Ottawa (Fides Service) - In a message on the subject ‘Canadians are being called to the polls to elect a new government for our country’ the Catholic Bishops of Canada remind citizens that taking part in elections is a right and a duty: “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...The voting date of 23 January 2006 is an opportunity to exercise a fundamental freedom”. The message dated 30 November was issued by the Permanent Council of the Canadian Catholic Bishops’ Conference.
“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”, the Bishops say, urging all citizens to 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”.
The Standing Committee says it is important to realise 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.” (Agenzia Fides 1/12/2005, righe 21, parole 302)