Christian Heritage Party of Canada

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Christian Heritage Party of Canada
Parti de l’héritage chrétien du Canada
Active federal party
Leader Rod Taylor (2014– )
President Dave Bylsma
Founded 1987
Headquarters Ottawa, Ontario
Ideology Conservatism,
Social conservatism,
Cultural conservatism,
Christian right
Political position Right-wing
Colours Pantone 216C
Seats in the House of Commons
0 / 308

Seats in the Senate
0 / 105

Politics of Canada
Political parties

The Christian Heritage Party of Canada (French: Parti de l’héritage chrétien du Canada), also referred to as CHP Canada,[1] is aminor social and fiscal conservative federal political party in Canada. Founded in 1987, CHP advocates for Canada to be governed according to Biblical law. The party’s stated principle is that “the purpose of civil government is to ensure security, freedom, and justice for all its citizens from conception till natural death, by upholding just laws”.[2] CHP states that, if the party forms government, it hopes to “apply proven Judeo-Christian principles of justice and compassion to Canada’s contemporary public policy needs”.[3]

Ed Vanwoudenberg was elected its first leader at the 1987 founding convention in Hamilton, Ontario. Jim Hnatiuk led the party from 2008 to early 2014, and Rod Taylor is the leader as of November 7, 2014.[4]

The party nominated candidates for the first time in the 1988 federal election, and ran numerous candidates in the 1993 and 1997 elections. It was unable to field 50 candidates in the 2000 election and was consequently de-registered by Elections Canada, the government elections agency. The party was re-registered in time for the 2004 election.[citation needed]

Many of its founders had been members of the Social Credit movement.


Some of the key goals and principles of the CHP are:

  • Protect innocent human life at all stages[5]
  • Provide a generous Family Care Allowance when one parent is providing full-time care in the home for children or dependent family members[6]
  • Use the Bank of Canada, to overhaul the economy and the infrastructure of Canada by providing interest-free loans to municipalities, provinces and crown corporations[7]
  • Eliminate income tax, and replace it with a “fair tax[8]
  • Pay off the national debt “like a mortgage and institute balanced budget protocols”[9]
  • Support responsible firearms ownership[10]

Electoral activity[edit]

Election # of candidates # of votes % of popular vote % of popular vote CHP ridings
1988 63 102,533 0.78% 3.56%
1993 58 30,455 0.22% 1.09%
1997 53 29,085 0.22% 1.26%
2000 46dagger 10,110dagger 0.08%dagger 0.51%dagger
2004 62 40,283 0.30% 1.52%
2006 45 28,163 0.19% 1.32%
2008 59 26,751 0.19% 1.02%
2011 46 19,218 0.13% 0.84%

daggerThe party did not have official status for the 2000 election, but 46 candidates were nominated, listed on the ballot without any affiliation information. These figures represent the 46 “non-affiliated” candidates known to be nominees of the CHP.

National leader[edit]

  • Rod Taylor, national leader

The Christian Heritage Party selects its leader at a leadership convention, with voting power to party members in attendance at the convention. If there is only one candidate (as in 2014), the person is not acclaimed, but rather is ratified as leader by a yes/no vote among the voting members. Leadership conventions have been held in 1987, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2008 and 2014. The national convention also elects national table officers (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer); provincial presidents are elected in their respective provinces to represent those provinces on the national board.

Party leaders[edit]

Edward John Vanwoudenberg (November 1987–1991)[edit]

Vanwoudenberg was head of the CHP from the party’s founding convention in 1987[11] until 1991. From 1991 to 1994, he served as the Executive Director, and from 1994 to 1998, he served as the party’s vice-president. A resident of Hope, British Columbia, he ran in the Canadian federal elections of 1988, 1993 and 2000.

Charles Cavilla (1991–1993)[edit]

Cavilla, of Lethbridge, Alberta, was leader of the CHP[12] from the convention at Ottawa in October 1991 until March 1993. A difference of vision on leadership between Cavilla and the party board resulted in the transfer of leadership on an interim basis to Heather Stilwell.[citation needed]

Heather Stilwell (1993–1994) (interim)[edit]

Main article: Heather Stilwell

Jean Blaquière (1994–1995)[edit]

Blaquière, a Pentecostal pastor, was a candidate for the CHP in the Canadian federal election of 1993, and won the party leadership in March 1994 at a Vancouver convention, in a race with two other contenders.[13] Blaquière stepped down at the next convention in November 1995 in London, Ontario.[citation needed]

Ronald “Ron” O. Gray (1995–2008)[edit]

Gray was the leader of the CHP from 1995 to 2008. Born and educated in British Columbia, Gray has worked in journalism, public relations, and the federal public service. He began his career at The Vancouver Sun newspaper, and has also worked at community newspapers in BC and in Suva, Fiji; and the BC Report magazine. He was a public information officer for a major public utility in BC, and for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.[citation needed]

