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Representing Jesus

By Robert White

From: "Faith & Friends," July 1999. Faith & Friends is published monthly by the Salvation Army, 2 Overlea Blvd., Toronto, ON, M4H 1P4. Reprinted by permission.

The term "Christian politician" is not an oxymoron. It is possible to be both. In fact, various political parties on Parliament Hill have Christians within their ranks. These men and women have different opinions about how Canada should be governed, but as ambassadors for Christ they also believe that God should have "dominion from sea to sea."

David Kilgour grew up in Winnipeg where he attended an Anglican Church with his parents. He didn’t take faith seriously until his father began a battle with lung cancer.

"I started going to a prayer meeting at a friend’s house where there were some remarkable people," he recalls. One was a woman dealing with family problems. Her attitude challenged David, and he began to examine his faith and allow God to play a more significant role in his life.

"Before Dad died, I hope he noticed that something had changed," says David.

The change in the young lawyer’s life has sustained him through 20 years as a member of Parliament. In 1972, David moved to Edmonton to be a prosecutor in the Crown Attorney’s office. Seven years later, he was elected as the Progressive Conservative member for the Edmonton Strathcona constituency. He held the seat until the boundaries were changed for the 1988 election.

As a member of Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s government, David was a parliamentary secretary. He was asked to leave the Conservative Party in 1990 for voting against the Goods and Services Tax. He sat briefly as an independent before joining the Liberals in 1991.

As the Liberal MP for Edmonton Southeast, David was the deputy speaker of the House of Commons from January 1994 until his appointment as secretary of state for Latin America and Africa in 1997.

The politician moved his growing family -- three daughters and a son -- to Ottawa. Every few weeks, David packs his bags and travels to Edmonton where he spends three or four days with the people who elected him. There are also times when he is away from home carrying out official duties assigned by the prime minister.

This has curtailed some of his activities in his home church, such as 20 years of teaching at Ottawa’s Westminster Presbyterian. His family remains involved.

But responsibilities and travel haven’t curtailed his growth as a Christian. He found himself worshipping in a Costa Rican church on Palm Sunday and seeks out Christian fellowship when he’s on the road.

"I’m always [encouraged] by the vigour, confidence and optimism of local Christians," says David "We should try to do likewise.

In March he spoke on the subject "Christians in the emerging world order," at St. Paul University, Ottawa.

"Christian politicians everywhere can help by acting as a brake upon forces that daily threaten to overcome civilization," he said. "In addition to speaking out or voting, we believers … must place a high value on empathy, kindness and the numerous other qualities associated with Christianity. Our lives must remind others that there is a Redeemer for our tormented public and private worlds."

David has been a witness for Christ in many places. As part of a Christian delegation visiting the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, he spoke to Chinese political leaders and left copies of a video depicting the life of Christ. In the early 1990s, David visited Moscow with a group of Christians who hosted a brunch for members of the Duma, Russia’s parliament.

Integrity firmly rooted in Christian faith makes David Kilgour an inspiration among politicians and constituents alike.

David Kilgour is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton Southeast


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