Moral Values as an Economic Stimulus – A KAIROS Call for Action

Feb 11, 2009 01:39 PM EST

(Toronto) – KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives, a national church based social justice organization, is calling on federal, provincial and territorial governments to adopt moral and ethical values in their responses to the global economic crisis.

The call comes in a letter to Prime Minister Harper and Canada’s First Ministers that examines how under-regulated global markets, focused solely on profit, led to a worldwide financial crisis while ignoring poverty and environmental destruction.

“Economic stimulus packages that do not take into account moral imperatives will lead to the same pattern of unsustainable consumption that brought us into crisis in the first place, “ says KAIROS Executive director Mary Corkery.

KAIROS is particularly concerned that some politicians may use the financial crisis as a reason to delay anti-poverty initiatives and environmental programs.

“Canadians look to their Members of Parliament for strong leadership to address poverty, adequate housing and affordable health care” says Archbishop Fred Hiltz, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada. “We also call for action in making the eradication of poverty the top priority for our foreign aid policy. Now is the time for the federal government to affirm our place as a responsible neighbour in the global village.”

A November 2008 opinion poll commissioned by several environmental organizations and sponsored by The United Church Canada found that Canadians want the federal government to take strong action on global warming even if this entails some cost to the economy.

"The world's economic situation and our environmental concerns are profoundly connected," says United Church Moderator, the Right Reverend David Giuliano. "Ordinary Canadians realize that dealing with the economy and the environment will require some sacrifice in the short term. They get it. They're prepared to do their parts. Now it is time for government to take action."

The detailed KAIROS letter outlines an action plan for how governments can provide a moral response to the economic crisis based on the principles of solidarity, sustainability, sufficiency and equity.