He was a Trade and Commerce Officer attached to the Canadian Consulate in Cleveland, Ohio. He later managed store-front Federal government public information services inWinnipeg and Vancouver. He became Public Information Officer for one of BC’s first community colleges, and later served 10 years in a similar capacity at Trinity Western University.[citation needed]

In the 1988 federal election, Gray ran in his first election under the Christian Heritage Party banner in the electoral district of Fraser Valley East. On election night, he placed fourth out of six candidates with over eight percent of the popular vote, finishing well behind Progressive Conservative incumbent Ross Belsher.[14]

Gray ran for the CHP in every general election until stepping down as leader in 2008, with the exception of 1993. He has also contested four byelections, including one in Calgary Southwest against Canadian Alliance leader Stephen Harper, who later was elected to serve as prime minister of Canada.[citation needed] In a 1999 byelection, he finished one vote ahead of the Reform Party candidate in the Quebec riding of Hull—Aylmer.[citation needed]

Gray became the party leader in 1995. His leadership was confirmed at three subsequent CHP conventions. He stepped down in November 2008. Near the end of 2006, a human rights complaint was filed against Ron Gray alleging communication via the Internet, messages likely to expose homosexuals to hatred or contempt. By October 24, 2008, the complaint had been dropped and the file closed by the Canadian Human Rights Commission.[citation needed]

Jim Hnatiuk (2008-2014)[edit]

Hnatiuk was elected leader of the CHP in November 2008. As a youth, he attended a boarding school run by Oblate priests. He joined the Canadian Forces and served with them for 25 years in the Combat Systems Engineering Department in the Canadian Forces attaining the rank of Chief Petty Officer 1st Class.[15] He has been involved with various churches and is a deacon at Emmanuel Baptist Church.[15]

Hnatiuk joined the Christian Heritage Party in 2002[16] and has run as a candidate for the party in Nova Scotia in the 2004, 2006 and 2008 federal elections.[citation needed]

He became deputy leader of the party in 2005 and was elected leader at the party’s November 2008 convention in London, Ontario defeating Harold Ludwig and Rod Taylor on the first ballot of the party’s leadership convention.[16]

Hnatiuk was a candidate in the November 9, 2009 by-election in the riding of Cumberland—Colchester—Musquodoboit Valley, to replace independent Member of Parliament Bill Casey. He came in fifth, losing to Scott Armstrong of the Conservative Party of Canada.[citation needed]

Because of a difference in understanding on the leader’s mandate to innovate in membership qualifications, and a motion by the national board to ask that the leader put promotion of his vision on hold until a full board meeting could discuss the vision, Hnatiuk submitted his resignation as leader effective February 1, 2014, though choosing to continue as a party member.[citation needed]

In his professional life, he operates the largest hunting, fishing and taxidermy business in Nova Scotia.[16]

David J. Reimer (March 2014 – November 2014) (interim)[edit]

David J. Reimer became a member of the CHP in 1987 while serving as a Pastor in Wetaskiwin, AB. He became active in his riding association and has served the party as candidate in each election since 1988. He served as candidate in the 2014 by-election in Macleod, Alberta.[citation needed]

Until early 2014, Reimer served as interim provincial president for Manitoba, and was appointed as interim national leader to succeed Hnatiuk until the fall 2014 national convention.[citation needed]

Rod Taylor (2014–present)[edit]

Rod Taylor was born in 1951 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. His family was involved in the US civil rights movement in the 1960s and various other social justice issues. He graduated from high school in California and moved with his parents and siblings to British Columbia (BC) in 1968.

Taylor has worked maintaining track and roadbed for the Canadian National Railway, on farms, in the oil and gas fields in Alberta, and in sawmills and forestry work in BC. From 1987 until 2009, Taylor was involved in lumber grading and lumber quality control in Smithers, BC. In 2000 Taylor won the BC Interior Lumber Grading Championship.

In 2001, Taylor ran as a provincial candidate for the BC Unity Party, and in 2004, 2006 and 2008 he represented the CHP in the federal riding of Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

Taylor has served the CHP nationally as Interim President for CHP BC, BC Provincial President, Deputy Leader, Western Regional Development Director and National Development Director. He was named party leader at the 2014 convention in Hamilton, Ontario.

Provincial branches[edit]

The British Columbia Heritage Party voted to became the BC provincial wing of CHP in 2011, and was renamed as the Christian Heritage Party of British Columbia (CHP-BC) after signing a formal affiliation agreement in 2012. Members of the CHP in Manitoba began efforts around the same time to form a branch in their province, but as of 2015 little progress has been made.[17]

While the parties are not formally connected, the membership of the provincial New Reform Party of Ontario (formerly the Family Coalition Party of Ontario) overlaps significantly with CHP as the parties share many policies. [17]