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It's Tuesday, May 3 2022. I'm Joshua Claycamp, and this is The Observer, a reflection upon the news from a biblical perspective in order to help Christians understand how we need to think about current events.
We begin with a Christian perspective on politics. Because of the presence of sin in every human heart, every single human heart, and because of the corrupting influence of power, it is understood from the Scriptures that there should be a clear separation of powers at every level of civil government. In fact, the phrase "separation of powers" means that government power should be divided among several different groups or persons or branches. And power should not be concentrated in only one person or one group within government.
Several passages of Scripture seem to give support to the idea of a separation of powers within a governing authority. The Old Testament narratives give many examples of kings who had unchecked power and abused it. King Saul repeatedly put his own interests first rather than those of the people. David misused his royal authority in his sin with Bathsheba, Solomon wrongfully accumulated over 700 wives, princesses and an additional 300 concubines and it is said in First Kings 11, that his wives turned his heart away from the Lord. In addition, Solomon had excessive silver and gold even though that had been prohibited and Deuteronomy chapter 17. And this all resulted eventually in a divided monarchy. And what we find is during the divided monarchy, most kings abused their power, and did evil.
Many other examples of unchecked power throughout human history confirm the idea that when power is combined with sin in the human heart, it has a corrupting influence on people. And it is easily misused. As the old adage goes, absolute power corrupts absolutely. The prophet Samuel warned against just this thing, saying that a king would abuse his power and he would take and take again and again, in terms of taxation from the people, this in 1st Samuel chapter eight.
But then we are asking ourselves the question, what is the solution that can prevent an abuse of power by those who are in government, even a duly elected government, and what we find is that the best safeguard against the abuse of power is divided power, so that one person or group within a government provides a check, or a balancing effect on the use of power by other groups -- when power is divided among several groups, than different people in different parts of government all struggle to be sure that no one part of government has too much power.
The Bible contains a number of positive examples of various kinds of divided power reflecting the wisdom of God and protecting against the abuse of power by one person. In the Old Testament, the king had some checks on his power, because of the existence of the Office of Prophet and the presence of a priest. In the New Testament, it is noteworthy that Jesus established not one apostle with authority over the church contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, but that Jesus chose 12 apostles. Although Peter at first served as the spokesman for the apostles, James later seems to have assumed that role. Moreover, the Jerusalem Council, in Acts chapter 15, made its decision not based on the authority of the apostles alone, but on a decision that seemed good to the apostles and the elders, together with the whole church. Excuse me. This is from Acts chapter 15, verse 22. Every indication of the form of government that was followed by the local churches in the New Testament shows that they were not governed by a single elder, but by a plurality of elders.
And so in taking all of this together, we see that a separation of powers within a government can be accomplished in many ways, and different nations have adopted different structures. And the examples that we know best are here in Canada and of course, in the United States. In the United States, the power of the national government is divided among three distinct branches. The legislative or Congress, the legislative branch known as Congress, the executive branch, which is known as the White House and the Office of the President, and everyone under his executive administration as his executive authority. And then of course, we have the judicial branch, otherwise known as the courts presided over by the Supreme Court. The legislative power itself is divided into two different houses. You have a lower house, known as the house of Congress or the House of the Representatives, and then you have an upper house known as the Senate. New legislation must be passed by both houses and then signed by the president before it becomes law.
Within Canada, that is not the case with our Legislative Assembly known as parliament. In Ottawa. You have a number of different political parties who vie for a majority of seats within parliament. And quite often what you can have happen is the establishment of what is known as a minority government. This is where a singular party gets the most seats relative to every other party that campaigned, and yet they do not possess within the parliament, a majority of seats. This is the situation that we have right now, under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the Liberal government that currently sits. Of course they have they don't have a majority, they have what is known as a minority government. That is they have the most seats out of any other political party, but they don't have enough seats within their party in order to control a majority vote within the house.
Now, what's fascinating about Canada is within this parliamentary system, the office of Prime Minister and subsequently the Cabinet of Ministers that are all chosen, as a result. The government is chosen as a result of whichever political party happens to hold the most seats, even if that party does not have the majority of seats. This can result in a very unstable government as, at any given time, the next largest party, which is known as the opposition party, can call a vote of no confidence. In the event that a vote of no confidence is called, that opposition party can check the power of the governing party that happens to hold the most seats. And this sends Parliament back into an election cycle in which they will go before the citizens of Canada seeking their vote, their approval for the next government.
Now, what we find in Canada is that there is now between the liberals and the NDP, the New Democrats, A A, a sort of coalition. That's the word I'm looking for: a coalition between these two parties in order to secure votes and to protect the Liberals from a vote of no confidence from the official opposition, which is the conservatives. But interestingly enough news came out yesterday that the Liberal Party is proposing now to allow midnight parliamentary sittings. And of course, this proposal is receiving considerable pushback from the conservatives. Of course, it's all political and the conservatives say that the Prime Minister is trying to create an audience and not an opposition after the Liberal government introduced this motion, which is known as motion 11 Motion 11.
