Questions and Answers with CHP Leadership Candidate Rod Taylor
October 18, 2014 Leadership Interview:
1. How many years have you been involved with CHP Canada and what various roles have you played?
My wife and I joined CHP 27 years ago and Elaine attended the founding convention in Hamilton in 1987. I first ran as a CHP candidate in 2004 and have run four times federally and once for CHP-BC. In 2008 I was a leadership contestant and then served 5 years as Deputy Leader. I became the Western Development Director in 2009 and since then the National Development Director. I serve on the PC&E Committee and also on the P&S. I have been involved with several website improvement projects. I participated in the creation of the first provincial wing, CHP-BC and am currently the Interim Leader of CHP-BC. I also served as the interim President of the BC Council. I love the CHP!
2. The Christian Heritage Party of Canada has now been established for 28 years, how has the Canadian culture changed over this period of time?
Canadian culture has undergone major shifts. The left-wing media, the education establishment and the activist courts have used the Charter to bludgeon Canadians into awkward silence on many important issues, especially around the agenda of breaking down moral values in the realm of sexuality. The common values shared by most Canadians in the 80’s have been successfully undermined, even in many churches. Many Canadians are unwilling to publicly state their opinions on these issues. Thousands of “average Canadians” flock to the garish and obscene pageantry of the gay “pride” parades. Dozens—if not hundreds—of cowardly city councils and universities and even provincial legislatures have obsequiously hoisted the rainbow flag (a beautiful symbol stolen from the Bible and twisted to promote perversion). They have forgotten that the promise of the rainbow came only after God judged the world for sin. God’s people—along with many of our unbelieving fellow-citizens—have failed to take a stand against this onslaught of evil. Terrorist ideology has been foolishly given the same protected status as sincere religious belief. Abortion—while still very much an issue of debate—has become deeply entrenched both economically and socially. Its proponents are tenaciously clinging to it as a “right”, while the slaughter continues and young Canadian women are wounded by the hundreds of thousands.
Computer technology, instant communications and the empowering of young people with new ways of expressing themselves through social media have also had their part to play. The overflow of information has created new opportunities but has also made it much more difficult to hold peoples’ attention. The extent of macabre and brutal fantasy combined with “reality TV shows” and the dearth of spiritual foundational truth has created a generation capable of brutal and senseless acts.
Combined with these challenges, it seems that many good people are so busy that volunteerism and sacrificial commitment are rare. Various good organisations, including churches, are competing for the time and contributions needed to accomplish their tasks. These are some of the changes and challenges that the CHP must face.
3. Considering the changes that Canadian culture has undergone since the founding of CHP Canada, do you feel that CHP Canada has changed or should change to be considered relevant to the culture?
Of course, circumstances often dictate a change of tactics or focus. For the CHP, it is comforting to know that “I the Lord change not”. God’s promises and His character do not change. He is the same “yesterday, today and forever”. So the principles that guide our lives, the importance of family, the value of human life, the commitment to honest standards and to keeping promises—none of these things change. Tactics and strategy can change as we ask God to lead us by his Spirit: the use of websites and social media, the decisions about where to run candidates or how we convey our message to the public, what policies we present as priority platform items. We need to be on the front lines in the battle for the culture and we do need Canadians to see us on the platform and we need to find ways to help them understand our message.
4. As leader of the party, what do you consider to be the top 3 priorities and how do you perceive that these priorities might be addressed?
Our members need to know that we can be counted on, that our policies remain based on Christian principles and that we are not going to compromise or surrender in the battle for the culture.
Our members and the public at large need to know that we have viable policies and that our Better Solutions are practical. They need to see us running full-fledged, serious campaigns and they need to know that our candidates can take their place in important public debates and are prepared to serve in Ottawa. They need to see that we are able to raise sufficient campaign funds to participate fully.
Canadian voters need to see our ads on national TV and read about us in national media. During campaigns, they need to receive flyers, hear us on the radio and see our names when the votes are being counted. We need to be interviewed by talk-show hosts and tweeted, etc. by social media. Canadians need to be kept aware of the CHP between national elections. A 5-week campaign is too short of an exposure to achieve voter loyalty.
5. What role do you feel that CHP Canada has currently in Canadian culture and do you feel that this role should change?
The CHP has always had a prophetic role in Canada. We have been the conscience of many voters and even elected MPs. We have been the voice of Truth. We have challenged the assumptions of the mass-media and have proposed creative God-honouring solutions to national problems. But we have not been taken seriously by enough Canadians at any one time to attain critical mass or break the barriers keeping us from public service as MPs.
We are at a critical time in the history of the CHP. Our members and voters NEED to see visible evidence—milestones of achievement—if they are to continue to sacrifice for the CHP. We need sacrifice and commitment more now than we ever have. We need our members to be much more involved and we need new members coming on board. If we fail to achieve that, we will lose even our prophetic role. The public attention span is just too short and the distractions of other causes are too many. Our members and potential members need to see some forward progress and we must find those opportunities to make our presence felt.
