Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

British Columbians have an important opportunity to help guide the direction of the province by prayerfully discerning and voting in the Oct. 24 provincial election.

The participation of the faithful in the democratic process is essential in this time of COVID-19 and social upheaval addressed by Pope Francis in his new encyclical Fratelli Tutti. In it, the Holy Father refers several times to threats to the democratic process in society, including pressures that may lead to the “elimination of the very notion of democracy as ‘government by the people.’”

Voting allows us to bring our Christian values to the ballot box and have a direct influence on our society. Unfortunately many Catholics refrain from voting, whether out of apathy or discouragement with the political process.

To remedy this, groups like the Christian Civic Affairs Committees of Canada have sprung up in recent years to inform Catholics and encourage them to vote. Meanwhile Catholic Conscience has been working with dioceses across the country to help inform local Catholics about issues of particular relevance. With The B.C. Catholic, they have provided the comprehensive party platform guide in this week’s issue, summarizing party platforms on issues ranging from the sanctity of life and conscience rights, to the elderly, health care, poverty, education, and stewardship of our resources. All are at play during this election.

As I wrote before last year’s federal election, it is critical that Christians do not retreat from civic participation, whether on Election Day, or during the coming months and years as the next government implements its priorities. Opportunities for Catholics to have their views heard in public discourse are limited. It is more important than ever that our voice is heard in the public square and we are involved in our political system.

I urge all Catholics to promote and foster the common good by making an informed decision at the polls Oct. 24.

With the assurance of my prayers, I remain

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB