2023 brought a variety of “big news stories.” A few will have long-lasting consequences in the years to come.
Here are four stories that changed Canada’s cultural landscape:
Massacre in Israel Ignites Wave of Anti-Semitism
On October 7, 2,000 Hamas terrorists murdered, raped, and kidnapped thousands of innocent Israeli citizens without regard. Terrorist-recorded footage revealed sickening evidence of inhumane, unthinkable acts carried out against families, women, and even babies.
In the days and weeks that followed, hundreds of thousands of protestors marched through Canadian streets in support of the terrorists. While some simply raised legitimate criticisms of Israel’s government, thousands of others marched through Canada’s major cities chanting for the complete destruction of Israel and the murder of all Jews.
The protests were accompanied by the highest increase in antisemitism since World War II—instances included gunshots at Jewish schools, bomb threats against Jewish Canadians, and the arrest of an Ottawa teenager on antisemitic-related terrorism charges.
In response, the Liberal Government has seemingly attempted to take both sides of the issue. On one hand, they have attempted to stand with their only democratic ally in the Middle East. On the other hand, they have tried to maintain their favoured status with many Muslim organizations who have threatened to pull their support over the issue.
As the year winds down, this story has not. Multiple Canadian mayors panicking over Menorah lightings revealed more cracks in our politicians’ moral fibre. In the last week of the year, Hamas rejected an Egyptian-led ceasefire effort—ensuring that the tension will continue across Canada and around the world. While world events often fade into the background, the fall-out from October 7 and the subsequent war against Hamas continues to rage in our own streets.
Christians should be prepared to speak into this issue with understanding and moral clarity—never failing to shine the light of Christ in a dark and evil world.
New Brunswick Premier Defends Parental Rights
In May, the Government of New Brunswick announced legislative changes that would require parental notification for all student gender identity changes in New Brunswick schools.
Despite significant media and special interest pressure to reverse the policy, Premier Blaine Higgs remained firm, reiterating his support for parental rights: “I firmly believe that family has always been the backbone of our society and to ensure that continues we can not undermine the importance of the role parents play in their children’s lives.”
Soon after New Brunswick became the first province in the nation to protect parental rights against gender ideology, the Government of Saskatchewan—led by Premier Scott Moe—announced similar measures. Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson followed by announcing that her Party would advocate for parental rights during their ultimately unsuccessful election campaign.
In addition to his firm stance on gender ideology, Premier Higgs has continued his years-long resistance against Federal pressure to begin funding a private Fredericton abortion clinic. This year, the Federal Government signaled that they would no longer pursue measures to force the province to fund the clinic—ceding a de facto victory to Premier Higgs’ long fight against private abortion funding.
Blaine Higgs has consistently stood for truth and has constantly refused to back away from the so-called “culture wars.” His courage has protected children—both born and unborn—and his faithfulness has been one of the biggest political blessings of 2023. May God raise up many more courageous Canadians in the mold of Premier Blaine Higgs.
Euthanasia Becomes Available to Children and Mentally-Ill Canadians
At the end of 2022, then-Minister of Justice David Lametti made a series of ill-advised public comments—including saying that “suicide is a right”—that prompted the Liberal Government to delay a planned expansion of euthanasia availability for children and mentally-ill Canadians.
Because of this, many Canadians who value life were temporarily encouraged to see some momentum against the culture of death. Sadly, however, the temporary reprieve proved to be just that: temporary. The expansion of death by doctor will continue as scheduled in the Spring of 2024.
In 2023, as the Government expanded assisted suicide accessibility, the practice itself continued to grow in frequency—assisted suicide is now Canada’s fifth-leading cause of death after cancer, heart disease, COVID-19, and accidents.
As stories continue to increase about Canadians choosing assisted suicide because of financial pressures and a lack of treatment options, Canada has become the global poster child for euthanasia.
While there doesn’t seem to be much hope on the horizon for change under the current Government, pro-life Canadians cannot give up the fight. A critical election is in the near future and Christian voters should be clear that their votes will follow a principled stance on assisted suicide.
Canadian Church Burnings Continue
Since 2021, nearly 90 church buildings have been burned or vandalized across Canada—all in the aftermath of the announcement that unmarked graves had been discovered at the former site of the Kamloops Residential School (claims which are still unconfirmed).
In 2023, the burnings continued. In just the final month of the year, four Alberta church buildings burned as the result of suspected arson. The recent attacks gained very little coverage from major media outlets, however, and did not even receive an acknowledgement from the Prime Minister.
The aftermath of these fires have proven that the religion of secular progressivism has now replaced Christianity as Canada’s primary religious framework. Accordingly, churches are no longer viewed as safe havens for the vulnerable or a warm home for a watching world. Instead, they are simply viewed as outposts of an ideology the world despises.
As we consider these events, we should reject the idea that the world will love us if we are simply kind, charitable, and winsome. Although we should certainly strive to model these virtues, our Lord himself promised that, “you will be hated by all for my name’s sake” (Matt. 10:22). The world may believe that the burning of our churches is an understandable response to past instances of wrongdoing. In reality, however, this is the result of a larger spiritual battle in which wicked men demonstrate their hatred of Christ and His people.
And yet even in the midst of the fire we have much reason to rejoice. Christ is alive and every bit of suffering is a joyous opportunity to share in the sufferings of Christ as we faithfully await the return of our risen Lord.
The Year Ahead
Trudeau vs. Poilievre
After 8 years of Justin Trudeau, Canada appears to be headed toward a change election sometime between now and September 2025. Since August 2023, Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre has enjoyed a massive polling advantage over the current Prime Minister. At the moment, the race does not even appear to be close: some models show a projected gap of over 100 seats.
Governments don’t go down without a fight, however, and Prime Minister Trudeau has shown a willingness to pull out every possible stop to win an election. Christians should pay careful attention to this story while carefully discerning the mudslinging that is sure to continue throughout 2024 or at least until an election is called.
Provincial Elections in New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, and British Columbia are all on the calendar for 2024.
The elections in New Brunswick and Saskatchewan will be particularly significant indicators of the political success of parental rights policies, as both incumbent governments have strongly opposed unchecked gender ideology.
In BC, a resurgent BC Conservative Party is expected to compete with BC United (formerly the BC Liberals) for Official Opposition status in what polls suggest will be a third consecutive majority government victory for the NDP.
The Embassy of Heaven
2024 will be full of elections, unexpected events, and tragic stories. The nations will rage and the people will plot in vain (Ps. 2). However, God is redeeming a new covenant people for himself and has promised that He will complete His good work within those who trust in the name of Jesus Christ for salvation (Phil. 1:6).
These redeemed men, women, and children gather together every week at your local church to devote themselves “to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). Together, they are the ambassadors of Christ on earth and, although kingdoms rise and kingdoms fall (Job 12:23), our Lord has promised that the gates of Hell will never prevail against His church (Matt. 16:18).
The most important stories of 2024 will not take place on Parliament Hill, Bay Street, or your local town council. The most consequential stories will take place in your local church—however small—as brothers and sisters worship God, hear His word preached, spur each other on to good works, and eagerly await the return of Christ.
In 2024, make the decision to love your church, pray for your church, serve your church, and faithfully attend your church. Canada will one day cease to exist but Christ’s church will be feasting with gladness for everlasting ages. This new year, love Christ by loving His Bride.
A Truth To Consider