Citizens for Public Justice
|Fields||Canadian Social & Environmental Public Policy|
Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) is an ecumenical, non-profit organization that promotes justice in Canadian public policy through research and analysis focused on poverty reduction, ecological justice, and refugee rights.
CPJ defines public justice as the political dimension of loving one’s neighbour, caring for creation, and achieving the common good. CPJ’s mission statement is "to promote public justice in Canada by shaping key public policy debates through research and analysis, publishing, and public dialogue. CPJ encourages citizens, leaders in society, and governments to support policies and practices which reflect God’s call for love, justice, and the flourishing of Creation."
CPJ is a registered charity in Canada whose work is funded through donations from private individuals and members, as well as from churches and foundational grants. Its board of directors is made up of 13 representatives from all regions of Canada. Directors can sit a maximum of two three-year terms. In 2013, CPJ celebrated its 50th anniversary. CPJ is an affiliate member of the Canadian Council of Churches (CCC).
- 1 History
- 2 Current work
- 3 Research
- 4 Publications
- 5 References
- 6 External links
CPJ was founded in Toronto in 1963 as the Committee for Justice and Liberty (CJL Foundation) by Gerald Vandezande. In 1971, it merged with the Alberta-based Christian Action Foundation, led by John Olthuis who joined Vandezande in Toronto.
1970s: Mackenzie Valley Pipeline
In the 1970s, the CJL Foundation campaigned against the proposed Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, which would have been built through the traditional land of the Dene people in the Mackenzie Valley of the Northwest Territories in order to send fossil fuels from the Beaufort Sea to American consumers. Appearing before the Berger Inquiry, the CJL Foundation called for a 10-year moratorium on the projects. This was reiterated by John Olthuis, Hugh McCullum, and Karmel McCullum in their book Moratorium and later become a major recommendation of the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline Inquiry by Justice Thomas R. Berger. Tommy Douglas, leader of the NDP, asked to buy hundreds of copies of the book to distribute on Parliament Hill. Eventually, Pierre Elliott Trudeau's government declared a moratorium. This achievement is generally considered to be one of CPJ’s biggest impacts, and an early victory for the group.
1980s: Grassy Narrows First Nation
In 1982, the CJL Foundation's focus shifted to federal public policy. It officially changed its name to Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ) and drafted Guidelines for Christian Political Service and The Charter of Social Rights and Responsibilities.
Throughout the early 1980s, CPJ opened regional offices in Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, while its national office stayed in Toronto. Kathy Vandergrift, a staffer in the Edmonton office, was named Edmonton’s Citizen of the Year for proposing what turned into the Blue Box Recycling Program. CPJ was very involved in the push to get that program implemented, conducting workshops in schools & churches, distributing brochures, and forming the Edmonton Recycling Society, who would run the first recycling centre.
During this time, CPJ proposed a national Social Development and Job Creation fund. Then, in 1986, CPJ introduced the idea of a government tithe, whereby the government would use 10% of its budget to help the poor. The Toronto Star gave the idea front page coverage, and it was covered by other secular and Christian media as it had received support from Christian leaders.
In 1988, Harry Kits became CPJ's Executive Director.
1990s: Child poverty and refugee rights
In 1991, CPJ closed its regional offices and moved all of its operations back to Toronto. In doing this they also changed their work to focus on a few key issues in order to get more in depth with each one. This led to more attention being put on research and education around refugee rights and poverty in Canada.
In the 1990s, CPJ focused on aboriginal rights, poverty, and refugee rights. It was vocal in its support of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. Later in the early 2000s, CPJ opposed the widely criticized British Columbia aboriginal treaty referendum around First Nations treaty rights.
In 1998, CPJ and Campaign 2000 launched "Let’s Invest in Canada’s Children," a campaign to end child poverty in Canada. CPJ, The Canadian Islamic Congress, and the Canadian Council for Reform Judaism appeared jointly in front of the House of Commons Finance Committee to emphasize the inter-faith support for anti-poverty measures.
From 1995 to 2000, CPJ spoke out against the so-called "head tax," the Right of Landing fee of $975 charged to Convention refugees upon arrival. This fee was removed in the 2000 federal budget. They had also been working on the student loans for refugees issue, and saw a victory on that in the early 2000s.
