Report of the Work Group on Civil and Political Rights: Church Persons' Seminar

Foster, John
Publisher:  Canadian Council of Churches, Toronto, Canada
Year Published:  1978  
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX818

A church seminar that asks whether or not Canadians are at risk of losing their civil liberties.

Abstract:  The Church Persons' Seminar focused on a number of key issues facing churches and the Canadian people (see CX 817). This work group report asks the question, "Are there erosions of civil and political rights at the personal, social and political level?" The answer at all three levels was "yes."
The conclusion is that at a personal level, despite our hesitancies to face it, there is a problem in the erosion of civil and political rights in Canada. On the social level, it was concluded that, faced with national and economic crises, there is a tendency to treat certain groups and options as expendable in the face of perceived "national security" challenges. The group saw dealing with key social problems as "national security problems" as being of real danger to democracy in Canada. At the political level, the group saw Canada moving toward a "national security state." The nation (the political expression of the people through time) is being equated with the state (a governmental structure and its accessories) and in turn with a small elite which has power over the state and "knows best."
In light of the perceived erosion of political and civil rights two aspects of the Christian vocation were seen: to be a sceptic in a situation of ideological distortion and restricted information and to be a searcher of truth.

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