Focus on the Family's Growing Influence—in Canada

The evangelical organization's Canadian branch has one of its own in the prime minister's office.


By Dan Gilgoff, God & Country

The evangelical ministry Focus on the Family has long hired its executives from the power corridors of Washington. When Focus sought to ramp up its Washington consulate, the Family Research Council, in the late 1980s, it brought in Ronald Reagan's domestic policy adviser, Gary Bauer. Former Secretary of Interior Don Hodel recently served as president of the Colorado Springs, Colo.-based organization after founder James Dobson stepped down. The new Washington lobbyist for Focus on the Family Action—Focus's sister political group—was deputy director of the White House Office of Public Liaison under George W. Bush.

But Focus has had less luck sending its own people into government. That's apparently not the case in Canada, where President Obama landed today on his first foreign trip as president. The former president of Focus on the Family Canada—a sister group to Dobson's U.S. ministry—has just been promoted to the post of deputy chief of staff in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office. The Focus alum, Darrel Reid, was formerly serving as Harper's policy director. The promotion has some gay and liberal interests griping about growing evangelical political power in the Harper administration.

  • Read more by Dan Gilgoff.
  • Read more about religion.