2000s: Move to Ottawa
The new millennium marked many changes for CPJ. In August 22, 2001, Vandezande received the Order of Canada. CPJ was recognized with a certificate of appreciation from the Somali Canadian Advocacy Network for their refugee work, which continued throughout the decade. CPJ also began its anti-poverty work, educating the public and conducting research. This all led up to the launch of the Dignity for All campaign in 2009.
CPJ moved its headquarters from Toronto to Ottawa in 2007. One of the main reasons behind the move was that CPJ felt that, since they focused mainly on federal issues, being closer to Parliament could help their cause. Their announcement explained that "public justice calls us to be where the conversations are happening and to bring our more than 40 years of insight, analysis and tested positions. CPJ has a vision of Canada that embraces pluralism, that asks who benefits from policies, and that puts forward helpful alternatives. A national office in Ottawa will let us advance that vision more effectively."
The move was accompanied by staff changes, and in 2008 Joe Gunn became the Executive Director of CPJ. In 2012, Joe Gunn was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in bringing faith communities together behind the Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change.
Poverty in Canada
In 2009, Citizens for Public Justice and Canada Without Poverty founded Dignity for All, a non-partisan campaign which calls for a poverty-free Canada by the year 2020. Every year on October 17, the Dignity for All campaign marks the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty with events across Canada.
The campaign has been endorsed by many MPs and Senators, including Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, Green Party leader Elizabeth May; Senators Art Eggleton and Janis Johnson; Ministers Marc Garneau, Scott Brison, Carolyn Bennett, John McCallum, and Kirsty Duncan; and MPs Scott Armstrong, Gerry Byrne, Nathan Cullen, Joyce Murray, Niki Ashton, and Charlie Angus. As well, over 600 organizations and 11,000 individuals have signed the Dignity for All call to action.
The Dignity for All campaign released its model National Anti-Poverty Plan for Canada in 2015. The day after this release, MPs passed a nearly-unanimous motion calling on the government “to eradicate child poverty in Canada by developing a national poverty reduction plan.”
In Spring 2015, CPJ organized "Justice Tour 2015," a delegation of national church leaders who traveled to eight cities to engage people of faith in conversations about poverty in Canada and climate change. Following the tour, CPJ helped to coordinate "On Promoting Climate Justice and Ending Poverty in Canada,” an inter-faith declaration from Canadian faith leaders. This was the first such declaration in four years and was endorsed by over 65 signatories.
CPJ assisted in establishing the All-Party Anti-Poverty Caucus. The group, made up of MPs and Senators of all parties, meets regularly to discuss concrete policy proposals that will end poverty in Canada. In 2011, CPJ helped to gather interfaith leaders in Ottawa to sign the Interfaith Declaration on Poverty in Canada. Signatories included the Canadian Council of Churches, The Canadian Interfaith Delegation – World Religions Summit 2010, the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada, and the Dignity for All campaign.
Building on its history of environmental engagement – including the successful call for a moratorium on the Mackenzie Valley Pipeline in the 1970s and the introduction of municipal recycling programs in the 1980s - CPJ supports effective action to combat climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CPJ is a member of the Climate Action Network Canada.
In 2014, CPJ published Living Faithfully into a New Climate, a series of faith and climate resources linked to the UN Climate Summit in New York. Later the same year, CPJ coordinated an interfaith prayer vigil to mark COP20 in Lima. In 2015, CPJ coordinated an interfaith, cross-Canada prayer chain throughout the two weeks of international climate negotiations at COP21 in Paris. This was followed in 2016 by a series of actions through which CPJ mobilized Canadians and called for a Canadian climate action plan that establishes a new emissions reduction target and contributes towards meeting Canada's commitment in the Paris Agreement.
In 2011, CPJ and the Canadian Council of Churches developed the Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change, an ecumenical statement endorsed by over 60 faith institutions in Canada. CPJ's Executive Director, Joe Gunn, contributed a chapter entitled "Taxes and Ecological Justice?" to the book, The Great Revenue Robbery from Canadians for Tax Fairness. In 2012, the Pembina Institute recognized CPJ's executive director, Joe Gunn as a “Clean Energy Champion.”
