Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of Julie Payette]

Julie Payette

  • [] Religious groups urge MPs to keep Criminal Code prohibition on disrupting a worship service

    Bill C-51 is the bill CA is following more closely than any other in memory, because it’s the bill that will repeal the blasphemy law, among many other archaic laws long over do for being scoured out of the Criminal Code. The bill is facing surprisingly little challenge… except for one small bit: the repeal of section 176. Section 176 makes it illegal to disturb a religious gathering or obstruct a clergyman or minister. Now, first, any real harassment of clergy or interference with religious services is obviously already covered by other laws, making this law superfluous. But more importantly, as Ian Bushfield of the BC Humanist Association illustrates, the primary use of the law in practice has been to squelch dissent against religion… even to the extreme extent of a criminal prosecution for refusing to stand when getting the Catholic Cracker. Perhaps we need to get louder about repealing section 176 specifically (in addition to the “regular” blasphemy law, of course).

  • [] Are religious people more moral?

    Whenever a news headline asks a question, the answer is always “no”.

  • [] Globe editorial: Quebec’s veil law has egg on its face

    This official editorial from The Globe and Mail sums up a perfectly reasonable response to Québec’s Bill 62.

  • [] Right to Life ads on buses spur complaints

    If anyone lives in Guelph and knows Fiona Douglas… buy this woman a beer. She has been fighting the hypocrisy of Guelph’s advertising “standards” allowing nasty and provocative anti-abortion and anti-medical-assistance-in-dying ads on public transit (for example, calling MAiD “killing”), wading through piles of bureaucratic bullshit and disinterested politicians, and dealing with half-assed, nonsensical “free speech” pleas (transit ads are not a free speech platform, they are an advertising platform). Just read the article to see the crap she’s put up with. I can’t say whether she’ll succeed in her current strategy or not, but damn, I wish her well.

  • [] Warren Kinsella on Twitter

    The Canadian far right is getting increasingly bold.

  • [] The link between Quebec’s niqab law and its sovereignty quest

    This is a really fascinating article, well worth the read.

  • [] How countries around the world view democracy, military rule and other political systems

    Canada actually fares pretty well in this study compared to most other countries (17% of the United States, the “land of the free”, wants a military dictatorship!? WTF!?). We are much more trusting of our government than the average, though.

  • [] Medically assisted dying: What happens when religious and individual rights conflict?

    An interesting discussion about the rights of patients vs doctors vs institutions with respect to religious freedom and medical assistance in dying, with particular focus on Manitoba’s unique problems. This provides some important context for the one-sided bill being proposed to protect dissenting doctors, but not help patients in any way.

  • [] Challenging the notion that religion fosters violence

    There’s nothing really new in the main thesis of this piece pointing out that religion on its own doesn’t really correlate all that well to violence. But buried in the piece are some interesting ideas, like the idea that even trying to separate “religion” from… basically everything else in society or a person’s life… may be a misguided effort to begin with. After all, religion is so entangled with everything – especially in the lives of believers – that there’s really no way to draw a line and say this is where religion begins and ends, and if you can’t do that, you can’t really separate it out as a specific cause.

  • [] One month later, no terrorism charges in Edmonton attack

    This piece is a nice summary of why Canada’s terrorism law doesn’t really work for actual terrorists.

  • [] Family of Toronto man declared brain dead says finding goes against his religion

    There is no tragedy that religion cannot make worse.

  • [] Stung by secularism, now defending it: A Muslim feminist worries about Erdogan’s ‘new Turkey’

    The article title grates on my pet peeve about conflating secularism and laïcité; no she was not “stung by secularism”, she was lacerated by laïcité. That aside, this is an excellent piece about what both faces of extremism look like, whether it’s a theocracy or an oppressive laïcité-driven dictatorship.

  • [] People who rely on intuition judge situations more harshly, MU study finds

    This is a really interesting result; the headline really doesn’t do it justice. The write-up gives more detail, but basically, people fall into two groups: those who judge by reason, and those who judge by intuition – that is, “gut judgments”. Those who make gut judgments not only make harsher judgments, they did so even after deliberations where the thing being judged was shown to be not so bad, and not harmful at all.

  • [] Should politicians pray? Canada’s Supreme Court says no, but parliamentarians say ‘Amen’

    Nice to see mainstream media actually putting the pressure on Parliament about their continued flouting of the MLQv Saguenay ruling using Parliamentary privilege.

  • [] Access bill not law yet — but feds already using it to deny info requests: Legault

    Last Weekly Update, I highlighted a Canadaland article calling the new Liberal Freedom of Information Bill “garbage”. Well, it turns out that it’s dangerous garbage. The Bill isn’t even passed yet, and there are already strange FoI denials happening. This is a serious problem; a free country requires an open and accessible government – the worst part of the Harper years was all the secrecy and shutting out the press, and the Trudeau government isn’t improving the situation. We need to make this a bigger issue.

  • [] “Secularists call for repeal of blasphemy laws at justice committee”(Audio: 35:13)

    Listen to the arguments made before the Supreme Court in the Trinity Western University law school case.

  • [] The Trump effect in Canada: A 600 per cent increase in online hate speech

    The headline data point is alarming on its own, but this piece really goes into some depth about the problem… and it even offers suggestions for solutions.

