Ray Pennings

Ray Pennings co-founded Cardus in 2000 and currently serves as Executive Vice President, working out of the Ottawa office. Ray has a vast amount of experience in Canadian industrial relations and has been involved in public policy discussions and as a political activist at all levels of government. Ray is a respected voice in Canadian politics, contributing as a commentator, pundit and critic in many of Canada’s leading news outlets and as an advisor and strategist on political campaign teams.

Bio last updated October 12th, 2021.

Ray Pennings

Articles by Ray Pennings

  • New Canadians Keep the Faith

    Canadian society must come to grips with new Angus Reid polling data showing a strong majority of newly arrived Canadians want faith vigorously present in the public square, writes Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings.

    Meanwhile, the latest polling by the Angus Reid Institute (ARI) finds that Canada’s faith communities get a big boost from immigration, which both sculpts and sustains Canada’s diversity Cardus has long argued that true commitment to diversity must acknowledge that communities and individuals of fai...

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  • Standing Up For Trinity Western’s Board

    Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings challenges social media “experts” disparaging TWU’s volunteer board for altering its Community Covenant. Agree or disagree, with the decision, the members served with honour and sincerity, Pennings argues.

    Whether you agreed with their stand or not, TWU, and the board members who ultimately had to make these missional decisions, decided to stand up all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada for their right to have a Community Covenant I estimate that one year when I served as chair of the board of a C...

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  • Getting Education Right

    In a recent talk to a group of conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings challenged those present to re-think their approach to educating Canadian kids. Too often, he tells Convivium’s Peter Stockland, the Right offers more problems than solutions to what ails our schools.

    The result is that we have a public school system operating as a monopoly with a monopoly mindset protecting their monopoly and resistant to innovation.So, we have a robust sense of public education, we have meaningful choice, not based on private/public but of different sorts that parents right acr...

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  • Salvation By The Young

    Drawing on Angus Reid polling, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings tells Convivium’s Peter Stockland why young Canadians are far more faith driven than the current secular narrative leads us to believe.

    Convivium: In a recent symposium hosted by the Centre for Research on Religion at McGill University in Montreal, you made the argument that Angus Reid polling data shows young people are much more engaged in faith than we think The narrative is really one of decline of influence of faith institution...

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  • A Seriously Sorry New Year

    Changing the way we apologize, Cardus executive president Ray Pennings writes, can change the way we live our whole lives

    Yet the person responsible seems to expect friends to rally around in support on the basis of “I’m sorry” regardless of the legal, social and moral consequences of the behaviour It is worth reminding ourselves that in Christian theology, Jesus came to pay the price for sin, to satisfy Divine justice...

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  • Desiring a Better Country

    Today, we continue our series of Policy Options articles that have emerged as a response to our Spirited Citizenship: Care, Conflict, and Virtue round table in Ottawa last month, convened in partnership with the Angus Reid Institute to mark Canada’s Sesquicentennial. 

    (Left to Right: Jennifer Ditchburn, Editor, Policy Options; Ray Pennings, Executive Vice-President, Cardus; Shachi Kurl, Executive Director, Angus Reid Institute ...

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  • Points of Christian Re-Formation

    On Monday night during a panel discussion at McGill University’s Newman Centre in Montreal, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings set out five points that he, as a Reformed believer, considers vital if Christians are to re-form a divided Church into unified faith. 

    You might rightly summarize my contribution as being keen on dialogue, conversation and understanding each other; sceptical about the likelihood of finding doctrinal or ecclesiastical unity that is meaningful or lasting; but finding reason based on my own experience for robust collaboration – co-bel...

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  • Religion's Perception Gap

    With today's release of the fourth major Angus Reid Institute polls on the state of religion in Canada, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings says the biggest identifiable gap is between Canadians' positive lived experiences of faith and their negative perceptions arising from narratives about spiritual belief. 

    What I find interesting about all of these questions is that when you take a look at the intensity of anti-faith feelings in the group of non-believers, or even their feelings about Islam, people of faith are far more positive about those who are Muslim than non-believers are I think it’s also a sen...

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  • Contempt of Lethbridge

    Alberta MP Rachael Harder’s mistreatment by Liberals and New Democrats is a sad comment on their misunderstanding of Parliamentary democracy, says Cardus executive vice-president Ray Pennings. 

