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Canadian Council of Churches Affiliate Member Citizens for Public Justice are spearheading a call for action in support of Bill C-400 the Secure, Adequate, Accessible and Affordable Housing Act.
The United Nations has identified homelessness in Canada as an urgent human rights issue and notes that Canada is one of the few countries in the world without a national housing strategy.
To learn more about the bill, why it is important for Canadian law, and to lend your support to this important initiative please visit http://www.cpj.ca
UPDATE – Feb.20, 2013
Thanks to all who responded to the urgent action we circulated on February 15 (below) regarding threats to the leadership of the Organizacion Femenina Popular (OFP. We have received an inspiring response of more than 150 copies of personal letters to the President of Colombia calling for safety and security of these women. These letters do make a difference!
If you have not already responded, please find a few minutes to write a letter. The situation remains grave. Since we first issued this action, four more women human rights defenders have been threatened. Please see the Amnesty International urgent action regarding these most recent threats.
Your voice is needed. KAIROS is gravely concerned about the safety and security of the leadership and the families of Popular Feminist Organization (OFP), our partner in Colombia. Yolanda Becerra, the national director, and Gloria Amparo Suarez, the legal representative of the OFP, have been threatened with violence against their children. (More background is available below.)
On 11 February 2013 a man came to the office of the Popular Feminist Organization (Organización Femenina Popular, OFP) asking for information about the validation program of the high school diploma for adults. After speaking with Gloria Amparo Suárez, the legal representative of OFP, he asked her “Why do you not dedicate yourself to this instead of f***ing around at the national level and creating commotion?” (Por qué no se dedican a esto en vez de estar jodiendo a nivel nacional y estar formando alborotos?)
The man then asked Gloria if she knew where her children were. He showed her his mobile and said “we do”, then showed her pictures of her sons. He also showed her a picture of Yolanda Becerra, the director of OFP. The picture showed her getting out of a car, which she has received as part of the government protection program. He said “Tell Becerra that […] we know all of her movements. So, as you already know, stop this sh*t and be quiet because we do not want to have to f*** with you.” (Dígale a Becerra […] que sabemos todos sus movimientos así que ya saben paren esa mierda y calladitas que no las queremos joder.)
Your swift action can save lives! Please write a short message without delay, with copies to KAIROS. Thank you for raising your voice to protect Gloria, Yolanda, and their colleagues.
Yolanda Becerra, OFP director (middle of photo), at the 2012 Women’s Tribunals in Colombia.
Please send an email to President Santos via the Colombian Embassy in Ottawa:
- Start with Dear President Santos / Estimado Sr. Presidente.
- Describe briefly who you are or where you are writing from.
- Express great concern for the safety of Gloria Amparo Suárez and her children, Yolanda Becerra, and other members of OFP in the light of threats against them.
- Ask him to organize for them any kind of protection they request.
- Urge him to order a full and impartial investigation into the threats, to publish the results and to bring those responsible to justice.
- Please note that Canada signed a free trade agreement with Colombia; as a Canadian, you expect our trading partner and the Canadian government to treat such threats against human rights defenders as a matter of the highest priority.
- Ask for a reply to let you know what steps have been taken.
Send the letter via:
Mr. César Felipe González Hernández
Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of Colombia
360 Albert Street, Suite 1002
Ottawa, Ontario K1R 7X7
Fax: (613) 230-4416
Send copies to:
-The Honourable John Baird
Minister of Foreign Affairs
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6
Postage: None required
Fax: (613) 996-9880
-Your Member of Parliament. Contact information for MPs:
Ali Symons, General Synod Senior Editor, Anglican Church of Canada
February 1, 2013 - Housing continues to be a joint priority for Anglicans and Lutherans as they support Bill C-400, a private member’s bill calling on the government to develop a national housing strategy. Anglican and Lutheran staff leaders engaged in this issue invite local church members to connect with MPs about the bill before it goes before Parliament, Feb. 13.
An estimated 400,000 Canadians do not have healthy homes. The UN Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing has observed that “Canada is one of the few countries in the world without a national housing strategy.”
Bill C-400 recognizes housing as a human right. It would commit the government to work with non-profits, the private sector, Aboriginal communities, and all levels of government in developing a national housing strategy. With set timelines and goals, the strategy would then address the root causes of homelessness and set a plan to provide housing for all.
Church members are encouraged to write to or meet with their MPs about Bill C-400 as soon as possible. Resources are available through Dignity for All, a campaign co-founded by long-time ecumenical partner Citizens for Public Justice.
