New leader chosen for FOF-Canada

The newly named president of the Focus on the Family (Canada) Association says social issues will continue to be an important aspect of his administration.

Darrel Reid

“Certainly, from a social action perspective, my heart beats for that,” says Darrel Reid. “I want to make sure the cause of the family is represented well in all aspects of Canadian society.”

Reid is currently finishing up a two-year term as the chief of staff to Reform party leader Preston Manning in Ottawa. He will take over the presidency of Vancouver-based Focus on the Family Canada, vacated by Bruce Gordon, on June 1.

Reid brings with him a PhD in history from Queen’s University in Kingston, as well as degrees from the University of Regina and the University of Toronto. Before working for Manning, Reid was director of policy and research for the Reform caucus. With his wife Barb and two pre-teen daughters, he has been attending Cedarview Alliance Church in Ottawa since his family moved to the area in 1994.

In an interview with The Interim, Reid said he first wants to get a feel for the depth and direction of the Focus on the Family organization before making any radical changes. “I’m starting pretty much from scratch. But I think there are two general things I’m going to be looking at.

“The first is to ensure that Focus is in touch with its constituency and that the services it is providing are relevant and helpful to the constituency as it grows in defence of the family. This means going out and talking to church leaders and ordinary Canadian families, doing some focus-group testing, and so on, just to discover how Focus can best meet the needs of the constituency that has sustained it.

“The second is to determine where Focus can best locate itself in the public square. One of the roles the board has asked me to carry out is to ensure that Focus is ‘an influencer of the influencers.’ In order to do that, we need to talk and network with people in public life and equip people who can speak on behalf of the family in the public square.”

Reid observed that a number of developments have alarmed Canadian pro-family advocates in recent years, not the least of which has been the recent Supreme Court decision in the Vriend case.

“I’m coming out of a political life that I got into because I was concerned about social issues, the family, pro-life and the cheapening value of life in this country. I believe as never before that the family, and the values that sustain it, are under assault in this country.”

He said his Reform background has helped shape his belief that less government is better government. “Government has a role to play but it should be a negative one, in the sense that it should allow families to grow, develop and make choices that are most relevant for them, rather than imposing choices on them.”

Reid added he is looking forward to his assignment at Focus on the Family. “I’m really excited about it.”

Jim Sclater, vice-president of national public policy for Focus on the Family Canada, said the organization is also looking forward to having Reid on board. “God has equipped Dr. Reid with a keen mind, an excellent education and many vocational and life experiences that have prepared him for this significant, new responsibility.”