    Insisting, as the Liberal and NDP members of the Committee seem to be doing, that an MP in good standing must pass some sort of ideological orthodoxy test in order to serve in Parliament is offensive ...

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  • The Age of Hubris

    Cardus Executive Vice President Ray Pennings delivers a thoughtful essay on the Age of Hubris and the way in which dignity and humility serve as essential ingredients to effective disagreement. 

    I confess to being sceptical that this generation can be so uniquely insightful about the modern version of human dignity, with its attendant corollaries regarding race, conception, gender, sexuality and death ...

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  • Keeping The Faith Local

    With this week’s release of a third set of Angus Reid Institute polling data on the state of faith in Canada at its 150th birthday, Cardus Executive Vice-President Ray Pennings tells Convivium Publisher Peter Stockland there are  signs of local hope, though Canadians of faith must pull up their socks when it comes to the national dimension of religious life

    One of the things we wanted to do was identify the degrees to which Canadians recognize the expression of faith in their community and in their neighbourhoods, whether in hospitals, in the care for immigrants or in all the different institutions that were formed and motivated by faith communities th...

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  • The Five Goodbyes of Dying

    Palliative care is less about medical science than about giving time to say what needs saying before life ends.

    Depending on our station in life, some may feel the impact of our death, not just in terms of our absence, but also from the loss of our care So what does any of this have to do with palliative care and the end of life? Imagine how much less stressful, and less terrifying, anyone’s last days would b...

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  • Sacred Fire

    Ray Pennings reflects on the sacred in a ceremony and looks forward to how Canada can best flourish over the next 150 years.

    Yet, at this moment celebrating the kickoff of Canada’s 150th birthday party, something felt strange and out-of-place regarding this public celebration of aboriginal faith in a civic ceremony The appetite for participation by the full range of diverse religious groups in the sesquicentennial celebra...

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  • No Trumping Virtue

    Convivium: Conrad Black, who obviously lived in the States for a number of years – in fact for a couple of years longer than he necessarily wanted to – made the point that if Trump doesn't get this right, it's not going to be just people who are going to go away mad And we will have to adapt to that...

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  • Perpetuating Homeschool Myths

    The Globe and Mail ran a story on the dispute between the Alberta government and the Wisdom Home Schooling Society of Alberta, which has been shut down due to alleged financial irregularities Our report found that in most dimensions, homeschool graduates along with all other non-public school gradua...

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  • What to do in Post-Truth Politics?

    And if a candidate who went too far down the post-truth road were to win, and if my vote were to be part of that win, would I not be enabling a willful campaign to make language meaningless and bald-faced lying the new norm for civil discourse? It was captured in a September issue of The Economist, ...

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  • Is the Party Over?

    While the degrees and consequences of these various circumstances differ widely, is the incapacity of the political party to survive the absence of coherent foundational ideas at least part of the problem? Canadian journalist Susan Delacourt wrote a book a few years back documenting the shift from t...

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  • Mapping the Progressives Progress

    (Might federal Conservatives, who dropped the term Progressive from their name when it became unfashionable a decade ago, ponder renewing old nomenclature at their May convention in Vancouver?) Conventionally, party conventions were idea factories for future elections References to aboriginal spirit...

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  • Paris: Avoiding the Knee-Jerk Reaction

    Just as Christians of a previous era were challenged to, on the basis of their own Scriptures, explain what their faith meant regarding issues of slavery, today’s adherents of Islam can be challenged both internally and in the context of multi-faith dialogue, to explain their religion’s views regard...

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  • How Trudeau’s Election Complicates the Narrative

    But will the change be as dramatic as the numbers suggest? The Liberal slogan—“Real Change”—certainly has tangible policy and personnel implications for how the federal government will impact Canada but as a think-tank focused on the renewal of social architecture, it is valuable to ask what the imp...

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  • Lessons From the Alberta Election: Part I

    In Alberta, two leaders who were caucus-mates for years in the federal Conservative party opposed each other provincially, and the vitriol between supporters of their candidacies was more intense than that directed to opposing parties The challenge I faced in Alberta is that when it came to party le...

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