This advocacy push is one example of housing work Christians do on a daily basis across Canada.
In Victoria, Evangelical Lutheran churches network with other non-profits to ensure adequate housing for all levels of poverty: those who live on government subsidies, the working poor, and the lower middle class.
In Winnipeg, St. Matthew’s Anglican Church is converting its property to 25 units of affordable housing for limited income families, a neighbourhood resource centre, and a dedicated worship space.
Many more examples exist across the country, including at a regional level.
On a national level, the Anglican Church of Canada and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada are developing a shared resolution on housing and homelessness to be presented at Joint Assembly, to be held July 2013 in Ottawa. The resolution will commit both churches to continued local action and government advocacy.
To support Bill C-400, consult these Dignity for All resources:
- Read the backgrounder on Bill C-400
- Use this template letter to write to your MP
- Use these talking points when meeting with your MP
- Access all resources on the Dignity for All website. Many resources are also available in French.
For more information about this work, email Henriette Thompson, public witness coordinator for social justice (ACC) or the Rev. Paul Gehrs, assistant to the bishop, justice and leadership (ELCIC).
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN CANADA
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Phone 1.204.984.9150 Fax 1.204.984.9185
From the National Office of the ELCIC
Appeal issued to assist Syrian refugees in Jordan
Winnipeg, 27 November 2012 — The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC), through its partnership with Canadian Lutheran World Relief (CLWR), is appealing to its members for financial support to assist Syrians who have fled their homes due to ongoing violence in their home country.
Funds will go to provide warm clothing for 10,000 children, winterized shelters, and heaters for refugees living in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, located about 70 km from the Syrian border. There is an immediate need for these items. Winter has begun, which brings driving rain and temperatures that fall to nearly zero at night. Many refugees left their homes in the summer with only the clothes on their backs, travelling under cover of darkness to avoid being shot. Many are now living in shelters with little protection from the cold. It costs $200 to provide a family with warm clothing, a winterized tent, and heaters.
Funds will also help provide mental health care and social support, with a focus on children. Many refugees have witnessed intensifying violence and are enduring the loss of homes, jobs, and loved ones. In the coming months, The Lutheran World Federation will help refugees organize community-based groups that will take roles in co-managing the camp.
ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson and CLWR Executive Director Robert Granke visited the Za’atari camp earlier this week. They witnessed firsthand the need for relief. They met with people who lost all they owned due to rocket fire destroying their homes and livelihoods.
“Winter is coming quickly. It will mean sub-zero temperatures and rain,” said Bishop Johnson. “Warm clothing for children and winterized shelters are critical to people in Za’atari so they can endure the coming winter.”
“The extent of this humanitarian crisis is deepening with every passing day. The stories I heard of the danger and hardship faced by these people broke my heart,” said Granke.
ELCIC members are encouraged to support the appeal through financial donations.
Donations may be made in the following ways:
- By making a designated offering donation at any ELCIC congregation.
- Online at clwr.org/donate. Click on Emergencies, and select “Syrian Refugee Relief 2012.”
- By calling CLWR’s toll-free number: 1.800.661.2597 or locally at 204.694.5602.
- By sending a cheque made payable to CLWR, 302-393 Portage Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3B 3H6. Please indicate that you wish to contribute to “Syrian Refugee Relief.”
A video from Bishop Johnson sharing her reflections on her experience at the Za’atari refugee camp can be viewed here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLP9qOiPR0&feature=share&list=PLF19F6C2B235F6877
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 145,376 baptized members in 594 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.
Material provided through ELCIC Information is intended for reproduction and redistribution by recipients in whatever manner they may find useful.
For more information, please contact:
Trina Gallop, Director of Communications
302-393 Portage Ave. Winnipeg MB R3B 3H6
Subscribe or unsubscribe to ELCIC Information by emailing email@example.com with a short message.
|OMC PRESS RELEASE RE: FUNDING CUTS, November, 2012
“MORE MULTIFAITH FUNDING CUTS”
THE ONTARIO MULTIFAITH COUNCIL HAS RECEIVED NOTICE FROM THE MINISTER OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES, HON. JOHN MILLOY, THAT AS OF MARCH 31, 2013, ITS FUNDING WILL BE TERMINATED. THIS WILL RESULT IN THE ELIMINATION OF THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY THE ONTARIO MULTIFAITH COUNCIL AND ITS 13 REGIONAL MULTIFAITH COMMITTEES COMPRISED OF OVER 200 DEDICATED VOLUNTEERS. THE AUTHORITATIVE VOICE ON SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS CARE MATTERS FOR ONTARIO’S INCREASINGLY DIVERSE POPULATION WILL BE JEOPARDIZED.
