Tristan Emmanuel

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Tristan Emmanuel
Occupation activist, publisher
Home town Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

Tristan Alexander Emmanuel is a Canadian political and religious activist. He is the founder and former president of the Equipping Christians for the Public-square Centre (ECP Centre), and is perhaps most notable for his opposition to same-sex marriage. He is now the president of Freedom Press Canada Inc.,[1] a niche publishing company that he founded in 2003.

Early life and career[edit]

Emmanuel was raised in Waterloo, Ontario as part of a nominally Lutheran family. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree and attending divinity school in the United States, he was ordained as a minister in the Reformed Presbyterian Church General Assembly. He operated a small freight delivery company in Ontario's Niagara region in the 1990s, and served as the pastor of Living Hope Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Vineland.[2][3] He later worked toward a Master's degree at McMaster University's Divinity School, writing about the efforts of early Christian apologists to lobby Roman Emperors.[3]

In 1999, Emmanuel founded Equipping Christians for the Public-square. He remained its president for several years, before resigning in 2008.

Emmanuel was a candidate for the socially conservative Family Coalition Party in the Lincoln electoral division in the 1995 Ontario provincial election. He was quoted as saying, "It's time to have a principled party that understands there's a higher power than the government, a power we believe is God." Emmanuel argued that problems of unemployment and economic development could only be solved by a free-market system, and called for the government to shift welfare services to community organizations. He also opposed the Progressive Conservative Party's workfare proposal, which he described as "nothing more than slavery".[4] He finished fourth against Progressive Conservative candidate Frank Sheehan.

Emmanuel ran against prominent federal politician Sheila Copps in a 1996 by-election as a candidate of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada. In this campaign, he called for harsher prison sentences and an increased focus on the rights of victims.[5] He argued that Canada's Young Offenders Act should be abolished and corporal punishment reintroduced to schools, and was quoted as saying, "If an eleven-year-old murders someone, I think his life should be taken."[6] He finished ninth in a field of thirteen candidates. Emmanuel also ran for the Christian Heritage Party in the 1997 federal election, and finished fifth against Liberal incumbent Walt Lastewka. Later, he described both the Family Coalition Party and the Christian Heritage Party as political dead ends.[3]

Social conservative activism[edit]

Emmanuel became more involved with right-wing and socially conservative campaigns in the first decade of the twenty-first century. In April 2003, he organized a "Canadians for Bush" rally in Queenston Heights, Ontario, to support the American invasion of Iraq. The rally was attended by several prominent federal and provincial politicians, including Stockwell Day and provincial cabinet ministers Jim Flaherty and Tim Hudak.[7][8]

Emmanuel's organizational role in the rally drew attention to controversial statements he had made in previous years. The New Democratic Party of Ontario (NDP) issued a press release with excerpts from several of Emmanuel's writings, asserting that he had described gay men as "sexual deviants"[3][7][9] and Islam as "as far from peace, as hell is from heaven" in separate articles written in 2002.[10] NDP legislator Rosario Marchese called on Hudak and Flaherty to dissociate themselves from the rally in light of these statements. A spokesperson for Hudak responded that the minister had not known about Emmanuel's articles before seeing the press release, and that the pro-American rally should not be "sidetracked" over the matter.[10]

As executive director of the ECP Centre, Emmanuel organized several public forums throughout 2003 to discuss same-sex marriage and the extension of Canada's hate speech laws to cover statements made against gays and lesbians. Most speakers at these events were social conservatives who opposed both legislative initiatives, although some speakers took different views.[11]

Emmanuel campaigned against the legal recognition of same-sex marriage in Canada in 2005, organizing several rallies across the country, including one outside Parliament Hill in Ottawa and another at Queen's Park outside the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.[12][13][14] Emmanuel sought to include non-Christian groups in these events, inviting Jewish and Muslim representatives as speakers.[15] He also sought to build connections with the American Christian right.[16] Notwithstanding his efforts, same-sex marriage was granted legal recognition throughout Canada in the summer of 2005.

Concerns were raised in this period about the influence of Emmanuel's organization over Conservative Party nominations in some ridings. In particular, his endorsement of three candidates at a rally in Kemptville, Nova Scotia was seen as helping those candidates secure party nominations in their ridings. Asked about the matter, Emmanuel said, "It's time we stopped apologizing and started defending who we are. The evangelical community in Canada, by and large, and socially conservative Catholics, are saying we have been far too heavenly minded and thus we have been of no earthly value for far too long, on too many fronts." He declined to say how many of his adherents had secured Conservative Party nominations, arguing that the media would portray his campaign as the infiltration of the party by "right-wing fanatics."[17][18] He also stated that his group was non-partisan, and that he was not working as an agent of the Conservative Party.[3]