According to conservative House Leader John Broussard it extends hours at the last minute, and according to the the conservative House opposition leader, it will have a profound impact on those individuals who serve in Parliament, which includes interpreters and other administrative staff.
However, the justice minister David lametti, said that MPs have already spent 12 days sitting and debating certain bills, and they haven't made as much progress as they believe that they need to, as a result, they've made motion 11. And what this motion allows for is for the governing party, which in this case is the Liberals to essentially move that sitting hours be extended into the midnight hours into the morning hours of the next day, in fact, and that this these hours can be extended, notice can be provided that these hours will be extended at any moment all the way up to and including at the very last minute, which happens to be 6:30pm, which is the official last minute of debate currently scheduled for parliamentary sittings.
Now, of course, there's a lot of opposition to this, as you can imagine. The NDP are supporting it. And the NDP, in response to criticisms from the Conservatives say that essentially the Conservatives are blocking bills for months on end without any explanation. And of course, this is to be expected. Indeed, from a Christian worldview, we should applaud the opposition in terms of making it difficult for the governing party to pass its agenda. This is true, whether it's a Conservative government or a Liberal government or an NDP government. And the reason for this is because it ought to deserve consensus across many different parties in order to pass legislation. It is an interesting quirk of the Canadian political process, that we happen to have so many different parties from the greens to the NDP, to the Bloc Quebecois, to the conservatives, and of course, the Liberals who currently sit and reign and have governmental authority.
And when we have so many different parties, formed by MPs elected from so many different ridings, in order for legislation to truly reflect the will of the people, it is necessary, therefore, to get a majority of votes, however you get those votes and from whichever combination of political parties that you happen to get them. When the NDP leader House Leader Pete Julian argues that conservatives are blocking bills for months on end without explanation, this is not necessarily a moment of lament for Christian observers. As we are observing these events, we need to applaud those efforts. Indeed, if a bill is a good one, then obviously the Conservatives wouldn't be blocking it. It wouldn't make political sense for them as they would undoubtedly receive pushback from their own constituency. The fact that the Conservatives are blocking it is an indication that there's probably an ideological motive involved. It probably goes against the party platform. Indeed, the Conservatives are representing their constituents and those individuals who elected them office, probably by blocking most of these bills.
Now, again, when the Conservatives criticize motion 11, which allows for this sitting for the sitting hours of Parliament to be extended as late as midnight or 1am, or 2am. And for motion for those sitting hours to be extended, to be allowed to be made all the way up until 6:30pm, which is the final minute of debate on parliament, when when the NDP supports this. They are politically baking on the fact that conservatives are wrong ideologically and that the NDP will gain a larger following by supporting the liberals. Hence, there's the political arrangement that we know as the supply and confidence agreement, which has led to this coalition between the NDP and the liberals. Of course, the Conservatives continue to criticize it. John Brassard says that essentially what Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wants, and he goes on to say, quote, "What the NDP has done by agreeing to this with the liberals is to give Justin Trudeau exactly what he's wanted. For the last six and a half years, he's now got an audience, and not an opposition" end quote.
This is what needs to catch our eyes as Christians remember power concentrated in too few hands, and without a sufficient check and balance from a an official opposition party. This is a very dangerous moment. And so even though it is politically advantageous, and as Christians observing all of this, we need to understand that it is politically acceptable for a coalition to emerge between the NDP and the liberals, even though we can accept and recognize all of that, as Christians, we should still be incredibly uneasy on the move to pass legislation in the dead of night.
As we reflect upon this, it should call to mind amongst Christians, the kangaroo courts, which were hastily assembled, in order to bring about the conviction of our King and our Lord, and our Savior, Jesus Christ. He was carted away in the middle of the night. And there were not one, not two, but three different kangaroo courts hastily assembled amongst various factions of the Sanhedrin, and the chief priests in order to trump up charges and evidence against him. And of course, all of this happened in the middle of the night which made it extremely difficult for witnesses to be present, and to observe and to offer exonerating testimony, if such existed. And it allowed them to do things under the cover of darkness in order to bring about the conviction that they wanted. You see, the fix was in. The decision was made. It was not a quest for justice, so much as a permission slip to perpetuate evil in the murder of an innocent man, in the killing of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we are grateful for that, because we know this happened under the sovereign control of God to bring about our ultimate salvation. Nevertheless, we can still recognize evil for what it is, and any attempt to move to an evening or midnight watch the debate of legislation, must be regarded as a sleight of hand in order to force through agenda items in order to bypass the opposition.
