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 July 27th, 2021.

Ray Pennings

Articles by Ray Pennings

  • 150 Years of Faith

    When Canadians celebrate the country's 150th birthday, Ray Pennings asks, whom will we thank?

    Whether one accounts for the constitutional protection for religious education, the contribution of the social gospel in developing both State and civil society social programs, or the ethos that sustained immigrant communities in an often harsh climate, one cannot account for 150 years of Canadian ...

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  • Holy Week and Public Theology

    The events surrounding the crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ are fundamental to our task of Christian public theology Those of us involved in public life, when explicitly appealing to our Christian motivation for these actions, are often quick to cite the Christian obligation of ...

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  • Socialists and so-cons in same boat now

    The party needs them and their commitment, so will do its best to find ways to throw a bone or three their way, but if the agenda is getting power, socialists are to the NDP what so-cons are to the Conservatives—"scary agenda" baggage that does not sell well publicly Was it a choice between power ov...

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  • In Praise of Deliberation

    Apart from political junkies, I doubt many people lament the decline of significance of the political convention Until a decade ago, Canadian political parties typically chose their leaders through delegated conventions where the decisions were truly made on the convention floor ...

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  • Understanding the Fringe

    She kindly approached me, made a few complimentary remarks, and concluded, "You make a good point, but how do we protect ourselves against fringe religion?" There were others wanting to speak with me and not seeing the point of continued conversation in this setting, I offered a short polite rebutta...

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  • Watching the Frog Boil

    The political dirty trick stories making Canadian political headlines may prompt comments on how the frog of political ethics, not the most attractive part of any democracy, is looking very unhealthy today The results will be unsatisfying because we have created systems and standards that narrow the...

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  • Personal, not private

    What was overlooked in much of the coverage, however, was what the policy demonstrated about our understanding (or lack thereof) of the connection between religion and the public good—and how that connection is often expressed through institutions ...

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  • Religion, and the CRTC's Paternalistic Leftover

    For almost fifty years, the CRTC denied any licenses to religious broadcasters to spare the airwaves of speech in which one group was unduly critical of another To suggest, as does the CRTC decision, that public discussion of religion is so sensitive that it requires carefully crafted guidelines (wh...

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  • A Gift for Canada

    I must confess that starting to plan a party and thinking about a gift more than five years in advance is something I had never done before, but as someone reminded us in the conversation, perhaps the greatest gift we can bring to the party are not noble statements of what we intend to do, but rathe...

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  • Change the record

    Last night, the City of Calgary convened a meeting with the city's faith communities In the past few years, Cardus has convened meetings, consulted with stakeholders, commissioned research reports, contributed to the editorial pages and other media all with a view to stimulating a public conversatio...

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  • The Virtue of Small Charities

    As the Finance Committee considers how best to incentivize charities, they need to be particularly attentive to small charities, given the trends that are putting them at a particular disadvantage With each focusing on the needs of their local communities, a particularly charity may be less diverse ...

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  • Canada's Political Game a-Changin'

    The federal decision to unilaterally announce the extension of health care funding through 2018-19 and leave it to the provinces to sort out how to use it is more significant for what it signals about the Harper approach to federalism than what it says about health care ...

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  • Beyond the Predictable

    Reflecting on some of Edwards' text, I was struck how different his approach to public theology was from much of what is practiced today I noticed the book on a shelf and picked it up, wondering how the National Energy Policy of the 1980s was rationalized ...

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  • Living the Paradox

    Where do I see the created purpose and normative law of God in the world? Beneath everything, we are a bunch of idealists who are trying to make the world in which we live a better place, contributing the wisdom gleaned from two thousand years of Christian social thought to the challenges we face to...

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  • Veiled Interference in Freedom of Religion

    Recognizing that freedom of religion is a greatly attacked freedom these days, I am usually inclined to bend over backwards to protect it, but here—in matters as basic to our citizenship as swearing public oaths, establishing identity, or witnessing at a trial—I think the state has a more reasonable...

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  • Giving Drunk Driving Laws a Breathalyzer

    His concern is that the new law incents police to focus on the administrative penalties which are easier to process and do not require court time, rather than pursuing criminal code charges for those who are at or over the 0.08% blood alcohol limit ...

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  • In Favour of Marriage or Afraid of Divorce?

    Macleans may have overstated Canadians' "high value in the traditional definition of marriage"; definitional debates are still likely to get you into a bit of hot water and I fear the traditional team whose colours I prefer to wear may still be on the losing side ...

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  • Brother Calvin

    But beyond the discomfort, for us to champion the freedom to share religious views, as Brother Calvin did with me, is not only the right thing to do, but also valuable for promoting civility and mutual understanding ...

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  • Feeling Gutless on Remembrance Day

    Ray Pennings reflects on the difficulty of stomaching Remembrance Day and the ugliness of war, commemorating those who have gone before us. 

    My heart is deeply patriotic and is proud of the historic contributions that Canadian men and women have made militarily ...

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  • Hockey and Politics Don't Mix

    Lawrence Martin's recent Globe and Mail column talked about the change of the Canadian brand under the Conservative government, labelling it a voter-approved changed "from a country of Ken Dryden values to one closer to those of Don Cherry Don Cherry's appeal comes because he talks about loyalty to ...

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