CPJ has spoken out against policies that disregard refugee rights in Canada including cuts to the Interim Federal Health program, changes to the age of dependency, and the designated country of origin regulations.
CPJ welcomed the Canadian government's plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees in Canada. CPJ joined many faith groups in releaseing the "Inter-faith Statement on Syrian Refugees," affirming and insisting that discriminating by religion is unacceptable when resettling Syrian refugees.
In 2013, CPJ joined the Canadian Council for Refugees' Proud to Protect Refugees campaign. CPJ was also involved in getting church leaders to sign onto the 2013 Human Rights Day Statement which included 47 prominent signatories.
CPJ also comments on other issues such as:
- Housing and Homelessness
- Guaranteed Livable Income
- Federal Budgets
- Electoral Reform
- Indigenous Justice
Annual Poverty Reports
Every October, CPJ releases a report on poverty in Canada. In 2015, CPJ released "On the Margins: A Glimpse of Poverty in Canada." The report shows the unequal impact of poverty on certain groups, such as new immigrants, families led by single mothers, un-attached adults, youth, and Aboriginal people. It also presents poverty rates for each province and territory as well as many big cities and small communities across Canada.
Throughout 2013, CPJ released three more in-depth reports as part of its Poverty Trends Scorecard series:
- "Income, Wealth, and Inequality" (April 2013)
- "Labour Market Trends" (July 2013)
- "Making Ends Meet" (December 2013)
Taxes for the Common Good
CPJ released “Taxes for the Common Good” in 2015. This report is a series of six fact sheets highlighting the positive role taxes play in a democratic society and summarizing up-to-date information on the costs and opportunities afforded by various federal tax policy options.
Private Sponsorship and Public Policy
In September 2014, CPJ released "Private Sponsorship and Public Policy: Political barriers to church-connected refugee resettlement in Canada," a survey of church-connected sponsorship agreement holders (SAHs) that identified several political obstacles to refugee resettlement in Canada.
Poverty at Your Doorstep
In 2013, in cooperation with World Vision Canada, CPJ produced "Poverty at Your Doorstep," a set of reports looking at poverty in the cities of Vancouver, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, and Montreal.
Position papers and backgrounders
From 2008 to 2012, CPJ developed a series of seven backgrounders and position papers on various public policy issues. The topics include guaranteed annual income, housing and homelessness, electoral reform, poverty, early childhood education and care, taxation, and carbon pricing.
CPJ's publishes the Catalyst three times per year. The first edition was published in 1978. It includes feature articles on faith and Canadian public policy as well as current activities and events at CPJ. The Catalyst regularly wins awards at the Canadian Church Press annual award ceremony.
- Living Ecological Justice: A Biblical Response to the Environmental Crisis (2013)
- Edited by Rev. Dr. Mishka Lysack and Karri Munn-Venn. "Living Ecological Justice" is a worship and action guide for churches and small groups. It is made up of three sections entitled, "Protecting What We Love," "The Biblical Case for Creation Advocacy," and "Towards Abundant Life for All Creation."
- Living Justice: A Gospel Response to Poverty (2011)
- Edited by Rev. Adam Snook and Karri Munn-Venn. "Living Justice" is book of reflections, prayers, and actions for churches and small groups. It includes four parts on material, emotional, community, and spiritual poverty.
- Globalization and Christian Hope: Economy in the Service of Life (2003)
- By Bob Goudzwaard and Leo Andringa.
- Nation to Nation: Aboriginal Sovereignty and the Future of Canada (2002)
- By John Bird, Lorraine Land, and Murray MacAdam. "Nation to Nation" is a compilation of 18 articles that give an overview of Aboriginal-Canadian relations and proposals for the future. Topics covered include the Innu struggle, residential schools, the Nisga'a treaty, land claims, women and self-government, the birth of Nunavut, and solidarity strategies.
- Justice, Not Just Us: Faith Perspectives and National Priorities (1999)
- By Gerald Vandezande. "Justice, Not Just Us" includes a collection of essays that outline a public justice approach to such issues as child poverty, economic inequality, national unity, and educational injustice.
