Saying Canada’s ruling Conservative party has been unresponsive to concerns of evangelical Christians, a Dutch-born political activist is forming a distinctly Christian party.
Ed Vanwoudenberg, a former furniture manufacturer and house builder who has never held public office, said his Christian Heritage party (CHP) will back traditional family values and free enterprise, and oppose abortion. The CHP has already signed up 1,000 members, and has scheduled a founding convention in November.
Building A Base
Vanwoudenberg, who lives in Vancouver on Canada’s Pacific coast, is eager to build a national base for his party. Earlier this year he opened a CHP office in Halifax on the Atlantic coast. And the party plans to open offices in most, if not all, of Canada’s other provinces.
No well-known political figures have endorsed the CHP. But Vanwoudenberg says it is better to have capable candidates running in key legislative districts than to depend on a high-profile figure for influence. His party will try to field at least 50 candidates for Canada’s next national election, to be held at the call of the prime minister and expected as early as 1988. If the CHP signs up fewer than 50 candidates, it will fail to qualify for free radio and television time and for income-tax deductions for party contributions, among other benefits.
Before they can run on the CHP ticket, candidates will have to pass a background check. They will be checked for a criminal record; addiction to alcohol, drugs, or pornography; and level of business ethics. Each candidate will be required to adhere to the party’s fundamental statements, including a commitment to conservative theological and political positions.
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