November 13, 2008

Student Christian Movement on Election

SCM Canada Pastoral Letter on the 2008 Federal Election

October 19, 2008

To the volunteers, candidates and voters who ran and worked and
deliberated during the 40th Canadian General Election in an attempt to
bring real, progressive change to our political landscape:

The Student Christian Movement of Canada thanks you who were the
progressive, prophetic voice of the people of Canada for your time and
effort in this election. Whether you were a volunteer knocking door to
door - supporting those who would seek to change our relentless march
towards environmental disaster - or running as a candidate - raising
awareness about the significant social justice issues we face in
Canada - we greatly appreciate the efforts you made.

We are gravely disappointed in a system that rewards a few parties
with artificially inflated seat counts, while effectively silencing
millions of people living in Canada who voted for progressive change;
it is also a system that inspires the worst voter turn-out in Canadian
history, excludes those without citizenship or the privilege of
adequate identification, and offers extremely minimal opportunities
for public engagement. At times, this system does not deserve the
description "democratic" nor does it hear the voices of the
marginalized. Nonetheless, we recognize that the actions you took were
prophetic and motivated by a real desire for change. We are inspired
by your vision of a transformed social order that would demonstrate
real care for all of God's world and a more humanitarian and
egalitarian society.

Despite the dismal outcome this election, our faith calls us to hope,
by renewing our commitment towards radical change. We call on the
members of the Student Christian Movement to stay involved in the
political landscape of this country. We must engage our Members of
Parliament in dialogue, challenging them to seek justice and love
kindness. We encourage all members of the Student Christian Movement
to actively challenge our MPs and other government officials,
regardless of political affiliation, to prioritize the issues of
gender and racial justice, sexual diversity, peace, indigenous rights,
environmental justice, universal human rights, and social justice, and
to lobby for profound changes to trade, finance, immigration, foreign
policies, and social programmes. We recognize with deep gratitude the
work of individuals and groups working outside of the political
structures on these issues and serving the needs the government
willfully ignores.

We also call for all people to voice their displeasure with our
current electoral system, which distributes power unequally. If Canada
wishes to continue to call itself a democratic country, we must ensure
that at all levels of government and organization, all voices are
heard. We do not believe that the tyranny of the majority has the
right to ignore or silence oppressed minorities. We must be
visionaries and dreamers, informed by and grounded in praxis,
re-envisioning all aspects of the political sphere and public life.

Through the coming years under a government that has - in the past -
displayed a willful ignorance to issues of justice, we challenge
ourselves and our sisters and brothers to take action and speak
prophetically against the oppressive system of Empire in which we now

In Christ the Liberator,

statement passed by full consensus of the elected
National Board of the Student Christian Movement of Canada

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