Report Number: 003 appendix 7
The EcoJustice Committee proposes the following resolution in an attempt to comply with the wishes of both the Council of General Synod and the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, as explained below. The Committee also recognizes that the resolution represents a significant change to the existing policy on gambling adopted by General Synod in 1949, also explained below.
RESOLVED: This Council of General Synod
1. Stands opposed to any gambling activity that in its scope or form will negatively affect the residents of any community, region, or neighbourhood.
2. Commits General Synod not to receive funds raised from lotteries, casinos, electronic gambling machines, or other activities of the gambling industry, to the extent that such funds can be identified
3. Requests the EcoJustice Committee to
4. Building on the position taken by the United Church of Canada in 1998, and on previous ecumenical statements of which the Anglican Church of Canada was part, calls upon the Government of Canada to
In November 2002, the EcoJustice Committee proposed a gambling policy to the Council of General Synod that included a Statement on Gambling from ACIP, dated May 2002. CoGS requested the EcoJustice Committee to work with ACIP on a statement on gambling and to reconsider the “Request to Government” (section 4 above).
Consultation with the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples. In responding to the request from COGS, we discovered that one implication of a covenant relationship between the ACIP and the Anglican Church of Canada is to acknowledge the different histories, cultures, perspectives, and priorities of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Anglicans.
The EcoJustice Committee considered whether to try to integrate its position with the ACIP Statement, or to submit parallel statements from each body. They decided to develop a parallel statement and try to identify points of commonality with ACIP. When ACIP was consulted at their February 2004 meeting, they did not find that they were in sufficient agreement with the statement and policy proposed by EcoJustice. It was their preference not to co-present a gambling resolution to COGS with EcoJustice, and to withdraw the ACIP Statement on Gambling at this time , and to consider future recommendations regarding responses to gambling abuses.
Therefore, the EcoJustice Committee proposes this policy on gambling in fulfilment of the work assigned to it by General Synod and CoGS over the past two triennia:
In November 1997, Council of General Synod referred the gambling issue to the Eco-Justice Committee, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples, and the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee “for discussion, assimilation of resource material, and submission of a preliminary report…” This request was the result of widespread concern about gambling expansion, changes in the gambling industry, and its negative social and economic effects on our communities.
From1998 to 2001, the EcoJustice Committee, in consultation with FWM staff, did a substantial amount of research on the gambling issue, prepared educational materials for diocesan and parish use, and drafted a resolution for consideration by General Synod. That resolution was deferred in order to give the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples more opportunity to develop its own position on gambling from an Indigenous perspective.
In July 2001, General Synod commended ACIP and EcoJustice for their commitment to consult and work jointly on the gambling policy and related educational materials, and supported their aim “to present to COGS by November 2002 the completed report and policy recommendations.”
In May 2002, the Anglican Council of Indigenous Peoples prepared a Statement on Gambling, based on careful reflection and a process of consensus. The EcoJustice Committee prepared a revised policy that included the ACIP Statement.
In November 2002, COGS considered the proposed policy in four sections. They received the “Statement on Gambling” of ACIP, requested the EcoJustice Committee to work with ACIP to develop a statement on gambling for the Anglican Church of Canada, and requested the EcoJustice Committee to monitor gambling activities and their social and economic impact on Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.
1. The Context. Since 1946, the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has been consistently and unequivocally opposed to:
There have been significant changes in the gambling industry in recent years:
The other concern is about the social costs of gambling – to individuals, families, and communities. According to Canadians Against Gambling Expansion (www.ccage.ca/social.htm):
2. Diocesan and Provincial Policies. Current Anglican diocesan policies on receiving gambling-generated funds range from outright prohibition, to “discouragement” of the practice, to allowing some level of discretion in the use of “small raffles or door prizes” for parish fundraising in a spirit of entertainment and community building.
The ecclesiastical provinces of Ontario and British Columbia have advocated against gambling expansion in their provinces on the grounds of
3. Our Christian Witness. Anglican tradition invites us to reflect on gambling as an issue of public social responsibility, and not simply the moral conduct of individuals. Theological and biblical grounds that may be cited with regard to gambling include:
4. Acting Ecumenically. In 1998, the United Church of Canada adopted a landmark policy called “The Gambling Economy”. Their report critiqued federal and provincial law regulating gambling, the conflicted role of governments in driving the expansion of gambling, the involvement of the private sector in gambling, and the shift to using gambling losses rather than tax revenues as a means for funding public services.
That same year, leaders of the churches, including the Anglican Church of Canada, under the auspices of the Canadian Council of Churches, called on the federal minister of justice to conduct an independent review of state sponsored gambling in Canada. Six years later, this has not yet taken place.
5. Proposed Policy Changes
6. Pastoral Concerns. Recognizing that the abuse of gambling is also a pastoral issue, the EcoJustice Committee has prepared educational materials for use in dioceses and parishes. They are designed to help raise awareness of the problems posed by gambling and gambling expansion, and form appropriate pastoral responses. A series of discussion papers examine changes and expansion in gambling practices, types and nature of gambling, the effect on families and communities.