by Gordon Nary
Gordon: Please share with our readers your father's involvement in the civil rights movement.
Rod: I was born in the United States and we lived there until my parents moved to Vancouver, BC in 1968. My father, Walter Taylor, was involved in a number of social causes. He wrote many letters to the President and Members of Congress. One very important issue about which both Dad and Mom feltvery strongly about was racial equality, what was then known as the Civil Rights Movement. In the early 1960s, we lived in Salamanca, New York, where Dad was working for the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization. He was working with the Seneca Indians, part of the Iroquois Six Nations whose land was being flooded by the Kinzua Dam, in violation of the Pickering Treaty, signed by George Washington. The treaty had promised that the portion of land that remained to the Seneca Nation would be theirs “as long as the sun would shine and the rivers flow” . . . which is a pretty long time. Dad lobbied aggressively to preserve the treaty. However, in spite of these efforts, the US Army Corps of Engineers went ahead and built the Kinzua Dam, which flooded much of that area. Dad then helped the Senecas relocate and rebuild. In honour of his efforts, he was adopted into the Seneca Nation.
While all this was going on, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was doing his work to bring justice and equal opportunity for black Americans. At that time, there were still restaurants even in Washington, DC, that would not serve blacks. Black students were being prevented from attending schools and universities. Dad went down and participated in the famous Selma to Montgomery March in Alabama. He also attended numerous events like the 1963 March on Washington (peaceful and nonviolent) and he was present when Dr. King gave his famous “I have a dream” speech.
Gordon: How did your father's activism shape your activism?
Rod: I always loved and respected both Mom and Dad for their tireless commitment to the things they believed in. Dad was also a conscientious objector in World War 2 and spent 8 months in jail for refusing to participate in the war. I have formed my own opinions about some of these issues; I honour those who sacrificed to preserve our freedoms . . . but I always respected Dad for following his conscience. I also loved to hear his stories about his fellow-prisoners. While in prison, Dad saw much injustice that he wanted to bring to the attention of others when he was released. He even smuggled out things he had written so that he could write a book about it later. Because he had a college education, the warden asked him to sit in on their staff meetings and take minutes. Dad said he would be happy to do that if he could also make “editorial comments”. That didn’t last too long. But after he was released, he found that the injustices he witnessed in prison were already known . . . those who could have made changes just didn’t care.
Many times (I was an early riser), I would see Dad at his desk, still in his housecoat—at 5 or 6 AM—typing on his old Olympia typewriter: letters to the President or the Senate or a mayor or a newspaper editor, using his time and energy to bring about positive change. I recognized his passion and sacrifice for the things he believed in and I know that set a pattern for me. He also talked constantly to his family, friends and anyone who would listen, offering his perspective on current events and I know he persuaded many people to think differently about the news being reported on television and radio.
Gordon: When did you become involved with the pro-life movement and what were some of your activities?
Rod: I became a Christian in 1976, about the time we moved from BC to Alberta. My wife, Elaine, was a Christian when we were married and we had been married for two years when I gave my life to Christ. In Alberta, we began to get pro-life news and information from various sources and once we understood the issue, we became pro-lifers. I remember the first time I voted in a federal election I asked the candidates whether they were pro-life and I voted accordingly. We also attended BibleSchool for a year and a half and our commitment to the pro-life cause deepened with our understanding of the issues.
We moved back to Smithers, BC in 1987 and joined the Smithers Pro-life Society. I don’t remember for sure when I was elected to the board but I have served on that board now for over 25 years. I also was elected to the Bulkley Valley District Hospital Society in the hopes of influencing policies there but the NDP provincial government of the day decided to eliminate elected boards and installed government appointed health authorities instead. I became involved in both provincial and federal politics and first ran as a provincial candidate in 2001, again, hoping to raise awareness and bring pro-life policies to government. Even though I have not yet been elected at a federal or provincial level, the campaigns are a meaningful time to speak about the issues and influence public opinion. During all this time, I was working in the lumber industry and my other involvements were subject to my work schedule. I wanted to do more.
Gordon: When were you elected National Leader of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada and what are your primary responsibilities?
Rod: I first ran for the leadership of the CHP in 2008. I was not elected then, but Jim Hnatiuk, the elected Leader, asked me to serve as his deputy. Six years later, Jim had stepped down as Leader and that triggered another leadership convention. In November 2014, I was elected National Leader. The responsibilities of the Leader are: to be the primary spokesperson for the party, to participate in policy development, to serve as a candidate during elections and by-elections and to lead the other candidates during elections. I try to visit our members and their local electoral district associations as often as I can. I have visited all the provinces and the Yukon Territory, seeking members and candidates.
I write regularly for our weekly Communiques, as well as our Speaks Out and Updates. These are articles, commentaries, opinion pieces about current events and our responses to them, particularly in regard to legislative matters. I also conduct a weekly interview with various individuals who are engaged in social or political matters. We post those podcasts in both audio and video formats and those interviews can be found in podcasts as CHP TALKS or on our CHP Youtube channel. I also enjoy participating in interviews such as this one.
I attend various events on behalf of the party, such as the March for Life in Ottawa and meet often with elected representatives from other parties as well as those leading other advocacy groups, including pro-life groups like Campaign Life Coalition.
Gordon: What impact has the Covid 19 pandemic had on Canada's economy?
Rod: Of course, COVID-19 has damaged the economy and has consumed resources and caused loss of production time. However, the losses caused directly by the virus are minimal compared to the damage incurred by ill-advised government responses. The lockdowns, business closures, border closures, restrictions on travel, supply chain challenges re-allocation of scarce human resources into non-productive roles (inspections, changes to paperwork and forms, endless debate and the use of police officers to compel compliance, etc.) have crippled the economy. In addition, the expenditure of hundreds of billions of dollars of borrowed money in CERB payments (paying healthy workers to stay home) has created inflationary pressures. Our money is already worth much less, our debt payments are rising and the government seems likely to continue down this road, pushing its anti-life, anti-family agenda. Dark times indeed.
Gordon: What reforms do you propose to ensure continuous growth in the Canadian economy?
Rod: If we were given the opportunity to set government policy today, we would:
End the lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations; end CERB payments and encourage all who are able to return to work.
Re-hire all federal employees who have been fired for refusing vaccination. Many of these people—doctors, nurses, police, military, etc.—have years of valuable experience and training. We need them to help us handle our healthcare and public safety systems. Trying to replace them with untrained people will be costly and will result in unnecessary deaths.
End all federal carbon taxes which do nothing for the environment but raise the cost of all goods and services as well as the cost of heating homes in the North.
Replace the Income Tax with a Fair Tax on goods and services. Employees and their families would pay a flat tax fee on all purchases and could reduce their tax burden by avoiding luxury goods. That would remove the disincentive to work harder and longer hours (as owners of small businesses often do) because workers would not be penalized by being placed in a higher tax bracket.
Implement mandatory balanced budgets. Right now, many politicians are buying votes with taxpayers’ money. We would force all governments to live within their means.
Reduce salaries and pension plans for all federal employees, especially politicians to a level consistent with equivalent private-sector occupations.
End government subsidies of abortion overseas and end government subsidies of news media, including the CBC.
End taxpayer subsidizing of harmful elective surgeries like abortion and gender-re-assignment (sex-changes).
Promote and encourage Canada’s energy sector . . . but NOT by subsidizing. We would—as much as possible—eliminate all government subsidies of private businesses.
Gordon: Thank you for the opportunity to share a bit of my journey and the goals of the Christian Heritage Party of Canada!