As the Christian Heritage Party (CHP) prepares for its annual general and candidate nomination meeting for Skeena-Bulkley Valley at the Old Church in Smithers Feb. 22, party leader Rod Taylor sat down with The Interior News to talk about the October 2019 federal election.
“We’ve set ourselves a goal of at least 100 [candidates],” he said. “Of course, that’s a goal, it’s a bit of a stretch goal, the Christian Heritage Party has never run 100 yet, but we think it’s an achievable goal.”
Part of that confidence comes from a recent two-and-half week trip to Saskatchewan and Alberta where support for social conservative causes, such as making abortion illegal, re-establishing marriage as a union between one man and one woman, and reversing the decision on medically-assisted death runs high. During the last election, he said, CHP deferred to the Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) in many ridings.
“In 2015, we only ran 30 candidates, but one of the things was we withheld candidates in a number of areas last time because we wanted to give the pro-life conservatives who were in office the best chance of getting re-elected,” he said.
Taylor believes the CPC has abandoned the social conservative wing of its party and sees opportunity there.
“We really appreciate the good people that are there, but we are getting calls from Saskatchewan from people who are just tired of the Conservative compromise on important issues,” he said. “We honour the good men and women who are doing right thing within the ranks of the Conservative Party but we’re disappointed that their leader would try to avoid those issues, as did their former leader Stephen Harper.”
Taylor has also recently visited the Lower Mainland where he sees new opportunities to reach a broader Christian base.
“We have some interest there in the Chinese Christian community, basically a new development for us,” he explained. “In the past we’ve had pretty strong Dutch influence in the party, or the Dutch population has been a large part of our membership, and now we are starting to get a lot of interest in other branches of the Christian community, so I think that is a strength for us.”
He is also gaining confidence from some nationwide interest. In November, the CHP hosted candidate training in Winnipeg with 22 candidates from P.E.I. all the way to B.C. They have more sessions scheduled for Ontario in May and Calgary and Vancouver in June.
Of course, even with growing interest, the odds are stacked against the party. In 2015, the 30 candidates that did run only garnered 15,232 votes, an average of less than one per cent in those ridings. Even in the face of the polls, Taylor believes he has an obligation to carry on.
“We consider Canada is polluted with innocent human blood and that there is a price to pay,” he said. “We believe every breath we take, our crops, our sunshine, our weather, our security in our cities, our economic stability, all depend on the blessing and providence of almighty God and if we ignore his commandment to not murder, especially an innocent pre-born child who’s never done anything wrong, and we can just do things our own way, then we think there’s a price to pay and it will affect all citizens.
“To turn a blind eye to that is to ignore some very important principles and we think they need to be represented regardless of popularity.”
Taylor acknowledges it is an uphill battle, but thinks there is untapped support among strategic voters.
“We’re always contending with the idea of people voting for the lesser of two evils,” he said, suggesting a breakthrough for the party could come “if people would actually vote for what they want.”
Taylor sees a broader LGBTQ agenda playing out in the country that he believes is actually undermining society generally and infringing on the rights of Christian people, particularly freedom of speech. He cites a number of developments as evidence of this. These include: Bill C-16, an amendment to the Canadian Human Rights Act that added gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination; Motion M-103, a non-binding parliamentary action to condemn Islamophobia; and the case of Bill Whatcott, who currently faces a B.C. human rights complaint for publishing and distributing a pamphlet against a transgender woman, Morgane Oger, who ran in the 2017 provincial election.
“When Pierre Elliot Trudeau legalized homosexual behaviour and abortion back in ’69, he said famously that the state has no place in the bedrooms of the nation,” Taylor said. “That has a certain ring to it and we don’t seek to impose all kinds of restrictions on what people do in the privacy of their homes, but what we are concerned about is it didn’t stay in the bedrooms of the nation, it’s now in the courtrooms, the classrooms, it’s being imposed on young children to get involved and think about sexual behaviours that realistically children shouldn’t have to be even considering.”
Taylor acknowledges that electing even one member of Parliament in the upcoming election is a stretch, but remains hopeful.
“One member in the House could make a huge difference, one, two three members,” he said. “The Green Party is pulling the levers in British Columbia right now with three members. Elizabeth May has been the one, lone Green Party MP for years and all the big parties are trying to be green, they’ve adopted her climate change rhetoric and so on, so we know even one member in the House of Commons would make a huge difference, would shift the political landscape.”
Taylor also shared a prediction, albeit with a caveat.
“If Canadian’s think, Mr. Trudeau will not be the prime minister after Oct. 21, if Canadians just think,” he said. “His reign has been terrible, he’s been dictatorial with his approach and our debt is skyrocketing.”
That being said, the CHP leader also expressed caution about the likely and preferred alternative.
“Of course, [the debt] went up under the Conservatives,” he said. “That’s a point I have to make sure my conservative friends don’t forget. I don’t think Mr. Scheer reminds them of it, but under the nine years of Mr. Stephen Harper, the Conservatives added $144 billion dollars to the national debt. We’re paying $70 million dollars a day in interest on our debt today.”