Finding the time to influence your MP

I want to update you on the progress of Senator Haidasz’s conscience clause bill and draw your attention to several private members’ bills introduced recently that are a threat to the family. But first, a brief note on political “lobbying.”

March 5 was an important day for me; I finally made sure that the big “H” word would not be able to loom over me.

Here I am, busy meeting members of Parliament on behalf of Campaign Life Coalition and challenging everybody else to meet with their MPs, but I still hadn’t sat down with my own MP. And you know what the reason was – probably the same reason that afflicts many of you reading this article – I forgot! I kept forgetting to call and make an appointment because I was so busy with other things.

Too much on the go

How many of you are in that boat? The reason you haven’t met with your MP is not so much that you are afraid (after all, many of you could contact CLC to be put in touch with somebody else who would be prepared to go with you), but simply because you forgot – because many of us have so much on the go.

I learned an important principle at a leadership training weekend a few years ago which I continue to try practising, sometimes successfully and sometimes not, and that is that we must always try to distinguish between the urgent and the important.

Hopefully, most readers of The Interim consider the protection of pre-born children important and, though we can’t all be “activists,” very few of us are in a position where all we can do is pray. I urge you to try applying the principle of distinguishing the urgent from the important – make sure you don’t allow even the many legitimate cares of this world crowd out your participation in issues of eternal importance.

Oh yeah! The big “H” word, if you haven’t guessed, is hypocrite!

On the legislative front – Senator Haidasz, one of the very few Senators who, in recent years, has been prepared to speak out in defence of pre-born children, has just retired.

We are saddened at this loss of a spokesman for life, but we thank him for all that he has attempted to do to influence the legislative agenda and wish him and his family all the best during his retirement.

Since Senator Haidasz was retiring, the legal and constitutional affairs committee, which is examining his conscience clause bill, agreed to hold one meeting just prior to his retirement so that the senator would have the opportunity to speak in defence of his bill.

The bill, however, is not at the top of the list of priorities for the committee so future hearings on the bill are yet to be scheduled and and the calling of witnesses, therefore, has not started.

Several private members bills that threaten the family have been introduced over the past few months. If you have a particular concern in these areas, you are urged to contact the MP who introduced the bill, expressing your concern as well as your own MP letting him/her know well ahead of any debate where you stand on the issue.

1. Tony Ianno (Lib., Trinity-Spadina, Ont.), on March 11, introduced Bill C-368, an act to repeal Section 43 of the Criminal Code, which would essentially outlaw the use of corporal punishment, or spanking, by parents.

Contact Tony Ianno at (613) 992-2352, or write to him at the House of Commons (address at end of article). Also contact Reform MP Garry Breitkreuz for petitions against the abolition of Section 43 (corporal punishment). Contact him at (613) 992-4394, or write to him at theCommons.

2. Last month, Mac Harb (Lib., Ottawa Centre) introduced as many as a couple of dozen bills at one time which would change the definition of “child” in Canadian law. He admits that the motivating factor behind his initiative is to bring Canadian law in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a disturbing development.

One of his bills (C-344), the Canadian Child Rights Act, would actually add a body of child rights to Canadian law that mirrors the UN Convention. Contact Mac Harb at (613) 996-5322, or write to him at the House of Commons.

Tax discrimination

On a positive note, Reform MP Eric Lowther, who heads up his party’s family caucus, has decided to take on the finance minister over the tax discrimination that exists today against single-income families.

He addressed the issue twice in the House of Commons during the week of March 16-20 and, very dissatisfied with Paul Martin’s answer, is calling on Canadians who want to see fairness in this area to back him up with letters to the finance minister.

Write Paul Martin at the House of Commons. Contact Eric Lowther’s office for more information at (613) 995-1127 or write to him at the House of Commons. He would like you to send him a copy of the letter you send to the finance minister.

The House of Commons address is: House of Commons, Ottawa, ON, K1A 0A6.

Remember, stay alert and do your part.

(Tim Bloedow is a lobbyist for Campaign Life Coalition in Ottawa. He writes a monthly column on political affairs for The Interim.)