Saturday, December 30, 2017

50 years ago: Newspaper religion pages report differences of opinion on Canadian politics

Submitted for your approval, the following items from The Edmonton Journal, December 9, 1967 (bold in original):

Booklet Outlines United B-B Stand

TORONTO -- Canadians of French speech should have the same opportunities to share in running the country, politically and economically, as Canadians of English speech.

Neither should be in anyway directly or indirectly, discriminated against or shut out.

The United Church of Canada said this to the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism in 1964, and it says it again in a booklet just published.

The publication, entitled Bilingualism and Biculturalism, Recent Statements of The United Church of Canada, is being distributed to all ministers with a recommendation that its contents be studied by church members.

The booklet, six pages in English and six in French, is made up of extracts from the submission statements of the Board of Evangelism and Social Service.


The church's brief, presented by a committee headed by Dr. Eugene A. Forsey of Ottawa, recommended that "there should be better provision for French education in the provinces outside Quebec...that it should not be taken for granted that French schools must necessarily be Roman Catholic separate schools; the possibility of French public schools should be investigated and considered."

The United Church has French-speaking congregations in Ottawa, Montreal and elsewhere in Quebec.

It maintains a hostel at Pointe-aux-Tremblat in east end Montreal for children attending French-language Protestant schools, a French-language paper in Montreal, and two years ago opened Dialogue, an ecumenical information centre in downtown Montreal.

RC Church 'Behind' B-B Debate

An Edmonton Presbyterian minister Thursday blasted the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism report and blamed the Roman Catholic Church for Quebec's problems.

Rev. Jonas E.C. Shepherd, of Crestwood Presbyterian Church, told a group at the Social Credit Hall:

"I am inclined to think that the only province wanting 'piece' is Quebec - a piece of Ontario, a piece of Labrador,a piece of New Brunswick, a piece of a constitution for all of Canada giving them privileges no other has."

"Who would not enjoy peace at such a price, when everything comes their way?" the national president of the Canadian Protest League asked.

"The Bi-Bi baby proceeds to insist that we must travel a one-way street. Not once is it prepared to hint that Quebec needs to become a province of two languages, which they legally are.

"Canada is not a bilingual country. This is being parroted again and again, and it simply is not so.

"Hitlerism is the sort of thing that suggests the bigger the lie and the more it is repeated, the public, ultimately, will believe it.

"The bilingual myth is an example of this.

"Our nation has never, legally, constitutionally, or historically had one of two official languages. We have one official language from sea to sea.

"Special provision has been made for another language, French, to be used in the Province of Quebec, the House of Commons, and the Supreme Court of Canada, and this is all the provision.

Privilege Claimed Right

"This was granted as a privilege, now it has been claimed as a right everywhere in the Dominion," Mr. Shepherd continued.

He blamed the problem on the Roman Catholic Church.

"The Roman Catholic Church is using every means available to her to propagate her faith and strengthen her stronghold on the religio-political life of Canada."

"If the Bi-Bi Commission's recommendation is accepted, that provinces become bilingual when ten per cent of the population is French in origin, we can expect a church oriented system of colonization.

"Thus the church's influence will spread and strengthen and continue to strangle our free institutions.

"We must not be stampeded or blackmailed into granting everything to the one spoilt brat in the family of 10 who has thrown a tantrum every time she could not get her own way.

"Let us appeal to the provinces who hold the power here. Certain concessions can not be written into the constitution without the unanimous consent of all the provinces," Mr. Shepherd urged.

The Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism was commissioned by the Liberal government of Prime Minister Lester Pearson in 1963 in an attempt to resolve the age-old conflict between English- and French-speaking Canadians, particularly in relation to the desire of French Canadians--a large majority of the population of Quebec, but a small minority everywhere else--for greater participation in political and economic decision-making in Canada.

The position of the United Church of Canada, which was already apostate, come as no surprise to this blogger. As for French-speaking Canadians having the "same opportunities to share in running the country," Pierre Trudeau took office as Prime Minister of Canada on April 20, 1968, and a year later, his Liberal Party government succeeded in passing the Official Languages Act, whose most lasting effect was to restrict advancement in the federal civil service to residents of Quebec, especially those from Montreal, who would have a distinct advantage over other Canadians in their exposure to both English and French. Peter Brimelow, in his excellent book The Patriot Game (1986), argues that the Official Languages Act had the effect of entrenching the position of the French and Anglo elites from Montreal--the very elites that Pierre Trudeau was part of--who were in the process of losing their elite status in the late 1960s.

