Politics is about justice for CPJ

  • September 17, 2008
In its Elections 2008 feature, the Christian, non-profit group Citizens for Public Justice is advocating a review of key election issues from a public justice lens. "A public justice lens challenges us to express love for our neighbour and seek the common good. It puts the values of justice, compassion and care for creation at the centre of political debates," according to its web site.
CPJ examines five issues:

1. Environment vs. the economy?
There is a quick overview of each major party's policies: The NDP is calling for a moratorium on further tar sands development until a plan for development can be established, along with creating "green sector" jobs." The Conservatives propose a two-cents-a-litre cut on the federal excise tax on diesel. The Green Party has unveiled a green tax shift plan. The Liberals have been campaigning on the Green Shift platform which includes a carbon tax designed to reduce greenhouse gas emission, combined with income and other tax cuts.

2. Envisioning Canada without poverty:
CJP is calling for a national poverty reduction strategy to tackle the root causes of poverty and have a positive impact upon the 10.5 per cent of Canadians who are living in poverty. It advises voters to ask their candidates what their vision of Canada is and if it includes naming poverty reduction as a "collective priority."

3. Welcome newcomers into Canada
CPJ says refugees have been facing increasing barriers when seeking asylum in Canada.
"In order to fulfil God’s call to seek public justice, Canada must overcome our culture of fear and welcome newcomers not as strangers, but as neighbours," it said.

4. Taxes and the Common Good
CPJ states that taxes are not just numbers, but are an important tool in helping the government fulfil its public justice tasks. Taxes are "an investment in a shared future," it said.
It argues that taxes represent society's ability to undertake collective action.

5. Prospects for a  "green election"
CPJ says the environmental debate during an election is usually tied to economics, with opponents arguing that "going green" will hurt the economy. But it notes that the debate on the environment is also a debate on economic development and fair taxation.
CPJ also underlines the Christian message: "Christians believe that the earth and all life in it is a gift from God. As part of creation, human beings need to recognize our place within it, and that we have no right to terminally destroy what was meant to exist for all, and for all generations.”

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