And while we can sympathize with the NDP wanting to support the Liberals, and while we can sympathize with the Liberals wanting to accomplish more of their agenda, humility would require all political officers, all politicians, all members of parliament to step back and say fair's fair, and rules exist for a reason, and when we bypass these rules, we're concentrating authority into the hands of too few people; we are overstepping the due process and the prerogative of the official opposition in order to delay the passage of this legislation.
And this could be a corruptive influence, not only for the current sitting parliament, but it could present a temptation for future Parliaments. Liberals probably would not agree and would not approve if conservatives did this. And because the Liberals are doing it now the Conservatives are likely to retaliate in kind in the future. In response to all of this, what should Christians say? There is one who deserves to rule there is one who is our king. And as we behold all of this political nonsense, we cannot help but say "Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus."
But in speaking of politics, we need to turn our attention to the Conservative Party of Canada, which yesterday released the list of candidates who will appear on the party's ballot when party members vote for a new leader this September. And interestingly enough, this ballot does not include three candidates who say they collected enough money and enough signatures to qualify. So what gives?
In a social media post the party said that Conservative MPs Scott Atkinson, Lesley Ann Lewis and Pierre Polly of Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, and former Quebec premier John Tavares and independent Ontario MPP Roman Babor have been accepted by the leadership election Organizing Committee, the leadership election organizing committee Leon for short, as quote unquote, verified candidates. What this means is that they have raised at least $300,000 in order to pay a series of entry fees. And they've gotten up to 500, endorsements signatures from members in at least 30 Different writings all across Canada.
So those qualifications once again, the individuals who will become verified as legitimate candidates in order to compete on the ballot for the leadership race of the party are those individuals which have collected at least $300,000 in campaign and campaign fees to pay the entry fees. And they've also received at least 500 signatures from conservative party members across at least 30 Different writings. In other words, they have to have a lot of money on hand, and they have to show that there's broad support for their running for the leader of the party. three candidates Joel Etienne, a commercial lawyer from Toronto, Joseph Borg Alta Saskatchewan business owner and BCS grant Abraham, a consultant will not be appearing on the final ballot, despite their claims that they met the party's requirements to be considered verified.
The requirements once again are $300,000 minimum in fees 500 endorsements signatures from members in at least 30 Different writings. This all seems rather transparent and rather easily verifiable. And so the question is, why was it that the Leon that is the leadership election organizing committee chose not to verify these individuals there are various conspiracy conspiracies that are running amongst individuals within the Conservative Party, borsch halt the president and CEO of Borge halt tillage tools, is a social conservative, who was strongly endorsed by the campaign life Coalition, which is an anti abortion group that has long sought to pull the party further to the right on social issues. According to the party's leadership election rules, the leadership candidate nomination committee or the group of party stalwarts, that is reviewing applications from would be candidates can also rely on any other information that they decide to in order to see fit whether or not to ascertain the suitability of an applicant.
So you have the LEOC, the leadership election Organizing Committee, which establishes its rules, and its rules are $300,000 in entry fees, and 500 signatures from members across 30 Different writings pretty broad, but easily verifiable.
But then once we start looking at some of these candidates who are considered strong social conservatives, we are then told that in addition to the organizing committees' requirements, which are fairly straightforward and fair across all different applicants, we have in addition to that, the nominating committee, the leadership candidate nominating committee, and they have their own set of rules, which they then use to give the final veto on whether or not someone can become a candidate on the ballot in order to run as leader of the party. And as we're told by the CBC, they can rely on any information that they see fit in order to ascertain the suitability of an applicant.
So when we look at these other individuals who were struck from the ballot, more Zsolt is one and he is considered a strong social conservative. The other two are also strong social conservatives. In a letter to supporters last week, John Jacques von Seca, the director of political operations for the campaign life coalition said that it was crucial to get Borge Hall and these other two candidates Conservative MP Mark Dalton and Abraham into the race in order to advance what he referred to as a pro family agenda within the party. Indeed, the strong the strong sort of common denominator that these three candidates all seem to have is that they were very anti abortion and very pro family. This seems to be the only common thread running amongst these three candidates.
And of course, these three candidates were struck from the ballot. There were nine individuals that claimed that they would be on the ballot who had raised to the requisite $300,000 and gotten the 500 signatures. And lo and behold, yesterday when the Conservatives released their ballot, they had struck the three strong conservatives from the ballot. One remains. The only social conservative candidate still in the running is Leslyn Lewis. Why why is this a case? And doesn't the fact that Leslyn Lewis remaining on the ballot, she is still on the ballot, doesn't the fact that she's still on the ballot somehow undercut the criticism that the nominating committee, the leadership nominating committee had unfairly targeted these strong social conservatives?