6. The Ontario Progressive Party once had a membership of 100,000, today it is 10,000. CHP Canada also has experienced a drop in membership. To what do you attribute this trend and do you envision an approach by which this might be addressed?
Several things have caused this:
- The long period of social disintegration and the inability of the Christian community as a whole to stem the tide of abortion, perversion, secular education and political correctness—all this has discouraged many who once stood with us.
- The apparent “success” of the Reform / United Alternative / Alliance / Conservative Party while CHP has been unable—so far—to attain even one seat. This has caused some to feel: “If you can’t beat ’em, join ‘em”. It is a struggle between pragmatism and principles.
- A general public sense of helplessness. Many folks feel their efforts will not do any good.
- Statistically, the younger generation has had its values undermined and are busy with other things than politics. They have not—by and large—felt the same level of responsibility to be involved…especially in a cause with little visible success.
The first thing we must do is to remain steadfast ourselves. Obedience is its own reward. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not yet seen. He who hesitates is lost. If we falter in our duty, we cannot expect others to give themselves to our cause.
We MUST renew personal contact with every member, ensure they are aware of current CHP events and activities and enlist their support in recruiting new members. Membership growth is key to our survival.
We MUST get our message out in national media and make better use of social media and our website.
We MUST find EDA and Provincial officers who are committed to the cause and willing to make sacrificial contributions of time and energy. We cannot rely only on printed material—as important as it is—to do the job for us. Our officers and candidates MUST spend time together and with our members or the fire will go out. It has already happened in a few places and it is very difficult to get people to get involved gain once they have given up.
7. The average age of CHP Canada members seems to be approximately 65 or more. Seniors are of course of great value to CHP Canada, however, youth are vital as well. Do you have any thoughts on how youth might become engaged with CHP Canada?
Young people need to know that they have an important role in the CHP. They can be candidates and campaign support teams. They understand social media. They have technical skills. But in order to put them to work, they will need adult mentors to train and guide them. Many youth are just as busy as adults; they will not find the time unless they see an opportunity to make a difference. Even one passionate young person can inspire a whole team.
Knock on every door, turn over every rock, make public appeals talk to your own children. Find ways to engage the next generation. Without them the CHP will slowly disappear.
8. Do you feel that CHP Canada has a clear and relevant vision (goal) and mission (plan on how to fulfil the vision)? If yes, please describe them, if no, what do you feel that they should be?
Yes, our clearest mandate is Article A.3 (a) of the CHP Constitution: “To provide true Christian leadership and to defend, promote and uphold Biblical principles in federal legislation”.
The CHP has always done this even without elected MPs. However, we have had a very small stage and a very small voice. Electing MPs is our 2nd goal and would allow us much greater influence. However, unless we take the necessary steps to survive and grow, we will not be able to continue to provide true Christian leadership as a political party nor to elect even one MP. The steps given above (greater visibility and more consistent efforts to grow the membership) must be taken if we are serious. The 3rd goal—“forming government”—cannot happen until the first two goals have been achieved. Credibility comes out of faithful and consistent service.
9. What role do you feel EDAs should play for CHP Canada and what role do you feel that National leadership should play? Are these roles currently being played out?
EDAs can make or break the CHP. When EDA boards meet consistently and maintain regular contact with their members and keep track of membership renewals and maintain a public presence for the CHP in their districts, they create a situation where the CHP can grow and the CHP candidate can hope for public support. Where EDA boards fail in their duties and allow the membership to flounder, they damage the CHP’s prospects of success. Commitment is everything.
The National Board needs to maintain meaningful contact with local leadership, as well as working through provincial councils. National must provide tools, guidance and training. When necessary, National should assist the EDAs directly with phone calls and personal visits to re-establish local EDA function. If no willing officers can be found, the EDA cannot survive. There must be a plan for identifying and inspiring new officers to take on the challenges of EDA growth. There is a great deal of room for improvement here; basically people need to see how their efforts can make a difference. Nobody wants to waste his / her time. Every success needs to be celebrated and shared.
10. Do you see merit as leader of the Christian Heritage Party in meeting and establishing a relationship with current members of parliament? Why or why not?
Yes, I see tremendous value in getting to know current MPs, especially those who share our values. These men and women have been through the heat of battle and have succeeded in persuading their fellow citizens to vote for them. Presuming they have been transparent about their social values, they have succeeded in promoting social values with which we can agree.
Some of these men and women may one day ask to be a part of the CHP. We need to know them before that happens. Some of them would be a tremendous asset to the CHP. We also need them to know that we stand with them on important issues and are allies, not enemies.
Even if they never join our caucus, one day our first CHP MPs may be serving with them in the House. A mutual respect and friendship would be the best foundation on which we could work together to provide “true Christian leadership” in this great nation of Canada.