An open Christmas letter to area politicians

Dear Mr. Yakabuski and Ms. Gallant

I am a minister in a Christian church in Renfrew. Our faith community has just entered the Advent season, a season of preparation leading up to Christmas, but also a season defined by a spiritual state of longing. In Advent we long for a world made new, we long for fulfillment and restoration, we long for the kingdom of heaven to be born on earth. 

Now some of that language may seem fanciful, esoteric, or abstract but it is lived out in very real ways in our community and as a political official representing our community I thought you would appreciate knowing some of the longings I have this year for our world.

The first and most overwhelming longing I experience is for a world less threatened by climate change. The United Nations recently reported an increase in CO2 emissions despite international agreements to try to lessen these emissions. The harm this is causing to land, waters, animals, and humans is catastrophic. I have changed my shopping and travel habits to try to lessen my impact on the globe but know that more is needed. I urge you to support initiatives such as a carbon tax to try to change our direction. I urge legislation limiting the availability of single use plastics. Representing a rural riding, I appreciate that there are particular challenges to taking meaningful climate action. Many want autonomous control over their property even if it means damaging the common good. I urge you to be courageous in the leadership position you have been given and to act for the good of all.

Most of my other longings can be summed up under the broad category of caring for the vulnerable in our society. I believe the moral integrity of a society is best measured by how well it cares for the weakest members of the community. I long to see the poor protected through a minimum yearly income. I long to see those in prison treated humanely, with a focus on rehabilitation and reconciliation, not punishment. I long to see members of the LGBTQ2+ community given the dignity and safety all desire. There are other vulnerable peoples in our community I could list but suffice it to say that I hope you consider the impact of all legislation on the most vulnerable in our world.

I appreciate that you may not agree with me and my priorities. I know that you and your party speak often of building a strong economy and while I appreciate that economics is important I worry that liberal capitalism’s voracious need for ever increasing profits is unsustainable and is now harming people and the planet. I support increased taxation if it leads to greater corporate and individual responsibility and provides the resources for more social programs aimed at lessening the gap between rich and poor.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. You serve the community and desire the good for the community and for that I thank you and offer you God’s blessings. I hope that you have time this Advent to think about your longings for the world. I hope that, come the Christmas season, you can enjoy the festival. 

Peace in this season.

Your’s truly,

The Rev. Russell Wardell

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