In a 2005 interview with the Hamilton Spectator, Emmanuel described homosexuals as "sexual deviants" and that homosexuality is "a choice," said that he regarded it as "the wrong choice, a bad choice," and further argued that "the state shouldn't sanction wrong choices." He acknowledged that his views would be hurtful to some readers, but argued that this did not make his opinions hateful.[19]

During this period, Emmanuel sought to distance himself from statements he had made three years earlier that were critical of Islam. Discussing a 2002 article in which he favourably cited Franklin Graham's description of Islam as an "evil and wicked religion," Emmanuel said, "I know the religion itself isn't that [evil and wicked] but it was a polemical piece ... written in the context of 9/11." He added, "Polemics doesn't define a man. As I get old and more mature, I realize polemics has its place, but you have to be careful."[3][20]

In late 2005, Emmanuel undertook a speaking tour of the United States. He argued that Canada's political establishment was attempting to export a liberal culture to the United States via the United Nations, and encouraged Canadian citizens living in the United States to vote against the Liberal Party in the 2006 federal election.[21] During the election itself, he campaigned for the next parliament to revisit the issue of same-sex marriage.[22] Later in the year, Emmanuel told a conference in Washington, D.C. that Christians were discriminated against in Canada.[23]

Emmanuel has also written against multiculturalism: "we suffer from... a form of Anglo-Saxon self-hatred. We call it multiculturalism. This is the politically correct way of saying white, English-speaking culture is bad."[24]

In early 2014, Tristan Emmanuel worked with Freedom Press to make a video heavily criticizing comedian Bill Maher on his show for calling God "a psychotic genocidal mass murderer" when discussing the Genesis flood. Emmanuel in the video advocates reenacting legislation based on the Blasphemy Act of 1697 in order to "hold blasphemers accountable" as he expresses his view that the United States is built on Biblical authority and that "a day of reckoning" will cause God to condemn the nation. Many internet users have criticized Emanuel for his dismissal of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in favor of blasphemy laws, and his immorality of advocating acts such as imprisonment and flogging against blasphemers. Users have also pointed out the fact that the blasphemy act Emmanuel draws from was in establishment while the thirteen colonies where still under British control.

2009 Progressive Conservative leadership contest[edit]

Emmanuel resurfaced in 2009 as campaign manager for Randy Hillier, in the latter's bid to lead the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario.[25] During this campaign, Emmanuel and other figures in the Progressive Conservative Party called for the abolition of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.[26] Hillier finished last in a field of four candidates on the first ballot and gave his support to the eventual winner, Tim Hudak.


Stockwell Day has endorsed Emmanuel, writing "[w]hether promoting friendship between nations or rallying for family and faith, Tristan has worked diligently to promote conservative causes in Canada."[27]


Emmanuel is the author of a book entitled, Christophobia: The Real Reason Behind Hate Crime Legislation, in which he argues that hate crime legislation in Canada has resulted in a loss of religious freedom. He is also the author of the 2006 book Warned: Canada's Revolution Against Faith, Family, and Freedom Threatens America.

Electoral record[edit]

Canadian federal election, 1997: St. Catharines
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
Liberal Walt Lastewka 21,081 43.5 −5.6 $46,896
Reform Rob Hesp 15,029 31.0 +2.2 $41,350
Progressive Conservative Gregg Crealock 6,503 13.4 −1.6 $25,799
New Democratic Ed Gould 4,657 9.6 +3.8 $24,683
Christian Heritage Tristan Emmanuel 688 1.4 +0.2 $7,249
Canadian Action G.L. Malcolm 308 0.6 $2,976
Natural Law Helene Darisse 245 0.5 $0.00
Total valid votes 48,511 100.0
Total rejected ballots 272
Turnout 48,783 65.49
Electors on the lists 74,484
Sources: Official Results, Elections Canada and Financial Returns, Elections Canada.

Canadian federal by-election, June 17, 1996: Hamilton East
Party Candidate Votes % Expenditures
Liberal Sheila Copps 12,268 46.09 $52,208
  New Democratic Party Wayne Marston 6,941 26.08 $50,019
  Progressive Conservative Angie Tomasic 3,662 13.76 not listed
  Reform Andy Sweck 2,750 10.33 $44,372
  Ind. (Christian Freedom) Ken Campbell 287 1.08 $8,704
  Non-Affiliated George Ambas 160 0.60 $5,700
Green Wendy Priesnitz 152 0.57 $3,103
  Independent Glenn Malcolm 113 0.42 $3,414
  Christian Heritage Tristan Emmanuel 78 0.29 $2,770
  Non-Affiliated Victor Knight 70 0.26 $16,354
  Natural Law Bill Amos 64 0.24 $42
Canada Party Charles Olito 52 0.20 $9,727
  Abolitionist John Turmel 21 0.08 $0
Total valid votes 26,618 100.00
Total rejected ballots 271
Turnout 26,889 51.13
Electors on the lists 52,592
All data from Elections Canada.

