at The Bridgehead covers both these articles and adds his own thoughts to the conversation.

Basically, we are at the point where a child of any age can be offered ‘help’ through a GSA and taken off the school site by literally anyone, WITHOUT a parent being informed and/or providing their consent, or even supervision by school staff. If I offer a child a candy and they come willingly with me anywhere, I’d be charged with kidnapping, but when this happens under a GSA, the same standards do not apply. (if someone can find fault in this train of thought, correct me, please)


Alberta Bill 22: An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities

As I mentioned last week, I have a number of concerns with this bill and what it does to the family, and that is not making them stronger. On December 4th, the Committee of the Whole finished up their discussions (all politics, no substance) and was passed on 3rd reading on the 5th. If you are involved in or are considering adoption or foster care in the future, this will impact you, as it tells you how you must raise said children. Andre Schutten from ARPA Canada had his opinion column published in the Lethbridge Herald on Dec 6th. Again, for all legislative discussions on this bill, see the Bill 22 assembly records.

John Carpay - JCCF

If you do not know who John is, he is the founder behind the JCCF, and has done a lot of work fighting for our constitutional freedoms against governments and their tentacles that continually try to strike them down. Last month (Nov 10) John spoke at a Rebel Live event here in Calgary, following which he was attacked and black-listed by several media sources. Vince Byfield from TheChristians.com details the events here. Please lift up him and the rest of his team in your prayers, they do a lot of great work.

Political Update - December 1, 2018

Here is your political update for the week of November 25th to December 1st. I may move this to a newsletter format going forward, available to those outside of the Roots group, as I've received interest to copy this elsewhere as well.

Bill 24 Legal Battle THIS MONDAY

This is the big one in the hearts and minds of Alberta parents this year. On Monday, December 3rd, the JCCF will be fighting in the Court of Appeal in downtown Calgary (TransCanada Pipelines Tower, 26th Floor, 8:30am) to have this bill stayed. Some members from AHEA are planning to support, visibly and in prayer, Jay and Marty during this legal case, and I would encourage you to join them. The AHEA Online website and Facebook page has the details.

For more on what is going on, see this story and this story from a couple weeks ago, to be informed of the most recent activity by the Education Minister.

Alberta Bill 22: An Act for Strong Families Building Stronger Communities

This bill was supposed to be a legislative response to the deaths of children in foster care, but it goes far beyond addressing this concern while not actually addressing it, in my opinion. It ensures a child’s “identity” is “repected, supported and preserved” by foster parents, even (or especially) if it goes against their own beliefs.

There are many concerns regarding this bill, several I have noted in my letter to my own MLA and the Minister in charge of the bill (no response), but the most egregious is the removal of the first point to be considered “the family is the basic unit of society” in exchange for family having “the primary responsibility for the safety and well-being” of the child. This week, Dr Starke (MLA for Vermilion-Lloydminster) was able to speak on his amendment, which would have added this line back into the legislation as a guiding principle. Unfortunately, the Minister completely ignored all reasoning and rejected out of hand the amendment. You can read the total of 4 statements on this concern from the Hansard on the Assembly’s website, Nov 28th. Click here for a direct link to those statements.

If you can take a moment to read the statement by ARPA on this bill, you should have at least a top level understanding of the concerns here. For all legislative discussions on this bill, see the Bill 22 assembly records.

Please let me know if this type of thing is helpful. I’ve only mentioned two Alberta government bills at this time, and am trying to determine to what extent I should write on these types of things. Additionally, I just read a really good article on SOGI laws from a US website (here) which does apply to the ideology and worldview issues behind Bill 24.

Eldon Siemens



Introduction

Good evening!

My devotions this morning encouraged me that in “Whatever your hands find to do, do with all your strength” (Eccl. 9:10, echoing Deut 6:5) and this after I started writing this last night. I suppose, perhaps, I shouldn’t have stopped working on this and instead started playing video games with my son? Haha…

At the ARPA breakfast on Saturday immediately before the Roots AGM (same location, ironically), I chatted with several people from the below associations, trying to figure out where God wants me to be putting to use the resources and desires He has given to me (political understanding and desire to make an impact in these areas). Then it was noted during our Q&A session that there are too many sources, making it difficult to follow what is actually taking place in the government and wider world that affects us as home educators in Alberta. For better or worse, this is true, but that is because of the many different angles being looked at: politics, family, education, law, culture, and others. The question then arose, how can we all stay on the same, up to date, page on these issues? Here are a number of resources I personally follow and recommend looking into, and then I make a proposal at the end on how we may proceed.

