Not just another protest organization says president Jim Garrow
At a time when the traditional family structure is under greater attack than ever, a new national organization has arisen to come to its defence.
The national Parents Coalition of Canada was launched at the beginning of July by Jim Garrow of Guelph, Ont., who says he intends to keep the organization from aligning itself with a specific political agenda or religious group.
“It is basically to support the traditions of what family’s all about,” says Garrow, a father of four. “There is no one (else) out there now supporting it from a nonsectarian point of view.”
The NPCC follows on the footsteps of the U.S.-based National Parent’s commission, which has swelled to over 200,000 members in just two-and-a-half years of existence. Garrow says he was challenged in January by NPC leader Peg Luksik to start a similar organization in Canada, but it wasn’t until June that he decided to begin work on it.
So far, he says, the response has been enthusiastic. “We’ve had a 100 per cent membership increase every 10days…I’ve probably sent out 2,700 responses to inquiries (since July 1).” He adds that interest had been expressed by people from various sectors of society.
Garrow brings an extensive background in education to his position as executive director of the NPCC- he’s worked as a high school principal, university lecturer and public schools trustee. He also has experience as a political organizer, a facet which he believes will prove useful when the organization begins political lobbying efforts.
For now, though, the main focus of his group is to provide education. “My intention is to arm parents so they know what’s going on in their municipalities, their provinces and in Canada,” says Garrow.
And what is going on, he adds, is contrary to the wishes of most Canadians. “I’m concerned about the education system and the way its being used to inculcate a value system which isn’t ours. I don’t believe it’s the value system of majority of parents.”
Garrow says that thanks to complacency on the part of supporters of the traditional family, other elements now permeate many of Canada’s public institutions. “The traditional family is a fairly quiet institution. It’s quiet and secure in itself so it doesn’t want to make waves in the public school system or in politics generally. As a result, society has been taken over by an element which does not represent the traditional family.”
Garrow believes this has all taken place by design. “Keep in mind that there’s an agenda out there,” he says. “Left_wing groups which benefit from this continue to receive funding. What you have, so far as I’m concerned, is a totally dishonest job creation program.”
He stresses that supporters of the traditional family structure have to change their attitudes and the NPCC can serve as a vehicle for that change. “We have to wake up and fight for the family. Otherwise, the state is going to take our children and redefine what family is.
The’re already trying to do it.”
Garrow says an example of how modern-day governments are not supporting the traditional family lies in a comparison of the tax treatments given to married and common-law couples. “The common-law family has far better tax breaks than the two-parent family. Two-parent families are actually penalized in our country. That’s why you see an increase in the number of people who aren’t getting married.” Otherwise, Garrow says there are numerous other misconceptions about the traditional family being disseminated, including the often-heard statistic that one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. He argues that the figure is misleading. “That includes the high number of people who are married for the second, third or fourth time.” Instead, he says, only about 20 per cent of first-time marriages end in divorce. Also heard often are numbers which indicate a high percentage of teenagers are sexually active. Garrow contends that the figures are exaggerated because of the faulty way in which surveys of young people are conducted. He says the statistics misleadingly include those youths who report that they think about having sexual relations, in addition to the far fewer number who actually have them.
Garrow says he plans to conduct sexual education workshops through the NPCC which would transmit the kinds of values parents want their children to receive, in place of the sex-ed programs currently being conducted in public schools. “The kids aren’t getting a healthy, balanced and wholesome message…(but) it’s one of the things we can offer.”
Apart from providing education and exposing what Garrow calls “skewed statistics” about the traditional family, the NPCC counsels parents individually on problems they encounter. “The systems out there are not parent-friendly,” Garrow observes. “The systems are a lot of calls for us to act as intervenors in situations with schools, community organizations and children’s aid.”
I’m concerned about the education system and the way its being used to inculcate a value system which isn’t ours. I don’t believe it’s the value system of majority of parents.”
Jim Garrow, President National Parent’s Coalition
After opening a permanent office with a secretary in Guelph at the beginning of September, the NPCC is focusing on a sharp increase in membership as an immediate goal. “There’s a greater awareness that unless we get numbers, we don’t have much effect….What I want to do is represent a large number in society, “says Garrow.
He adds that he is working on a study which will demonstrate that families in which one parent stays at home with the children actually come out financially ahead of families in which both parents work, after employment expenses and tax considerations are taken into account.
Garrow is writing a book which examines outcome-based education and he has plans for a credit card-cutting campaign to send stern message to companies which don’t support the traditional family, including those which recognize same-sex couples for the purposes of spousal benefits.
But Garrow stresses that the NPCC will not be just another protest organization. It will also support and send positive messages to groups, corporations and governemnts which uphold the traditional family, he says. “The people who are doing it right need to know that we appreciate it.”
While the NPCC has some ambitious goals, Garrow believes he’s the man to lead the way to their fulfillment. “I’ve always been a doer,” he says. “I’ve always stood up for the little guy … You have to do something rather than just sitting, lamenting and wailing about the fact that you believe in isn’t there.”
The National Parents Coalition of Canada can be reached by writing to 3-304 Stone Road West, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 4W4 or by telephone at (519) 836-3845 and fax at (519) 824-1748.