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Hill Times interview with Dennis Gruending

How much real influence do these advocacy and lobby groups have at influencing public policy, such as the Institute of Marriage and Family Canada; the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies; the Institute for Canadian Values, the National House of Prayer, and 4MyCanada, Campaign for Life, the Catholic Civil Rights League, and REAL Women of Canada?

“Well, they believe they have much more traction with the Harper government than they had with the Liberals. I have seen a number of statements to this effect. But they win some and they lose some on the issues. The Institute of Marriage and the Family provides research and strategic advice for conservative causes and lobbied hard on the issue of same sex marriage, but they lost that one.

“They did win, however, on having the Conservatives ditch the public childcare initiative negotiated by Paul Martin with the provinces and territories, replacing it with a tax credit to middle class and wealthier families. REAL Women lobbied the Conservatives to have the Court Challenges Program eliminated and it was. They also wanted the Status of Women offices shut down. The Conservatives did not eliminate Status of Women entirely but they did cut them back severely and weakened their mandate. Religious conservatives seem to be getting pretty well everything they want on crime and Canadian support for Israel.

“But they should be careful. They have cast their lot with the Mr. Harper but he is playing a game with them. He wants them to think he is solidly on their side but he can’t give them everything that they want because that would turn off a majority of Canadians who want nothing to do with religious conservatives or with their agenda. Mr. Harper has disappointed religious conservatives on both the same-sex marriage and abortion issues. Some of them are beginning to believe that he is taking them for granted.”

Hill Times: Competition among religious ideologies will continue with ‘an enduring intensity,’ says Gruending

Pulpit and Politics: Competing Religious Ideologies in Canadian Public Life is available at Alpine Book Peddlers and will be available as an ebook .

Dennis blogs at Pulpit and Politics

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