Message of the Permanent Council of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
on the 2006 Federal Election
30 November, 2005
Canadians are being called to the polls to elect a new government for our country.
One of our most important rights is active participation in the democratic election of a government charged with the responsibility to manage the affairs of state and to see to the protection of the common good of the nation. How many men and women in other societies can only dream of this democratic freedom and must struggle, often at the risk of their lives, to obtain the right to vote? The voting date of 23 January 2006 is an opportunity to exercise a fundamental freedom. But this is not only a right it is a duty for each citizen to be involved in the selection of our political representatives.
Political involvement is key for the future of our society. Citizens too often undervalue politics and public service. Whether as part of the governing party or the opposition, political involvement is a determining factor in social, ethical and economic questions, with direct repercussions on the lives of everyone in our land. It is a major responsibility which should not be belittled by voter disinterest. This is a major reason why all citizens should indicate their expectations and concerns to the candidates who aspire to be elected. Voters should question candidates on their political, social, ethical and economic positions, as they have the responsibility to know the fundamental values of those whom they elect, and should insist on the issues that are key to the lives of the men and women of our country, particularly the needy, the poor, families and children.
It is important to realize that political life is undermined in a democratic nation if those involved are obliged to distance themselves from their own religious beliefs, fundamental convictions and the voice of their conscience. The basic questions which are part of the current reflections and discussions of Canadian society require political leaders to use all their personal resources, in order to develop political orientations and legislative options that truly serve the common good and respect freedom of religion and conscience.
Over the past two years, the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops has continued to intervene on a number of the fundamental issues facing Canadian society. These interventions can be consulted on the CCCB website at www.cccb.ca
Members of the Permanent Council:
- Most Reverend André Gaumond, Archbishop of Sherbrooke, President of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Most Reverend V. James Weisgerber, Archbishop of Winnipeg, Vice President
- Most Reverend Pierre Morissette, Bishop of Baie-Comeau, Co-Treasurer
- Most Reverend James M. Wingle, Bishop of St. Catharines, Co-Treasurer
- His Eminence Marc Cardinal Ouellet, Archbishop of Quebec City and Primate of Canada
- His Eminence Aloysius M. Cardinal Ambrozic, Archbishop of Toronto
- His Eminence Jean-Claude Cardinal Turcotte, Archbishop of Montreal
- Most Reverend Michael Bzdel, C.Ss.R., Archeparch of Winnipeg and Metropolitan of Ukrainian Catholics in Canada
- Most Reverend Roger Ébacher, Archbishop of Gatineau
- Most Reverend André Richard, C.S.C., Archbishop of Moncton
- Most Reverend Raymond J. Lahey, Bishop of Antigonish
- Most Reverend Martin Veillette, Bishop of Trois-Rivières
- Most Reverend Jacques Berthelet, C.S.V., Bishop of Saint-Jean-Longueuil
- Most Reverend Lawrence Huculak, O.S.B.M., Ukrainian Eparchial Bishop of Edmonton
- Most Reverend Ronald P. Fabbro, C.S.B., Bishop of London
- Most Reverend Robert Harris, Auxiliary Bishop of Sault Ste-Marie