In a social media post, Abraham's campaign said that the candidate was told Sunday that he had simply been deemed ineligible by the party without offering any specifics. And of course, Abraham went on to criticize Conservative MPs for failing to stop Bill C-4, which is the liberal government's irrational ban on so called Conversion therapy. He also called for the party to return to a Judeo Christian framework within Canada, and to start working to oppose human secularism or secular humanism. Now, in reflecting all of this, we can't help but be reminded that there does need to be transparent rules in place that everybody can see and evaluate in terms of deciding whether or not decisions have been made in an aboveboard manner. That is fair for all potential applicants within the party.
It is indeed the members of the Conservative Party, who are to choose their candidate, and to have a committee somewhere behind closed doors, arbitrarily choosing not to allow individuals to run allowing other individuals to run, this is stacking the deck. And this is bypassing the members and their prerogative to choose their own leader of their own party.
Again, as we look back to the Scriptures, in a nation with good government, we see that the law rules over the rulers, and it is not the rulers who rule over the law. This principle is known as the "rule of law." And this principle was established in the nation of Israel. And it was reinforced by the requirement that a new king was, upon being inaugurated in the office of King, to write a copy of the Mosaic Law for himself, so that he would understand it, and that he would remember it and he would remember to be subjected to it. In Deuteronomy, chapter 17, verses 18 to 20, we read,
"And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself a book in a book, a copy of this law approved by the Levitical priests, and it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the Lord his God, by keeping all the words of this law and all the statutes and doing them that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children in Israel."
In actual practice, the principle of the rule of law means that no king or president or prime minister, or in the case of the conservative leadership, race, no executive nominating committee, is going to rule over the rules of the party or over the laws of the nation, but that they themselves will be subject to those same laws that it will be a nation of men governed by the rule of law. And this principle needs to apply specifically to political parties who are seeking to enact laws in Parliament, if your desire is to represent the people of Canada. And if your desire is to rule in a just manner and to pass laws in a just manner. And yet, you have some sort of secret nominating executive committee operating behind closed doors under the cloak of darkness, silently deciding amongst yourselves without any review from the left or the rest of the individuals in your party, who will and won't be considered an acceptable candidate for leader of the party. Well, in all fairness, you are doing exactly what the Liberals are doing by seeking to have midnight audiences and passing legislation under the cover of darkness. It's a bit rich, to have the Conservatives come out and denounce the Liberals for this last minute motion motion 10 or motional 11. To have these late night liberal sittings audiences and not opposition to have laws passed without serious scrutiny. When in point of fact, the Conservatives are doing the very same thing in their own leadership race, if there are criteria that are deemed reasonable and fair, and if individuals meet that criteria.
Well, then they ought to have the opportunity to present their case, to make their argument to seek by the power of speech to persuade and win over the hearts and the minds of their fellow conservatives in order to be elected to the leadership of the party, to have some other group of individuals silently dictating who will be considered unacceptable, palatable candidate to run for leadership of, of the Conservative Party is to fall to the same error that they criticize the liberals of having made as observers who live for the Lord Jesus Christ. Reflecting on all of this, we agree with the criticisms leveled against liberals that they are trying to do things in a secretive fashion by passing legislation under the cover of darkness. And late at night, when it is clearly obvious that the opposition party will not always be able to be present in order to challenge and scrutinize some of these legislative bills. We agree with that.
But in agreeing with that, according to the Word of God, we must equally turn and criticize and denounce the conservatives who are effectively doing the exact same thing. And as we have stated before, so we say again, there is until the return of Jesus Christ, every evidence given to us in the scripture that we need to check the authority and the power that is entrusted into any one man's hands or into a small group of men's hands. Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. When authority is given into an individual who has a sinful heart, he is tempted and he will eventually succumb to the abuse of that authority to the abuse of that power.
There is only one man who has demonstrated that his heart is pure, and that his judgment is righteous. And that man is the Lord Jesus Christ who comes not to lord over those whom he saves, but first to serve them, by dying for them, bearing their penalty on the cross, in order that they may be forgiven of their sins. This man and this man alone is the One who was appointed to be king. And until he comes, we seek to divide authority and to divide governing responsibilities, as best as we can, amongst multiple different branches of government, or in various opposition parties. Recognizing this, this is what we should stand for as Christians and as we stand for it, even so we should pray, "Come quickly, Lord Jesus."
Thanks for listening to the observer. I'm Joshua Claycamp. And you can follow me on Twitter by going to twitter.com/joshua Claycamp. The observer is a ministry of First Baptist Church where Christians seek to discern the news differently. For more information on First Baptist Church of Kamloops just go to first Baptist kamloops.org or for more information on first Baptist classical Academy, just go to first Baptist classical.org and I'll meet you again tomorrow for more of the observer.