From the Publisher
In her new book, award-winning journalist Marci McDonald draws back
the curtain on the mysterious world of the right-wing Christian
nationalist movement in Canada and its many ties to the
Conservative government of Stephen Harper.
To most Canadians, the politics of the United States - where
fundamentalist Christians wield tremendous power and culture wars
split the country - seem too foreign to ever happen here. But
The Armageddon Factor shows that the Canadian
Christian right - infuriated by the legalization of same-sex
marriage and the increasing secularization of society - has been
steadily and stealthily building organizations, alliances and
contacts that have put them close to the levers of power and put
the government of Canada in their debt.
Determined to outlaw homosexuality and abortion, and to restore
Canada to what they see as its divinely determined destiny to be a
nation ruled by Christian laws and precepts, this group of true
believers has moved the country far closer to the American mix of
politics and religion than most Canadians would ever believe.
McDonald's book explores how a web of evangelical far-right
Christians have built think-tanks and foundations that play a
prominent role in determining policy for the Conservative
government of Canada. She shows how Biblical belief has allowed
Christians to put dozens of MPs in office and to build a power base
across the country, across cultures and even across
"What drives that growing Christian nationalist movement is its
adherents' conviction that the end times foretold in the book of
Revelation are at hand," writes McDonald. "Braced for an impending
apocalypse, they feel impelled to ensure that Canada assumes a
unique, scripturally ordained role in the final days before the
Second Coming - and little else."
The Armageddon Factor shows how the religious
right's influence on the Harper government has led to hugely
important but little-known changes in everything from foreign
policy and the makeup of the courts to funding for scientific
research and social welfare programs like daycare. And the book
also shows that the religious influence is here to stay, regardless
of which party ends up in government.
For those who thought the religious right in Canada was confined to
rural areas and the west, this book is an eye-opener, outlining to
what extent the corridors of power in Ottawa are now populated by
true believers. For anyone who assumed that the American religious
right stopped at the border, The Armageddon Factor
explains how US money and evangelists have infiltrated Canadian
This book should be essential reading for Canadians of every
religious belief or political stripe. Indeed, The
Armageddon Factor should persuade every Canadian that,
with the growth of such a movement, the future direction of the
country is at stake.
About the Author
MARCI McDONALD is one of Canada''s most respected journalists. The
winner of eight gold National Magazine Awards, she is also the
recipient of the Canadian Association of Journalists''
investigative feature award. A former bureau chief for
Maclean''s in Paris and Washington, she has interviewed
Ronald Reagan, George Bush and Bill Clinton, and spent five more
years in the United States as a senior writer for US News &
World Report. A winner of the Atkinson Fellowship in Public
Policy, her study of the backstage machinations behind the free
trade deal led to her book, Yankee Doodle Dandy: Brian
Mulroney and the America Agenda. Her controversial cover
story in the Walrus, "Stephen Harper and the TheoCons,"
inspired this book.
1. Do you think Canada should follow the US example of
officially separating church and state?
2. Give some examples of how Stephen Harper has had to walk a
tightrope between the beliefs of his religious right supporters and
the mainstream public? For example, why did Harper rush through a
vote on reopening same-sex marriage?
3. Based on Chapter 2, how much do you think the formation of
religious organizations and think tanks in Ottawa has been linked
to groups in the US? How much has same-sex marriage in Canada
worried religious groups in the US?
4. In Chapter 4, why do some Christians believe Canada has a
divinely ordained role to play in the end times and how does a
group like the Watchmen come to believe this? How does Canada's
national motto fit into this belief?
5. How have Israel and links with Jewish groups become such a
factor in Christian evangelism? How has biblical prophecy played
into this and what else do conservative Christians and Jews have in
6. What would Christian nationalists like to see for Canada in
7. In Chapter 7, what was the motivation behind the formation of
Patrick Henry College in the States and Trinity Western University
in Canada? How are they influencing their countries' political
8. In Chapter 9, do you agree with Timothy Bloedow that human
rights commissions are stifling free speech and beliefs, especially
Christian speech and beliefs? Should free speech, as in the Stephen
Boissoin case, trump human rights concerns and legislation?
9. How do you think immigration and the changing face of
Canada's population will affect religious involvement in politics?
Will the Conservatives be able to attract a large number of those
10. Should the government download some or all of its social
programs to faith-based organizations?
11. What issues do you think the Christian right will want to
address in the future? For example, how much do you think issues
like the right to die and technology will feature in the next few
years? Will issues like homosexuality and same-sex marriage or
abortion ever cease to be divisive?
12. Is it possible Canada could become as embroiled in vicious
"culture wars" between the religious right and the mainstream as
13. Should the Liberals and the NDP make an attempt to attract
the religious vote and build a religious left? Do you think there's
a danger in this?
14. Has reading this book changed the way you might vote in the
15. Do you think the information in this book would affect the
way the average Canadian would vote?
About the Book
Documents the extent of the influence that the religious right already wields in Canada and shows how, quietly, often stealthily, it has provoked far-reaching changes in Canadian policies and institutions, including our public service, our schools and our courts.