On Nov. 6, Rod Taylor was acclaimed new leader of the Christian Heritage Party at their triennial convention in Hamilton, Ont.
Taylor, the deputy leader and western regional development director, who has run in the riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley in British Columbia, was unopposed but party rules still required a vote of affirmation. Taylor received 94 per cent approval of more than 100 leadership delegates.
In his speech to the leadership portion of the three-day convention, Taylor said he believed pro-life and pro-family principles were at the core of the Christian Heritage Party. He thanked everyone who attended the convention, those “who care enough about our nation” to support the CHP.
Taylor acknowledged the previous leaders, including founding leader Ed Vanwoudenberg, Heather Stilwell, and Ron Grey, and their contributions to the party. He said every leader would have liked to see the CHP “break the invisible barrier” that is keeping the party out of the House of Commons. “I hope and pray we live to see a CHP candidate elected” as MP Taylor said, but, he added, “not getting elected is not failure … but a reflection of the shallowness of our institutions.” Furthermore, he said, running as a CHP candidate is a “living sacrifice for God.”
He endorsed the party’s Jethro Project, the call to have every member sign up a new member to grow the CHP’s resources in terms of volunteers and finances. He said the party has to be ready for the next election, with “watchful preparedness and purposeful activity.”
He also reiterated his position that the CHP “should be choosing our battles” and “run our best against the Tories’ worst.” He said pro-life Conservatives deserve praise for serving the unborn. He said the pro-life movement should work together to elect pro-life MPs. To that end he will encourage CHP electoral district associations in ridings with Conservative MPs who are actively pro-life – those he called “pro-life heroes” – to work in nearby ridings where “the Conservatives are unwilling to run pro-life candidates.” Vowing not to impose these decision on EDAs, he said he would urge local CHP district associations to “work where they are most needed.”
Noting that just 11 per cent of Canada’s population lives in ridings where the CHP ran candidates in 2011, he articulated a strategy to get the CHP noticed. He lauded the new CHP website design, vowed to work with the broader pro-life movement, and promised to earn media coverage. He said the party must have an Ottawa presence so that the CHP perspective can be provided to national media to address a wide range of issues.
Peter Vogel, the vice chair of the CHP, announced that Taylor had been affirmed as leader after dinner in the evening following the well-attended (an estimate 450 people) keynote address by Christian apologist Ravi Zacharias. Vogel told The Interim that “Taylor has been a soldier with us for many, many years” and that he will make “an outstanding leader.”
New national president Dave Bylsma said “the future of the party has never been brighter for the CHP.”