Christian Heritage Offers Alternative
"People say they don’t want to waste their vote by voting for us, but their vote is already wasted on the Conservative Party, because it doesn’t represent their views."
"The greatest violation of human rights in Canada was when the government took aboriginal children away from their homes and put them into residential schools." - Rod Taylor, Deputy Leader, Christian Heritage Party
Jim Hnatiuk’s six year leadership of the Christian Heritage Party has come to an end. In this time of transition, Poletical’s Jeff Hodgson wanted to check in with the party to assess where it is, where it’s going and what the future for Canada’s most conservative party will be. We were happy to sit down with the Deputy Leader of the Christian Heritage Party, Rod Taylor, to discuss the future.
Jeff Hodgson: What does the Christian Heritage Party have planned for 2014?
Rod Taylor: We’re holding our annual convention, which will double as a leadership convention on November 5th to the 8th, in Hamilton, Ontario. We’ll have Christian apologetics leader Ravi Zacharias as our keynote speaker which will be exciting. We also need to strengthen our EDA’s and get into election readiness mode.
Hodgson: Any leadership candidates coming forward?
Taylor: One of Jim’s acts as leader was to appoint David Reimer as the interim leader. This was affirmed by our national board. He’s a pastor and he’s been involved in our party for years. He’s very enthusiastic and we believe he’ll mobilize and encourage our members leading up to the leadership convention. He’ll start meeting with electoral associations across the country this year.
Hodgson: The party hasn’t been able to elect a member since it was founded in 1988. Is there any discouragement within the party at this time?
Taylor: We started almost at the same time as the Reform Party back in 1986-87. Neither of us got anyone elected in 1988, but the Reform Party got Deborah Grey elected shortly after in a by-election and that was the launching pad that allowed the Reform Party to gain credibility and support. This allowed them to grow and gain momentum. We do have to admit that it’s been a long time and we haven’t had success in gaining a seat in Parliament, but the three main objectives are…
#1. Provide true Christian leadership and defend, promote and uphold biblical principles in federal legislation.
#2. Gain seats in Parliament so we can have a direct influence in policy changes.
#3. Contend for and attain the leadership of the Federal government of Canada.
We believe we are already achieving the first goal simply by continuing. Our supporters are going against the tide, but we believe God is able to give us the ability to elect members to Parliament. That hasn’t happened yet, but all the reasons we came into existence are still there and things are getting worse, so we’ll stay the course.
Hodgson: Do you think Canada is less friendly towards Christianity in general and how does this impact the Christian Heritage Party?
Taylor: Elements of our society have become increasingly hostile to Christianity and a Christian political point of view. The CBC and the left-wing media have done an effective job of pushing social agendas that are hostile to Christianity. That’s a challenge for us.
Hodgson: There’s a lot of social conservatives that are supporters of Stephen Harper’s Conservative Party of Canada. What are you hearing from them these days?
Taylor: We like many Conservative Party MP’s within the Harper government. They have put their career advancement on the back burner in order to speak out. They’ve faced opposition from Harper and the inner circle of the government. It’s encouraging to us that they are doing what’s right. What is discouraging to us is that we’ve heard from socially conservative people over the years that think Stephen Harper is going to do something about abortion, for example. When he was in opposition, people said he had to keep quiet in order to win. When he had a minority they thought he had to wait until he won a majority and now they’re saying the majority of MP’s have to be pro-life before something will be done about abortion.
People say they don’t want to waste their vote by voting for us, but their vote is already wasted on the Conservative Party, because it doesn’t represent their views.
Hodgson: What can be done?
Taylor: The only thing that is going to sway the Conservative Party is the loss of votes toward our party. If 20% or 30% of the people voting for the Conservative Party voted for us it would accomplish more for social conservatives, by making a statement. This would work especially well in ridings in which the Conservatives have landslide victories anyway.
I live in Nathan Cullen's riding, which is the opposite. Conservatives have never won in this riding, so voters may as well vote for us here too, since “throwing away a vote” is what they’re doing anyway by voting Conservative.
Hodgson: What about having an MP cross the floor to the CHP?
Taylor: We totally believe that if we even had only 1 MP the political landscape of Canada would change. So it’s not about winning in one fell swoop, it’s about getting a foothold. Look at what Elizabeth May accomplished.
Taylor: There’s also a lot of Conservative Party MP’s that would be welcome in our party. There’s 18 members that aren’t out of line with the principles of our party. We’ve seen from their voting record on things like Bill C-279 and Motion 312 that many Conservative Party MP’s could offer their constituents a better brand of representation than what they’re currently getting from Harper.
Hodgson: Any thoughts about Maurice Vellacott?
Taylor: Maurice Vellacott is retiring in 2015 and he’s doing a lot of good in his final term. When a motion or policy comes through and these members distinguish themselves with their courage and integrity, we try to let them know that we support them. It’s implicit that we would welcome them into our party without having to constantly ask them...but they understand they’re welcome in our party.
Hodgson: What about taking a Tea Party tactic and using the Christian Heritage Party as a wing of the Conservative Party?
Taylor: No one has talked about that recently. Former leader Ron Gray attended the United Alternative and proposed rolling the CHP into a new conservative party if the delegates agreed to honour the protection of innocent human life from conception and honour the supremacy of God clause that is already contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. They weren’t interested, so we need to offer an alternative.
Hodgson: What are those main alternatives?
Taylor: The four main alternative policies we offer in contrast to the Conservative Party of Canada are as such…
#1. Protection of human life.
#2. Restoration of the definition of marriage.
#3. Free speech.
#4. Fiscal conservatism.
If the Conservative Party demonstrated a real commitment to these issues we’d have to reconsider what it is that we’re doing, but until then we’ll offer an alternative.
Hodgson: A growing plank of conservatism is Libertarianism. Why should these folks consider voting for The Christian Heritage Party?
Taylor: You don’t have to be Christian to recognize that the rights and freedoms we’ve come to enjoy in Canada are rooted in a traditional Christian worldview. Our core philosophy relates to libertarian views. Certainly government has overreached terribly. The Conservative Party is an example of failure to control the growth of government and it’s hurting people.
This is quite libertarian...we’d like to eliminate income tax. We believe it’s wrong to tax someone on their earnings. The harder you work and the more hours you put in, the more the government takes from you.
We believe families are the best place for children to get their education and moral training. It shouldn’t be replaced with big government. The greatest violation of human rights in Canada was when the government took aboriginal children away from their homes and put them into residential schools. This imposed a government agenda on the children’s development and their belief system. This is another reason why government should be as small as it possibly can be. Give Canadians a level playing field, and as long as they’re not harming others, we should be in control of our own personal choices.
Hodgson: Thanks for the interview.
Taylor: My pleasure.