- The Advent of Justice: A Book of Meditations (1993)
- By Brian Walsh, Richard Middleton, Mark Vander Vennen, and Sylvia Keesmaat. The Advent of Justice was published in 1993 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the CJL Foundation and Citizens for Public Justice (CPJ).
- Christians in the Crisis: Toward Responsible Citizenship (1983)
- By Gerald Vandezande.
- Moratorium: Justice, Energy, the North, and the Native People (1977)
- By Hugh McCullum, Karmel McCullum, and John Olthuis.
- Carlson-Thies, Stanley W.; Skillen, James W. (1996). Welfare in America. Wm. B Eerdmans. p. 111. ISBN 9780802841278.
- "Contributing to the Common Good" (PDF). August 2007. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "Partner Organizations - Christian Reformed Church". Christian Reformed Church in North America. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Board of Directors". Ottawa, ON: Citizens for Public Justice. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Epp, Aaron (May 9, 2013). "Citizens for Public Justice celebrates the past, looks to the future". Christian Week. Winnipeg, MB. Retrieved August 20, 2014.
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- Gruending, Dennis (June 12, 2008). "Citizens for Public Justice questions tar sands". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- Volman, Ben (July–August 2009). "Canada's Unassuming Prophet". Faith Today. Richmond Hill, ON. p. 25. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
- McCullum, Hugh; McCullum, Karmel; Olthuis, John (1977). Moratorium: Justice, Energy, the North, and the Native People. Toronto, ON: Anglican Book Centre. ISBN 0-919030-17-3.
- Bird, John; Land, Lorraine; MacAdam, Murray (2002). Nation to Nation: Aboriginal Sovereignty and the Future of Canada. Toronto,ON: Irwin Publishing. ISBN 0-7725-2918-3.
- Bauman, Richard W.; Kahana, Tsvi (2006). The Least Examined Branch The Role of Legislatures in the Constitutional State. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0521859549.
- Vandezande, Gerald (1983). Christians in the Crisis: Toward Responsible Citizenship. Toronto, ON: Anglican Book Centre.
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- Vecsey, Christopher (Autumn 1987). "Grassy Narrows Reserve: Mercury Pollution, Social Disruption, and Natural Resources: A Question of Autonomy" (PDF). American Indian Quarterly. 11 (4). pp. 287–314. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- MacAdam, Murray (March 14, 2013). "50th Anniversary Reflection". Citizens for Public Justice. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Kits, Harry (December 23, 2013). "Building public justice together: CPJ’s 50th anniversary" (PDF). Christian Courier. St. Catharines, ON. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Lyon, David; Van Die, Marguerite (2000). Rethinking Church, State, and Modernity: Canada Between Europe and America. University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division. ISBN 0802082130.
- Land, Lorraine (January 1997). "Recipe for Assimilation or a New Relationship? The Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples Report". The Catalyst. Ottawa, ON. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Referendum on Treaty Negotiations: Make your vote count for justice" (PDF). 2002. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- Ramsay, Heather (April 8, 2005). "Candidates Court First Nations Voters". The Tyee. Retrieved September 9, 2014.
- "Child Poverty in Canada". Friday Magazine. Saskatoon, SK. November 19, 1999. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- Kits, Harry. "Betwixt and Between: Refugees and Stateless Persons in Limbo". Refuge. Toronto, ON. Volume 22, No. 2. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
- "Ending limbo for refugees" (PDF). Maytree Foundation. Retrieved September 5, 2014.
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- "Joe Gunn receives Diamond Jubilee Medal". Citizens for Public Justice. December 19, 2012. Retrieved August 25, 2016.