Resources

The Christians

https://thechristians.com/

https://tedbyfield.wordpress.com/

Last year at AHEA 2017, and again at CCHE 2018, Ted Byfield spoke to this very issue, and I strongly recommend picking up his books (the 3 small ones, especially). He has talked about needing a Christian voice in the media, as we have largely vacated this scene, and it is true. His response was The Christians, a resource that needs more support, in both reporting and recognition. It is a journal designed to keep Christians informed on the issues from a Christian perspective. I am not sure of its current level of activity, but they do put out a weekly newsletter with some excellent articles to keep you informed.

AHEA: Political Updates

https://www.aheaonline.com/political-updates

I assume you all know about AHEA, as it is the largest home education association in Alberta (maybe Canada?). They do have a political updates section to their website, and Terry Yaceyko and Shawna Sundal often have great things posted here and on the Facebook group. There is no outgoing email updates, so you will have to actively watch this page yourself.

Associate for Reformed Political Action

https://arpacanada.ca/

I have been following ARPA for the past year or so, and am impressed with what they are doing and what they have accomplished. While the podcast (Lighthouse News) is on hiatus, as the host won his mayoral bid in October, there are regular updates on many issues, legal and political, that are worth paying attention to. Sign up with them on Facebook, YouTube and on their website. One of the best features ARPA provides is their EasyMail system, wherein you select the issue and your postal code, and the system fills in who you need to contact, and can provide an idea of what to write based on the issue at hand.

Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom

https://www.jccf.ca/

The JCCF is a team of lawyers and law professionals fighting for our constitutional rights, as the government continues to ignore the law as written and do whatever they please. They are the ones fighting for us in the courts on things such as Bill 10 & Bill 24 here in Alberta, but are active throughout the nation right up to cases before the Supreme Court. I strongly encourage you to support these fine individuals and their battles, through prayer and funding, as they truly need it. They will keep you apprised of any updates on the issues they are dealing with, should you choose to subscribe to their updates

Parents for Choice in Education

https://www.parentchoice.ca/

I have been thankful for PCE, Donna Trimble and Theresa Ng and all the work they have done in the fight for our right to educate our children as we, the parents, see fit. Whenever something comes up in AB government, they seem to be on it pretty quick. Subscribe to their newsletter and stay informed on this one.

Home School Legal Defence Association

https://hslda.ca/

While I do not follow the HSLDA as religiously as the other sources on this list, they are fully aware of what is going on in Alberta and the rest of Canada and will be there to protect us when the government comes for our rights to raise our own children (I wish I could say this was not a concern, but we’ve all seen where this current government is going). If you do not already have a membership, I suggest you do. If/When the NDP attempt to shut down home education, the more members HSLDA has, the more Albertans they can legally represent in court.

Faith Beyond Belief

https://www.faithbeyondbelief.ca/

While Faith Beyond Belief is not specifically involved in any of the above areas, and is mostly religious in its content, Jojo Ruba and the team here have a lot to offer, and do step up and discuss current issues and how we as Christians should respond. Based here in Calgary, they are a great resource we should all be aware of and connected with. Additionally, their Be Ready conference in March is about Finding God in Science, and could be a great resource for homeschooling kids. (I regret not bringing my 10-year-old to this last year’s event)

What next?

It was mentioned that while a simple thread in the existing Roots Google group may be visible to all, it also can get lost in the shuffle. Another option involves creating a new group, be it Roots specific or not would have to be determined. Some time ago I felt the need to create a group specifically focused on political involvement in Calgary, which may not be quite what we’re looking at here, but it may be something I am able to start up and manage.

What do you all want to get out of such a group? A weekly news aggregator to bring all important issues together in one place? A point of communication? An email list people are able to monitor? Whatsapp group? Or simply someone someone who is able to give an informed response to any questions you have (or at least know who to ask)?

I’d like to hear what level of information and involvement other individuals would like, and perhaps will attach a survey in the days ahead, if there is interest. Of course, anyone who has read this far is at least curious, right?