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Leaders of Canada's main political parties during a debate earlier this month. Leaders of Canada's main political parties during a debate earlier this month. 

Canadian Bishops: Follow conscience in voting

Canada’s bishops are encouraging all Catholics in the country to vote in Monday’s parliamentary elections, calling on them to follow their free and informed conscience.

By Vatican News staff reporter

“The democratic duty of every citizen to vote in an election is likewise a gift and an opportunity to exercise civic and social responsibility,” Canada’s bishops say in a statement issued ahead of Monday’s parliamentary elections.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau called the elections two years early in hopes of gaining a parliamentary majority, while the rival Conservative party, led by Erin O’Toole, is hoping to unseat him. Polls show that neither Trudeau’s Liberal Party nor the Conservative Party has enough public support to form a majority government.

Three other parties — Bloc Quebecois, which fields candidates only in the French-speaking province of Quebec, along with the New Democratic Party and the Green Party — are also contesting the election.

In their statement, the Canadian bishops urge all Catholics in Canada to vote in the election and call on every Canadian to follow their conscience when deciding how to vote. They add that Catholics are called “to discern their options on the basis of key principles of the Church’s social doctrine,” including respect for the sanctity of human life, the protection of religious freedom, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

The bishops also highlight care for the environment, efforts to eliminate poverty, promotion of a fair and equitable economy, defence of the rights of workers, and the establishment of peace as vital concerns in the elections.

“By carefully considering our choices, we help shape the fabric of the society in which we live, as well as the legacy we are leaving to younger Canadians,” the bishops say.

Faced with difficult choices, the bishops encourage the faithful, “in addition to informing one’s conscience, reflecting deeply and sharing with others … to invoke the Holy Spirit for an outpouring of his manifold gifts so that the electoral process and whatever lies ahead for us may be marked by enduring peace, justice, respect, and social order, so that together we strive to build a brighter future for all.”

20 September 2021, 12:31