- "About Dignity for All". Dignity for All. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Food Bank Volunteers Fed Up with Government Inaction". PR Newswire. Ottawa, ON. October 16, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
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- "Canada ‘needs a plan’ on poverty, says campaign group | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- InsideToronto.com. "Scarborough MP’s motion to end child poverty in Canada passed by House of Commons". www.insidetoronto.com. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- "The Ecology of Religion". 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- "Canadian faith leaders call for climate justice « Canadian Council of Churches". www.councilofchurches.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- van Wensem, Casey (2012). "Political advocacy in dysfunctional times". Canadian Mennonite. Winnipeg, MB. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Interfaith Declaration on Poverty in Canada". Canadian Council of Churches. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Swift, Richard, ed. (2013). "The Great Revenue Robbery: How to Stop the Tax Cut Scam and Save Canada". Between the Lines. pp. 101–112. ISBN 978-1-77113-103-2.
- "Our Members - Climate Action Network Canada". Climate Action Network Canada. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Church Resources: Ecological Justice". Citizens for Public Justice. 2016-03-13. Retrieved 2016-09-13.
- "Light for Lima". 2014-12-12. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- CPJ (2016-06-05). "A Public Justice Vision for Canada's Climate Action Plan". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- "Canadian Interfaith Call for Leadership and Action on Climate Change" (PDF). Canadian Council of Churches. December 2013. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Swift, Richard (2013). The Great Revenue Robbery: How to Stop the Tax Cut Scam and Save Canada. Toronto, ON: Between the Lines.
- Institute, Pembina. "Clean Energy Champions: Joe Gunn collaborates with Pembina Institute to mobilize the faith community on ecological justice issues". Pembina Institute. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- Wassink, Brad (June 20, 2013). "Changing the way we talk about refugees". Victoria Times Colonist. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Chapman, Ashley (July 26, 2014). "Canada tightens rules on immigrant and refugee children". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Gunn, Joe (March 12, 2012). "New bill threatens vulnerable women, children, refugees". Western Catholic Reporter. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Letter: Canada to resettle 10,000 Syrian refugees". Citizens for Public Justice. 2015-01-09. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- Wassink, Brad (2014-12-12). "Syrian Refugees: Discriminating by religion is unacceptable". Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- Gunn, Joe (November 11, 2013). "Canada, avoid being part of 'globalization of indifference'". Western Catholic Reporter. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- Chapman, Ashley (December 10, 2013). "Human Rights Day Statement: What About Refugee Rights?". Citizens for Public Justice. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
- "National housing strategy needed". Welland Tribune. February 27, 2013. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- "Canadian Political Primer on Guaranteed Livable Income". Livable for All. September 2010. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Lewchuk, Simon (January 1, 2014). "Budget Watch 2014: The Need For Visionary Leadership". The Huffington Post. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Vandeaznde, Gerald (May 1, 1998). "Legal equality in a pluralistic society". Anglican Journal. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Gunn, Joe (March 25, 2014). "The moral case for Fair Elections". Rabble. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- Pasma, Chandra (Summer 2011). "Taxes and Democracy: Two Sides of the Same Coin". The Catalyst. Retrieved September 10, 2014.
- "No real improvement on poverty in Canada". rabble.ca. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- "Income and Wealth Inequalty". Canadian Social Research Links. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Taxes for the Common Good: Building a Better Canada - Loonie Politics". 2015-06-05. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
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- "New report puts Canadian poverty under microscope". CNW. March 27, 2013. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
- "Position Papers & Backgrounders". Citizens for Public Justice. Retrieved October 2, 2014.
- "CPJ: A rose by any other name" (PDF). Citizens for Public Justice. January 2006. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "CCP Member Publication". Canadian Church Press. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Living Ecological Justice: A Biblical Response To The Environmental Crisis". United Church Resource Distribution. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- "Living Ecological Justice". Canadian Religious Conference. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
- Sison, Marites N. "Booklet aimed at inspiring action against poverty". Anglican Journal. Toronto, ON.
- Goudzwaard, Bob; Andringa, Leo (2003). Globalization and Christian Hope. Toronto, ON: Public Justice Resource Centre.
- Vandezande, Gerald (1999). Justice, Not Just Us: Faith Perspectives and National Priorities. Toronto, ON: Public Justice Resource Centre. ISBN 0-9686695-0-6.
- Walsh, Brian; Middleton, Richard; Vander Vennen, Mark; Keesmaat, Sylvia (1993). The Advent of Justice: A Book of Meditations. Toronto, ON: CJL Foundation.