Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
As with last week, due to the sheer volume of coverage of Québec’s Bill 62, first I’ll list the items not related to Bill 62, and then after that, a focus on Bill 62-related items.
It’s funny what the Church considers necessary for
keeping up with the times. Not dealing with the nasty, backward bits of the doctrine, naw; what’s really important is making it easier to get money. One wonders what the Church’s position on 1 Timothy 6:10 is.
One of the most frustrating religious exemptions in Canadian law is the hate speech exemption. There are four defences for one accused of
wilful promotion of hatred, and three of them are basically truth, public interest, and reporting. But the fourth is
if, in good faith, the person expressed or attempted to establish by an argument an opinion on a religious subject or an opinion based on a belief in a religious text. This petition aims to repeal that loophole. Kudos to the sponsor, Liberal MP for Kitchener South—Hespeler, Marwan Tabbara.
I have to wonder at the headspace of anti-abortion protesters who use graphic, bloody images to make their “point”. Do they think it’s really working? Do they even care?
We knew this was coming, and here it is.
I didn’t realize that BC had abolished its Human Rights Commission (as well as its Human Rights Advisory Council) back in 2003 to save some cash. Human rights commissions across Canada have been enormous allies to secularists, humanists, atheists, and freethinkers – and reason in general – so BC’s lack is troubling… and arguably the reason that BC humanists have suffered some serious setbacks recently.
This article points out several shocking facts about gay conversion therapy in Canada, but by far the most shocking has to be that conversion therapy may be covered under your provincial health plan.
For almost 10 years, Canadians concerned about transparency in government struggled under Stephen Harper, whose government was almost comically opaque and hostile to journalists. Justin Trudeau’s Liberals were supposed to be a breath of fresh air, who would bring back accessible and open governance to Canada. But if there is a single defining characteristic of the Trudeau government it may well be that it is a government that talks a good game, but plays the same game as its predecessor.
Meet the new US ambassador to Canada – who thinks her job is to represent the USpresident, and not the USgovernment – and who can’t answer a simple question about climate change. Sigh.
This is a brilliant little hack; I’m stoked to try it out myself.
In a sideshow event to the Bill 62 circus in Québec, Québec solidaire – to highlight Liberal hypocrisy – tabled a motion to remove the crucifix in the Assemblée nationale. Mission accomplished; hypocrisy highlighted; the Liberals refused to remove the crucifix.
In a completely unsurprising outcome – to everyone but right-wing, anti-Muslim nutters – the M-103 islamophobia consultations have not resulted in a police state where freedom of expression is outlawed. Or sharia law. Most of the recommendations are such mundane things as “get more data”, and “educate the police/population on how to handle it better”. Naturally there were repeated calls to “define islamophobia”, despite the fact that it was.
These days the skeptical movement puts a lot less emphasis on “debunking” than it used to, largely because of new research showing how it not only rarely works, but to the contrary can lead to the “backfire effect”, and strengthen belief in bullshit. But a new meta-study gives some insight into how we might go about doing it right.
The backstory could almost be a joke: the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta asked the province for over $66,000 to fund a
a parallel human sexuality curriculum that reflects many common outcomes embedded in [their] Catholic faith. The province said “fuck no”; they don’t fund religious resources. The Catholics decided to push ahead anyway. And what they’re preparing is apparently as odious as you’d think. Luckily Rachel Notley has enough backbone to say it won’t ever be a real thing.
Dr. Amies goes through some of the numbers revealed in the report.
The BCHA has released the brief they sent to the Justice Committee about Bill C-51, which – if passed in its current form – will repeal Canada’s blasphemy law.
 “SHORTCUTS – Distorted Sermon, Coercive Mattress”(Audio: 46:07)
This podcast includes a discussion of Québec Bill 62, and it would be worth it for that alone. But the bulk of the cast is a discussion about an incident in Canadian media where the video of an imam giving a sermon was widely reported as antisemitic hate speech. Problem is: it wasn’t. The video had been been edited to remove the context, and even then the translation provided with it was false.
This is an awesome bill, and arguably long overdue. But I strongly recommend reading the story, because it not only gives all the details of the bill itself, it also describes the political shenanigans that went on to get it passed.
This is American data, of course; no one’s doing this kind of research in Canada. But it contains some interesting facts that probably carry over.
The Catholic afterlife has a lot of disturbing implications already; Weinersmith adds yet another.
First, the big news this week was Justice Minister Stéphanie Vallée’s “clarification” that the face-covering ban… isn’t really a face-covering ban. Instead, it’s simply a rule that in situations where identification is required, showing one’s face will be mandatory. But… that was the case even without the bill – I mean, how could you possibly expect to use photo ID without showing your face? Niqabis were already doing that. So… what does Bill 62 actually do? No one knows.
At the very least, everyone who argued for the face-covering ban has now been left looking like complete idiots. (Not that they hadn’t managed that on their own already.)
Here are reports describing Vallée’s “clarification”:
-  Amid criticism, Quebec explains the rules of its face-covering ban
-  Breaking down Bill 62: What you can and can’t do while wearing a niqab in Quebec
Here’s a piece supposedly penned by Vallée herself – judge her arguments by her own words:
Justin Trudeau seems to have finally grown a backbone now that everyone else has led the way before him:
-  Trudeau says federal government will ‘look carefully’ at implications of Bill 62
-  Governments shouldn’t tell women what to wear: Trudeau
-  Trudeau On Quebec’s Efforts To Explain Bill 62: ‘You Call Those Clarifications?’
Here are pieces about responses by Québécois themselves:
-  ‘Problematic’ and a ‘dog’s breakfast’: Quebec face-covering ban panned by authors of landmark report
-  ‘It’s just against our Constitution’: Muslim women respond to Quebec’s Bill 62 (Audio: 23:20)
-  Montreal protesters don surgical masks, scarves over new face-covering law
-  Bus driver could face disciplinary action for showing support for Bill 62 protest
Here are various news pieces about the Bill and things the Québec government has said about it:
-  Bill 62 has ‘no place in Canada’: Wynne, MPPs speak out against Quebec’s religious neutrality law
-  Quebec veil law Bill 62 sparks protests and confusion
-  ‘It’s not a coercive law,’ Quebec says amid criticism over face-covering ban
-  Quebec justice minister says face-covering ban ‘protects display of religious beliefs’
And finally, a bunch of opinion pieces from various viewpoints:
-  I don’t like niqabs and burqas — but they should be legal
-  Quebec’s ban on face-coverings risks inflaming inter-communal tensions
-  Quebec’s Bill 62 declares war on sunglasses: Hébert
-  How Quebec’s face-covering ban stacks up to laws elsewhere around the globe
-  We can dislike the niqab, while still respecting religious freedom
-  Why Quebec is ground zero in the battle over secularism
-  For supporters, Quebec’s face-covering law a matter of safety and respect
-  Quebec legislature’s crucifix hangs over secularism debate
-  Quebec face-covering law has a likely date with the Supreme Court: expert
-  In the name of equality, Quebec excludes women from the public sphere
-  Quebec’s niqab ban uses women’s bodies to bolster right-wing extremism
-  Quebec’s Bill 62 Denies Muslims A Choice That’s Theirs Alone
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