THE ONTARIO MULTIFAITH COUNCIL ON SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS CARE (OMC) IS A REPRESENTATIVE BODY OF MORE THAN 30 DISTINCT FAITH GROUPS AND FORMED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO OVER 40 YEARS AGO. THIS GOOD-FAITH PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT AND THE FAITH GROUPS OF ONTARIO WAS FORMALIZED IN A MEMORANDUM OF AGREEMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS NOW DECIDED TO TERMINATE. THE ONTARIO MULTIFAITH COUNCIL PROVIDES CONSULTATION AND ADVICE TO THE ONTARIO GOVERNMENT ON MATTERS RELATING TO THE PROVISION OF ADEQUATE AND APPROPRIATE SPIRITUAL AND RELIGIOUS CARE IN GOVERNMENT OPERATED OR FUNDED INSTITUTIONS. THE OMC COLLABORATES WITH GOVERNMENT IN PROVIDING TRAINING AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION FOR SPIRITUAL CARE PROVIDERS (CHAPLAINS) AND FAITH GROUP VOLUNTEERS, AND PROVIDES ADVICE ON THE QUALIFICATIONS, EDUCATION AND SUITABILITY OF SPIRITUAL CARE PROVIDERS IN ITS INSTITUTIONS.
THIS FUNDING REPRESENTS A SMALL INVESTMENT BY THE GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO IN PROTECTING THE RELIGIOUS AND SPIRITUAL RIGHTS OF MANY VULNERABLE ONTARIANS. WE URGE THE MINISTER OF COMMUNITY AND SOCIAL SERVICES TO RE-CONSIDER HIS DECISION AND RE-INSTATE FUNDING TO ENABLE THE OMC TO CONTINUE ITS VALUABLE SERVICES FOR THE CITIZENS OF ONTARIO.
Ontario Multifaith Council on Spiritual and Religious Care
ANGLICAN CHURCH OF CANADA
ASSEMBLY OF CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF ONTARIO
CANADIAN BAPTISTS OF ONTARIO AND QUEBEC
CANADIAN CONFERENCE BRETHREN IN CHRIST CHURCH
CANADIAN COUNCIL OF IMAMS
CHRISTIAN REFORMED CHURCH OF NORTH AMERICA
CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS
EVANGELICAL LUTHERAN CHURCH IN CANADA EASTERN SYNOD
FELLOWSHIP OF CHRISTIAN ASSEMBLIES
MACEDONIAN ORTHODOX CHURCH
MENNONITE CONFERENCE OF EASTERN CANADA
TORONTO AND REGION ISLAMIC CONGREGATION (TARIC)
ONTARIO CONFERENCES OF THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA
ONTARIO CONGREGATIONS OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST (CHRISTIAN SCIENCE)
ONTARIO CONFERENCE OF MENNONITE BRETHREN CHURCHES
PENTECOSTAL ASSEMBLIES OF CANADA
RELIGIOUS SOCIETY OF FRIENDS (QUAKERS)
REFORMED CHURCH OF CANADA
SEVENTH DAY ADVENTIST CHURCH IN CANADA
SHOUTERS NATIONAL EVANGELICAL SPIRITUAL BAPTIST FAITH
THE CHRISTIAN AND MISSIONARY ALLIANCE IN CANADA
THE FELLOWSHIP OF EVANGELICAL BAPTIST CHURCHES IN CANADA
THE FREE METHODIST CHURCH IN CANADA
THE SALVATION ARMY, CANADA AND BERMUDA TERRITORY
TIBETAN BUDDHIST COMMUNITY
WICCAN CHURCH OF CANADA
ZOROASTRIAN SOCIETY OF ONTARIO
A couple of things happening next week
In Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, the Truth and Reconciliation National Event. takes place June 21-24. You can download a copy of the program at: http://www.myrobust.com/websites/saskatchewan/index.php?p=584
If you have any chance at all to sit in circle at a TRC event, I highly recommend it.
Listening is part of the healing and reconciliation process.
It is what we can offer to the reconciliation process.
It can also be transforming;
Need to come to terms with our racist past
and to see both the challenges and the hopes for a shared future together
as all people who call this land home.
Rio +20 is the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development taking place in Brazil June 20-22.
