The founding convention of the national Christian Heritage Party was held in Hamilton, Ontario, November 18-20. Some of the major questions facing the delegates were: Would the party appeal d o only a very small part of the political spectrum? Was the name “Christian” in the name of a party a draw back for many people? (Imagine a political party having the nerve to endorse Christian core principles!) Is Canada really a multi-cultural, secular nation now that doesn’t give a hoot about Biblical values?
Was Ed Vanwoudenberg, acclaimed leader for he party, marching to the tune of a of a Drummer whose influence has waned drastically in the past forty years? Was Canada only a nominally “Christian” country where almost 90 per cent of the people claim to be “Christian” – but where abortion is wide-spread; euthanasia is quietly practiced; and active homosexuality is condoned? Was the OCHP is a party of “old people” with “worn-out, old-fashioned” ideals? To each of these questions the response from the crowd at the gala celebration at Hamilton Place was a resounding “No!”
The first Christian Heritage Party national convention vibrated with vitality. Three hundred resolutions were privately debated at the three-day convention by the 534 voting delegates from almost all over Canada, representing over 5000 members in the one-and-a-half-year-old party. (One even came from the Yukon!) Not bad!
On the closing night, over two thousand people (at least 30 per cent of whom were under 25 years of age (attended the Hamilton Place gala. Billed as a “Canadian Cultural Event,” it turned out to be a joyous, hand-clapping celebration of songs, hymn sing-a-longs backed by a large, talented orchestra and a huge mixed choir under the direction of Leendert Kooij.
Ed Vanwoundenberg gave the keynote address at this event – a fighting, inspirational, witty speech that was frequently interrupted by applause. The CHP, Vanwoundenberg insisted, was not a reactionary, right-wing party, but a free enterprise party with a genuine concern for your neighbour who is in need, with the goal of raising the standard of living for all Canadians of whatever colour, race or creed, by pointing to the standard of life, the Bible, as God’s revelation.
“The CHP,” he said, “unanimously passed a resolution affirming human life was sacred from conception and the human body is the property of God and that no person, institution or government shall tolerate encourage, or decree death by means of abortion, euthanasia, or suicide.” (What other political party in Canada has one that?)
“The party,” Mr. Vanwoundenberg stated, “Makes no apologies for being a party of principles, values and responsible conduct and the only ‘real alternative’.” He denounced the old line parties, describing them as being “all the same colour – only different shades,” and playing off regional differences. (At a private press conference given earlier, Mr. Vanwoundenberg described one left-wing enthusiast as being “so far left – he’s left Canada.”)
“Why should our forefathers apologize for founding a Christian country and has served us so well all these years, and made Canada attractive for so many people to emigrate to he asked. “Our Christian heritage is an umbrella over Canada protecting all Canadians.” Even the original name “Dominion of Canada” was of Biblical origin, but now, he stated, because of a decline in principles, it has become known as the “condom-minion of Canada.”
Mr. Vanwoundenberg said the CHP must become the sign post for the nation, pointing the way for a return to Biblical values. He strongly defended the use of scriptural principles as the basis for decision-making and the foundation of the party. What better values have been expressed, he asked, than the Ten Commandments, the Sermon on the Mount, and the great command to love God above all and our neighbour as ourselves? These are values, he said, which a great majority of Canadians, whether Christians or not, feel comfortable with and also feel protected by.
Capital punishment for heinous crimes would be carried out on very rare occasions and only after an unanimous verdict by the judge and jury and after cabinet approval. Mr. Vanwoundenberg denounced universal day care as being prohibitively expensive, running into billions of dollars, which would ignore the fact that the primary duty of parents is to raise their own children; and that is done better in the home than an institution. Due to the complexities, some issues, such as the Meech Lake Accord, free trade and senate reform, he said, have to be studied in committee further before policies can be arrived at.
It was refreshing to attend the Christian Heritage Party convention where basic values were stressed, as opposed, to the old-line parties philosophy, (I was a past Liberal candidate, remember), summed up as; “Get elected and stay elected.”