Make votes count

By 
  • October 15, 2015

The newspaper business has a long tradition of endorsing candidates on the eve of an election.

The Catholic Register, however, can’t do that. As a registered charity the law says we must limit our political activity and be totally non-partisan.

That means we can’t stump for any of the candidates ahead of the Oct. 19 election. But that’s okay. Informed voters shouldn’t need our help to fill out a ballot. But we do suggest voters wipe the sleep from their eyes as this tiresome campaign winds down and examine closely the candidates and issues — and then adjust your schedule to block out time on election day to vote.

And don’t be guided solely by issues that party leaders have declared — rather arrogantly in some cases — as those most vital to Canadians. Their partisan perspectives can leave them deaf and dumb to the primary obligation of politicians, which is to advance the common good, as Pope Francis reminded U.S. Congress in September. His words then should be repeated now in Canada.

“You are called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good, for this is the chief aim of all politics,” Francis said.

“A political society endures when it seeks, as a vocation, to satisfy common needs by stimulating the growth of all its members, especially those in situations of greater vulnerability or risk.”

We should all consider those words as we cast our vote. We might also apply them to five topics important to The Register, topics often forgotten during this campaign. Specifically, voters might seek out candidates who will urge Parliament to:

o Respond aggressively to the world’s refugee crisis by significantly accepting more legitimate refugees into Canada, speeding the process to get them here and boosting humanitarian aid for refugees suffering abroad.

o Invoke the notwithstanding clause to sidetrack implementation of assisted suicide in Canada, set to become legal in February due to a Supreme Court decision, or, at the very least, draft restrictive laws that discourage physician-assisted killing and protect the conscience rights of doctors.

o Develop comprehensive strategies to confront poverty and, in particular, find remedies for the economic and social crises battering Canada’s aboriginal people.

o Invest significantly in an aging population by expanding palliative and hospice care, assistedliving opportunities and other essential health programs.

o Heed the Pope’s call in Laudato Si’ to combat climate change and nurse the wounds inflicted on the planet’s environment by a consumer culture that exploits resources and people.

The Register can’t endorse any particular candidate but we support all who approach politics with a humble and honest heart to pursue the common good.

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