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Ed has been working for a more inclusive, fair and just Canada for more than 50 years. On his 80th Birthday, let’s celebrate his life & accomplishments!Endorse
The Canadian federal election that took place on October 19th was historic in ways that go beyond the popular account. Forgoing the wisdom of avoiding sweeping statements about history, something my church history professor warned me against forty years ago, it seems to me the election marked the end of at least one era in Canadian politics, an era that is sometimes called the culture wars.Read more
Pope Francis has set out to transform the issue of climate change into a moral imperative, not just for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, but for everyone. He is unambiguous about the role of human activity in producing the greenhouse gasses that are the decisive contributor to global warming and the connection between these climactic changes and global justice challenges facing humanity and the planetary environment.Read more
The recent death of Fred Phelps, the infamous anti-gay activist and leader for many years of the independent Westboro Baptist Church in Kansas, is perhaps an appropriate occasion to reflect on the damaging way the media reinforced and amplified an already misleading stereotype of what Christians in the public square are like. He provided a certain shock value for those who couldn’t resist the temptation to exploit him as a caricature of a relationship between faith and politics that they objected to. The fact that all kinds of Christians belong to churches that take progressive stands on many issues just does not seem to be as interesting.Read more
The wrath of the biblical prophets was often directed at those who enjoyed the inequality of their riches while ignoring the needs of the vulnerable at the other end of the economic scale. One of the earliest of such prophets was Amos, who condemned those who oppress the poor and crush the needy. According to biblical scholar Walter Bruggeman, Amos was protesting against the “self-indulgent economy of the urban elite.” In statements made both before and after he became Pope, it is clear that Pope Francis sees the prophetic tradition as integral to his understanding of what it means to be a good pastor of the flock.Read more
This year Pope Francis is expected to deliver an encyclical on ecology, one concerning the environment broadly and perhaps climate change more particularly.
Believers and non-believers alike, united by a common concern for the future of the planet, have high hopes that someone who chose to name himself after that great lover of creation, Francis of Assisi, will say something truly transformational, for as a Canadian Council of Churches document lamentably observes, transformative change has not “found traction within political processes.”Read more
Expertise: Environment, Faith & Politics, Globalization
The Hon. Bill Blaikie – Bill Blaikie is a minister in the United Church of Canada who served in the Canadian House of Commons as a Member of Parliament from Winnipeg from May 22,1979 to October 19th, 2008. He retired as the Dean of the House of Commons and Deputy Speaker, having served in many capacities, including Parliamentary Leader of the New Democratic Party of Canada from 2003 to 2004. In 2007 he was voted Parliamentarian of the Year by his peers.
Blaikie was NDP Health Critic from 1980-84 in the fight for the Canada Health Act, NDP Environment Critic from 1984-1097, serving on the Special Committee on Acid Rain, and NDP External Affairs Critic from 1987 t0 1990, serving on the parliamentary committee that conducted country wide hearings on the Canada- US FTA, an interest he was able to follow up later as NDP Trade Critic during the late 90's when there was much debate about the terms of the WTO, the MAI, and the FTAA. He also has a longstanding interest in parliamentary reform, having served on the Special Committee on Reform of the House of Commons in 1984-86. In 2016 he co-authored a reflection on the outcome of the committee for the Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law. Following his lengthy time in national politics, Blaikie served as the Provincial Minister of Conservation in Manitoba from 2009 to 2011. In 2011 his political memoir, The Blaikie Report – An Insider’s Look at Faith and Politics, was published by United Church Publishing House. He is currently an adjunct professor of theology and politics at the University of Winnipeg, and serves on the board of the Canadian Health Coalition.