It's a matter of record that in the period from Pierre Trudeau's assumption of the office of Prime Minister until Stephen Harper took office as Prime Minister of a Conservative Party government in February 2006--almost 38 years--Canada was governed by Prime Ministers from Quebec for about 36 years of that time; the only non-Quebec Prime Ministers during that time were Joe Clark (nine months, 1979-1980); John Turner (three months, 1984); and Kim Campbell (about five months, 1993). Like many other non-Quebeckers, I've been deprived of job opportunities in the Canadian civil service because I'm not fluent in French or French-Canadian, and I resent it very much.

I think Rev. Shepherd exaggerated the influence of the Roman Catholic Church in the situation--at least what might be considered traditional Roman Catholicism--but Rev. Shepherd's analysis was otherwise correct, and he spoke with a courage that is quite lacking in Canadian pastors today. In the words of perceptive Canadian Christian Chris Milner, "It’s progressive Catholics who have for the most part paved the way for the advent of the Antichrist and since progressive Catholicism made Quebec a pro-abortion pro-sodomite society, this philosophical venereal disease eventually spread all across Canada." It's worth noting that in the period of almost 38 years mentioned above, that Canada had just one Prime Minister--Kim Campbell, for just five months--who wasn't at least a nominal Roman Catholic. It's also worth noting that under ostensible Roman Catholic Pierre Trudeau, homosexual acts and abortion were legalized in 1969, thus signalling that secular humanism rather than the Bible was now the basis of Canadian law; and none of this changed under subsequent Catholic Prime Ministers.

Also reported in the Journal's religion pages that day:

Ecumenism Committee Proposed

MONTREAL (CP) -- The Canadian Council of Churches and the Canadian Catholic Conference together have proposed the creation of a joint working committee to promote religious ecumenism on regional and national levels in Canada.

The proposal came at the concluding session of a three-day working seminar held by the two groups here.

Nearly 50 representatives--30 Protestant and Orthodox and 20 Catholic--gathered for the seminar, described by Rev. Irenee Beaubien, a Jesuit from Montreal, as a "very important step in ecumenism in this country."

The bilingual committee would be made up of seven representatives of the major denominations in Canada.

Trialogue Replaces Sermon

Summer of Service and Caravanning will be the subject of special presentations Sunday morning at Chalmers United Church at 9:30 and 11.

Instead of the sermon, a "trialogue" will be used to describe these forms of volunteer summer youth work being carried out in Alberta and across Canada.

Taking part will be Helen Stevens, a Summer of Service volunteer, of Fort Macleod, who is active in the university parish; Steve Hoskin, a caravanner from Metropolitian United Church and Barbara Gregg, a Kairos member from Chalmers United Church.

There will be solos with guitar accompaniment by Phyllis Metcalf of Metropolitan United Church and Doreen Schienbien of the Lutheran Student Movement at the university.

First Baptist Church is advertised as being with "The Baptist Union of Western Canada affiliated with the Baptist Federation of Canada and the Baptist World Alliance." The 11:00 A.M. sermon is titled The Life of Light and Love, while the 7:30 P.M. message is titled The Synod of Bishops by Mr. Douglas Roche. Mr. Roche was then the editor of the Western Catholic Reporter. He later went into politics, and as a Progressive Conservative (and a lot more "Progressive" than "Conservative"), sat in the Canadian House of Commons from 1972-1994 and in the Senate from 1998-2004.

One might think it odd that a Baptist church would have a liberal Roman Catholic as a speaker, but the Minister at First Baptist was Rev. Edward Checkland. I recognized the name, because I know a couple of people who had him as a professor at the University of Alberta in the 1980s, and one of them confirmed to me that Rev. Checkland was a "flaming liberal" who wrote a two-page diatribe in a failed attempt to rebut my friend's paper attacking liberal "Christianity." The Baptist World Alliance was notorious for admitting to its fellowship Baptist "churches" from the Soviet Union and other eastern European Communist bloc nations; the pastors of these "churches" were agents of their Communist governments. Carl McIntire founder and longtime President of the International Council of Christian Churches, used to denounce the Baptist World Alliance in his Christian Beacon newspaper and books such as Outside the Gate (1967).

See my post 50 years ago: Newspaper religion pages record increasing ecumenism (January 30, 2017).

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