Ontario general election, 1995: Lincoln
Party Candidate Votes % ∆% Expenditures
     Progressive Conservative Frank Sheehan 18,709 50.68 $44,992.99
Liberal Harry Pelissero 10,876 29.46 $36,631.91
New Democratic Ron Hansen 5,800 15.71 $19,168.08
Family Coalition Tristan Emmanuel 1,241 3.36 $3,872.39
Natural Law Mary Glasser 288 0.78 $0
Total valid votes 36,914 100.00
Rejected, unmarked and declined ballots 317
Turnout 37,231 68.09
Electors on the lists 54,677


  1. ^ Freedom Press Inc.
  2. ^ Prokaska, Lee & Jim Poling (7 June 1996). "The baker's dozen byelection". Hamilton Spectator, B2.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Valpy, Michael (13 June 2005). "Spreading the gospel of political evangelism". Globe and Mail, A1.
  4. ^ Arnold, Steve (1 June 1995). "Profile Lincoln". Hamilton Spectator, C2.
  5. ^ Davy, Denise (23 May 1996). "13 battle for Hamilton East: The environment, gay rights and GST among issues debated by candidates". Hamilton Spectator, D5.
  6. ^ Nolan, Dan (14 June 1996). "Candidates latch onto Young Offenders Act". Hamilton Spectator, B2.
  7. ^ a b "Two Tory cabinet ministers plan to take part in a pro-American rally this weekend near Niagara Falls," Broadcast News, 11 April 2003, 05:43pm.
  8. ^ Michel, Lou (13 April 2003). "Locked Arm-in-arm; Canadians Gather to Show Support for U.S. War Effort". Buffalo News, B1.
  9. ^ "Ontario update". Broadcast News, 12 April 2003, 03:06am.
  10. ^ a b Baillie, Andrea (11 April 2003). "Ont. cabinet ministers to attend rally; organizer has called gays 'deviant'". Canadian Press, 07:56pm.
  11. ^ Elliott, Lianne (28 August 2003). "Telegdi storms out of meeting; Attempt to link sex orientation to pedophilia disgusts MP". Kitchener-Waterloo Record, A1. According to this article Emmanuel had promoted fifteen such events across Ontario in the preceding three months.
  12. ^ Petricevic, Mirko (9 March 2005). "Group to rally for traditional marriage". Kitchener-Waterloo Record, B4
  13. ^ Petricevic, Mirko (11 March 2005). "Same-sex marriage foes fear for family". Kitchener-Waterloo Record, B2
  14. ^ D'Andrea, Armando & Tim Naumetz (21 May 2005). "Same-sex foes fight on: Bill gets new life as opponents plan rally at Queen's Park". National Post, A1. The Kitchener rally was addressed by Conservative Member of Parliament Maurice Vellacott.
  15. ^ "3,000 rally against same-sex marriage bill". Hamilton Spectator, 24 May 2005, A11.
  16. ^ Todd, Douglas (30 July 2005). "Enter the evangelicals: U.S. fundamentalist groups have a foot in Canada's political door, and they're pushing it open". Vancouver Sun, C1.
  17. ^ Galloway, Gloria (27 May 2005). "Christian activists capturing Tory races; Some in party worry new riding nominees will reinforce notion of 'hidden agenda'". Globe and Mail, A1.
  18. ^ O'Neil, Peter (22 August 2005). "Religious conservatives aim for Tory ascendancy: Radical Christians remain marginal in Harper's party". National Post, A4.
  19. ^ Dunphy, Bill (3 February 2005). "Can we disagree without name-calling?". Hamilton Spectator, A2.
  20. ^ "Tristan Emmanuel, Talk About Turning a Blind Eye, Part 2". The Chalcedon Foundation, 26 January 2002. Retrieved on 26 October 2009.
  21. ^ "Canadian Political Activist Touring U.S.; Canada's Leftist Political Establishment Pursues Cultural Conflict with U.S." [press release], U.S. Newswire, 13 December 2005.
  22. ^ "Religion and politics". Mike Duffy Live, 18 January 2006. Recovered on 26 October 2009.
  23. ^ Cooperman, Alan (29 March 2006). "'War' on Christians Is Alleged; Conference Depicts a Culture Hostile to Evangelical Beliefs". Washington Post, A12. Emmanuel was quoted as saying, "It doesn't rise to the level of persecution that we would see in China or North Korea. But let's not pretend that it's okay."
  24. ^ Emmanuel, Tristan (June 22, 2007). "The tragedy of Anglo-Saxon self-hatred". Retrieved on 13 November 2009.
  25. ^ Talaga, Tanya (31 March 2009). "Maverick MPP joins PC leadership race; Rural representative known for far-right views says Ontario party cannot be 'a Liberal look-alike'". Toronto Star, A6.
  26. ^ Howlett, Karen (16 May 2009). "Hudak calls for abolition of Human Rights Tribunal". Globe and Mail, A9.
  27. ^ Endorsements. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.