Canada: EFC Speaks at Parliamentary Committee about Sunday Polls

General November 20, 2007


For immediate release from The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada

November 20, 2007

Ottawa – Today, The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada’s Director of Public Policy,
Douglas Cryer, spoke to a Parliamentary Committee to express concerns about a
government bill that would open advance polls for federal elections on two Sundays
previous to an election.

“We encourage active civic engagement and recognize that we all benefit when
Canadian citizens exercise their right and duty to vote,” said Cryer. “However,
opening the polls on Sunday may miss the actual intent to increase voter turnout if
it is seen by many as an unnecessary imposition on a time for family, friends and an
already established day of religious observance for millions.”

Currently, one third of Canadians, or 11 million people, attends church at least
once a month and many of them still feel that Sunday is to be set aside for a day of
rest.

Bill C-16, Expanded Voting Opportunities would increase the number of advance
polling days by two – both on a Sunday. The first additional Sunday advance poll
would come a week before the election date, adding to the existing Friday, Saturday
and Monday polls. The addition of the second advance poll on the Sunday before an
election is more problematic, because rather than it being a typical advance poll
with limited voting stations in each polling district, this proposed change would
include all polling stations, just like Election Day, but open at noon instead of in
the morning.

“We are concerned that churches will have to compete with Elections Canada on
Sundays,” Cryer observed. “Presently, 11% of federal polling stations are held in
church facilities. Additionally, in growing communities across Canada, newer and
smaller churches rent countless school gyms and community halls. Many of these
churches would be displaced if Elections Canada needed to place a polling station in
their meeting places. There are many other options available to the government
without disrupting Sunday, which is already established and recognized as a day for
Christian worship.”


For more information or an interview contact:
Gail Reid
Director, Communications
905-479-5885, ext. 227
Cell: 647-227-3464


THE EVANGELICAL FELLOWSHIP OF CANADA
Together for influence, impact and identity

The Evangelical Fellowship of Canada is the national association of evangelical
Christians, gathered together for influence, impact and identity in ministry and
public witness. Since 1964 the EFC has provided a national forum for Evangelicals
and a constructive voice for biblical principles in life and society.

In addition to 40 evangelical denominations, the EFC affiliates include ministry
organizations, educational institutions and individual congregations, who uphold a
common statement of faith. It is an active participant in the World Evangelical
Alliance.

View our current initiatives and partnerships. Visit the EFC gathering of the
Canadian Christian community online: www.christianity.ca.