  • [] Payette takes on climate change deniers and horoscopes at science conference

    This is the big story from the past week (as far as CA), and it… is… awesome. And, at the same time, really, really stupid. In summary: our new Governor General Julie Payette – former astronaut – was the keynote speaker at the Canadian Science Policy Convention, and in her speech, she mocked: climate change denial… creationism… alternative “medicine” (or possibly homeopathy, or both)… even astrology… all as part of her thesis that scientists have to take responsibility to counter bullshit that pervades media. And the crowd loved it. All good, right? Well… this isn’t the only item in this week’s Update about her speech….

  • [] Trudeau applauds Payette for standing up for science in convention speech

    Good for Trudeau for standing behind Payette, but do read this article just for the hilarity of the pathetic Conservative criticism… and the bullshit astrologer response.

  • [] Julie Payette takes on junk science—and tests the limits of her job title

    This piece is pretty representative of the criticism of Julie Payette’s remarks. Virtually none of them say she’s wrong; quite the opposite, in fact. Nope, all the “criticism” really just amounts to tone policing.

  • [] Ktunaxa ruling poses challenges for secularists

    Ah, this is such a messy situation. In (very brief) summary (expanded a bit more here), a developer wanted to build a ski resort on land that the local indigenous population did not want developed. There was a consultation process, and the developer “won” it, but the indigenous representatives were not happy with any of it. So they went to court with a bit of a ploy: in addition to challenging the consultation process, their primary “complaint” was that the land was where their grizzly bear spirit roams, and thus developing it was violating their religious freedom. The final ruling was that the consultation process was all fine and good – I won’t comment on that part of it – and that the religious freedom argument didn’t hold, because religious freedom protects believers… not their sacred objects (or land). There’s a lot more to it than that; I haven’t even scratched the surface here.

  • [] NDP bill to prevent schools from telling parents when kids join GSAs

    Once again David Eggen makes my day. To summarize the context, while Jason Kenney was campaigning for leadership of the United Conservative Party, he made jaw-dropping stupid suggestion that parents should be told when students join gay-straight alliances… essentially forcefully outing students. This new bill is partly a rebuke of Kenney’s idiot idea… but it also solves the real problem of principals preventing the creation of GSAs by creating bureaucratic blocks.

  • [] Scheer: “The Governor General should remain impartial about the existence of gravity”

    I could link to an actual article about Andrew Scheer’s “criticisms” of Julie Payette’s comments (for example)… but there really isn’t any substantive difference between this parody and the reality, and the parody is just funnier. Scheer didn’t even have the backbone to take on Payette directly – no, instead he criticized Trudeau for standing up for her.

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7 thoughts on “Weekly Update: to

  1. Wow. You go days with no additions and then you flood us out with a ton of new content. Why do it that way? You’ve done it that way for the past several weeks. Trickle it out so we can have an opportunity to view each item fully.

    • I’m not sure what you mean. We do skip a day or two here or there, but we never (barring rare technical issues) go more than that without a post.

      I checked the last month, and we had a daily post average of 1.5 – which is pretty good, I think – and there were 6 days with no posts. But there were never more than 2 days in a row with no posts, which happened twice (and one of those times was a technical glitch). We had 9 days with 1 post and 9 days with two posts, 2 days with three posts, and 3 days with four or more. The past two weeks, for example, was:

      Nov 5: ? (I won’t be posting today, but someone else might)
      Nov 4: 1 post (Indi)
      Nov 3: 1 post (Indi)
      Nov 2: –
      Nov 1: 4 posts (1 Indi; 3 Scott)
      Oct 31: –
      Oct 30: 2 posts (1 Indi; 1 Scott)
      Oct 29: 2 posts (1 Indi; 1 Scott)
      Oct 28: 2 posts (1 Indi; 1 Scott)
      Oct 27: 1 post (Scott)
      Oct 26: 2 posts (1 Indi; 1 Scott)
      Oct 25: 4 posts (4 Scott)
      Oct 24: 1 post (Scott)
      Oct 23: 3 posts (1 Indi; 2 Scott)

      Are you referring maybe to what happened on the 1st? Or are you referring to something else? Maybe you’re getting notifications of posts in bunches? Like in email notifications or RSS or something?

      • I check this site at least daily because I like the Canadian content. There were several days in a row that the Prof. Imam Soharwardy story was on the top. Then suddenly a whole other whack of material even going to another page came on. Thus my comment.
        I don’t use notifications…just coming to the page.
        I’ll admit that it could be javascript and/or cookies but still. Suddenly a bunch of material shows up.

        • Aha! It sounds like it might be a caching issue. Somewhere along the way, something – either your browser or some other cache – is being really aggressive about caching the site. Caches had permission to cache for up to 604800 seconds, which is about 1 week, and it sounds like something in your system was actually using that full limit. It would download the page once and keep showing you that… and not bother to check for an update until after a week.

          That’s my bad; I didn’t even notice the caching limit was set that high. I’ve brought it down to less than a day now, so the problem should go away. But if you still notice any problems, just let me know.

        • I just realized my previous comment is a bit misleading. The problem should be fixed and will go away… but not necessarily right away. It may still take up to a week for anything currently cached to be flushed out, unless you manually clear your cache (which I can’t tell you how to do, because it depends on a lot of different factors).

          In plain English, it should be fixed, but it may take a week for the fixes to finally work for you. So give it a week or so, and then see if you still get the same problems.

      • And now suddenly 3 more stories show up with the first 2 from the 5th.

  2. RE: Drumpf effect.
    I was saddened to see this happen during the last federal election where the niqab story became an issue. The word I use is emboldened. These basket of deplorables were emboldened to come out of the woodwork by the government of the day seeking re-election by enabling them and giving them permission to say their bigoted, racist, awful things.
    I was saddened and embarrassed as a Canadian.

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