You can download the KAIROS briefing document at: http://www.kairoscanada.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/PBP31-WhoseGreenEconomy.pdf
Can also see World Council of Churches perspective here.
Sustainable and development run the risk of being overused words;
yet, the decisions we make and that leaders make have implications for the life.
The environment is in trouble. Opportunity to work and to thrive needs to be widely inclusive.
Yet so many decisions harm the poor the most.
Even as we pray without ceasing, these events are a good reason to pray.
Even as we listen to the Word Sunday after Sunday, these events are a great opportunity to learn and to repsond in faith.
They asked only one thing, that we remember the poor, which was actually what I was eager to do. Gal 2:10
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return there until they have watered the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:10-11
From: Rob Rainer [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Subject: Call to action on Bill C-38 (the omnibus budget bill)
It is not often that anti-poverty groups get asked by the House of Commons’ Standing Committee on Finance to appear before them: usually it is we who are doing the asking. But Canada Without Poverty did appear before this committee last Thursday. This means we have gained traction: and now we need to keep the traction moving.
The issue: Bill C-38, also known as the omnibus budget bill. Why it’s an issue: It’s not a budget bill. It’s a massive, unwieldy bill that goes beyond taxes and expenditures to place great power in the hands of Cabinet and unelected bureaucrats. Before Bill C-38 showed up, Parliament was meant to debate, as specific policy issues, such things as major proposed changes to Old Age Security and Employment Insurance. (Omnibus means “for everything.”) But Bill C-38 marginalizes MPs and stifles what should be vigorous debate on dozens of public policy concerns. The Globe and Mail said as much in a recent editorial, as did National Post writers Andrew Coyne and John Ivison, among many others. Former Prime Minister John Turner is weighing in, in defense of Parliament. See also Canada Without Poverty’s opening remarks before committee, with our four specific concerns relative to poverty and social security in Canada (for the full presentation, click here).
The solution: Simple. Break this bill apart. Debate each element on its merits and vote. What’s the rush, unless there’s a hidden agenda.
How you can help: Contact each of the following members of the Finance Committee. Express your concerns. Demand that Bill C-38 be rejected and its constituent elements subject to proper parliamentary, i.e., public, scrutiny. An email string for ease of copying and pasting is below the names of the committee members. Feel free to copy us on your correspondence.
Conservative Members: Mark Adler, Shelly Glover, Randy Hoback, Brian Jean, Cathy McLeod, James Rajotte (Committee Chair), Dave Van Kesteren
Liberal Member: Scott Brison (Committee Vice Chair)
New Democrat Members: Guy Caron, Hoang Mai, Wayne Marston, Peggy Nash (Committee Vice Chair)
email@example.com; Peggy.Nash@parl.gc.ca; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; Hoang.Mai@parl.gc.ca; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Mark.Adler@parl.gc.ca; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; Guy.Caron@parl.gc.ca
Thank you, in advance, if you are able to act on this call to action.
Executive Director / Directeur executif
CANADA WITHOUT POVERTY / CANADA SANS PAUVRETÉ
Working in alliance with the CWP Advocacy Network / Travaillant en alliance avec le Réseau de revendication CSP
Honorary Directors / Directeurs honoraires
Right (Très) Hon. Joe Clark; Hon. Louise Arbour; Hon. Monique Bégin; Hon. Ed Broadbent; Ovide Mercredi;
Ottawa office / Bureau d’Ottawa: @UnderOneRoof, 251 Bank Street, 2nd Floor, Ottawa, ON K2P 1X3; (613) 789-0096 (1-800-810-1076)
Help support our work! / Aidez-nous!
CanadaHelps (donate on-line and receive an immediate tax receipt / Faites un don en ligne et recevez immédiatement un reçu pour les impôts)
***Please note that a 3.9% administration fee is applied to any donation processed by CanadaHelps. For a donation of $99 or less, it is more efficient for us for the donation to be processed by CanadaHelps. For a donation of $100 or greater, we recommend making it by cheque to Canada Without Poverty.
Today, poverty prevails as the gravest human rights challenge in the world. Combating poverty, deprivation and exclusion is not a matter of charity, and it does not depend on how rich a country is. By tackling poverty as a matter of human rights obligation, the world will have a better chance of abolishing this scourge in our lifetime. Poverty eradication is an achievable goal.
Hon. Louise Arbour, Honorary Director and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on the occasion of International Human Rights Day 2006
Human rights only become meaningful when they gain political content…they are rights that require active participation from those who hold them.
Lynn Hunt, human rights historian