Citing the arrests of multiple pastors there, its censorship of messages about biblical sexuality, and the country's restrictive COVID mandates – which sparked the "Freedom Convoy" of thousands of truckers – Republican lawmakers in Ohio are asking the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) to add Canada to its watch list. John Hart of the Center for Christian Virtue (CCV) says it is a valid request.
"Their actions have warranted that, particularly with the way that they have cracked down on pastors, both in terms of what they may be preaching [and] when and where and under what conditions," he notes.
The resolution passed on a party-line vote, with Republicans voting for it and Democrats voting against it.
This is not the first time public officials in the U.S. have urged the USCIRF to add Canada to its watch list. In June of 2121, Missouri Senator Josh Hawley (R) asked for the same thing and for the same reasons. And earlier this year, thousands of American pastors preached against Canada's Bill C-4, a new law that makes it illegal to help someone escape homosexuality or transgenderism.
While Hart acknowledges the unlikelihood that the commission will actually grant the request, he believes the appeal could only help the situation.
"It may not happen, but it won't be for lack of effort," says Hart. "Stranger things have happened."
He says the resolution will at least raise awareness about what Canada is doing, and that could compel enough people to pressure the government there to change or modify what they are doing.