Earlier in January, we reflected on the year gone by. Major moments in the life of Citizens for Public Justice, our successes and advances, and the challenges that we face as a society, and as a Christian community. Looking forward we see many opportunities for deepened relationships, stronger policy perspectives, and additional advances in the pursuit of public justice. Read on to learn more...
In his New Year’s address, Anglican Archbishop Fred Hiltz, referenced “Vision 2019,” the strategic plan of the Anglican Church of Canada. This vision, he says, “calls us to be attentive to our needs as a Church but also attentive to the needs of the world, to be a Church not turned in upon itself but turned out toward the world. We become bread for the hungry, haven for the homeless, light for the city and salt for the earth. In word and action we are bringing forth the kingdom of mercy and justice.”
We believe that this vision speaks to the wider Church, Christians of all denominations, and most certainly to the CPJ community. For this is a community that envisions a world in which individuals, communities, societal institutions and governments all contribute to and benefit from the common good. It is a community called to support policies and practices which reflect God’s call for love, justice and stewardship.
In 2010, we saw important movement on the poverty agenda, the moral imperative of addressing climate change was brought into stark relief, and we were invited to offer leadership on socio-economic issues. This year, we look forward to taking our work to the next level. We will build on past initiatives and continue to push forward.
Connecting with our Members.
We look forward to meeting with even more of our members and supporters. Staff are already planning trips to British Columbia, Alberta, and southern Ontario, and a number of other destinations are likely to follow. We will hold our Annual General Meeting – and related events – in Toronto for the first time since our move to Ottawa in 2007. This will allow us to reconnect with CPJ’s neighbours and friends in the Greater Toronto Area. And, we’ve launched our Public Justice Challenge, which we hope will lead to the increased involvement of our members and a broadened support base.
Efforts Towards a Poverty-Free Canada will continue.
The Dignity for All campaign will be strengthened by the increased engagement of Make Poverty History and a growing list of campaign partners. We will step up efforts to promote the passage of Bill C-545, An Act to Eliminate Poverty, through a petition campaign that runs through March. Simultaneously, we will promote the work of the Human Resources Standing Committee (HUMA) and continue to press for a constructive response from the government -- due by March 17 (do your part: Support the Report!). Plans are also in the works for two intensive policy conferences that will serve to solidify Dignity for All policy recommendations on housing, early childhood education and care, and the various facets of income security.
You can also look for the release of our new worship booklet, “Living Justice: A gospel response to poverty.” This resource, which contains reflections from Anglican, Christian Reformed, Lutheran, Mennonite, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic traditions, will facilitate the engagement of Canadians – both as individuals and faith communities – on issues relating to material, emotional, community, and spiritual poverty. In addition to prayers and discussion questions, “Living Justice” will also include concrete ideas for action.
Preparations for a Potential Federal Election.
While no one can say for certain when (or even if) there will be a federal election this year, at CPJ we will be fine-tuning our analysis and recommendations on critical policy areas in order to inform and educate Canadians as together we consider the best path towards public justice.
Developing a Stronger Stance on Ecological Justice.
Drawing on CPJ’s rich history and informed by the imperative of the current times, we will offer leadership to the “Project on Climate Change and Environmental Decline as Moral Issues,” as we look towards critical international climate change talks in Durban, South Africa in November. In doing so, we will also work towards the elaboration of CPJ policy positions on ecological justice. Some of the specific issues we will explore are climate change, carbon taxes, and the intersection of climate change and poverty in Canada’s North.
CPJ is off to a good start in 2011. The energy in the office is excellent. Staff and Board alike are feeling excited and engaged as we reach towards our common goals. The path towards public justice is not often an easy one, but we continue with the strength of conviction that, one day, God’s Reign will be realized.
“Indeed we call blessed those who showed endurance. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the purpose of the Lord, how the Lord is compassionate and merciful.” (James 5:11)