2018 Canadian Atheist Awards – Nominations

I thought it would be cool to try something new for 2018, so here is the first iteration of the Canadian Atheist awards!

And why not? It’s awards season, after all! It seems in keeping with the spirit of the season for Canadian Atheist to have its own awards show (insofar as CA can do a “show” in any sense). And Canadian secularist, humanist, atheist, and freethought activists deserve some recognition for their efforts. Plus it’s a great way to look back on the past year.

[Image of a gold Canadian Atheist logo statuette.]

Unfortunately, this awards statuette doesn’t really exist.

But let me be clear: This is going to be a very informal thing. I’m not making actual awards statuettes, or prizes of any kind. And the “judging process”, such as it is, will be entirely subjective. The categories, too, are whatever struck my fancy. What I’m trying to say is that this is all just for fun – don’t take any of it too seriously. And if you have any suggestions for additional categories, or alternative opinions for how things should have gone in the existing categories, then by all means, leave a comment!

(Also, if you want to suggest a cool nickname for the Canadian Atheist awards, similar to the “Oscar”s, “Grammy”s, or “Tony”s, please do! I’m going to put my foot down, though, and say we are not calling them the “Indi”s. Maybe something like the “Sagan”s! But I’d prefer a Canadian name.)

I originally wanted to do all the awards in a single post, but it got a little long. Also, I thought it would be fun to take a page from real awards shows and announce the nominees first… then have a delay to create some buzz… then give the awards later.

So in this post I’ll list the categories and nominees. Next week, I will do a post a day – one for each category – where I describe each of the nominees in detail, explaining why I think they deserve the nomination, and announce the winner.

The categories for the 2018 Canadian Atheist awards are:

  • Art, entertainment, or culture story of the year

    This award goes to any work of art, entertainment, or culture – film, music, that stood out to Canadian atheists in 2017. If I can name a single artist responsible for the work, I will.

  • Story of the year

    This award goes to the 2017 story that had the biggest impact on Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism, and freethought. Because the award goes to an abstract story, there won’t be any specific recipients.

  • Person of the year

    This award goes to the person who had greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought in 2017. The recipient won’t necessarily be Canadian, or atheist, but being Canadian and atheist will certainly help their chances.

Each category will have up to six nominees – so one winner, five runners-up in the end. Though, of course, if I can’t think of six nominees, the category will have less. Obviously. When the award is finally announced, I’ll probably also list a few honourable mentions who couldn’t make the cut for one reason or another.

So with no further ado, here are the nominees in each category.

[2018 Canadian Atheist Awards]

Art, entertainment, or culture story of the year

This award goes to any work of art, entertainment, or culture – film, music, literature, etc. – that stood out to Canadian atheists in 2017. If I can name a single artist responsible for the work, I will.

And the nominees, listed in alphabetical order by artist’s name, are…

Story of the year

This award is for the news or cultural story that captured the most interest or had the most impact among Canadian atheists in 2017. Because the award goes to an abstract story, there won’t be any specific recipients. Where practical, I’ve included a link related to the particular story to help remind of some of the context.

And the nominees, listed alphabetically by title, are…

  • Bill to repeal Canada’s blasphemy law

    In keeping with an election promise to clean up the Criminal Code, the Justice Minister tabled Bill C-51, an omnibus bill which – among other things – included a repeal of Canada’s blasphemy law (and a few other laws related to religion and superstition). However, the bill encountered opposition and still hasn’t been passed.

  • M-103

    A non-binding motion condemning islamophobia – which had already been unanimously agreed to only six weeks before – became the trigger for protests, political infighting, gatherings of far-right and openly neo-Nazi groups, and tens of thousands of emails to MP Iqra Khalid, many threatening violence. The motion was also a major issue in the Conservative Party of Canada leadership elections.

  • Peel District School Board islamophobic protests

    After the Peel District School Board floated a silly and anti-secular idea of how to handle Muslim student prayers, the district became the focal point for a series of outlandish protest actions from islamophobic groups. In addition to some rather unpleasant demonstrations and marches in the streets, there were also several incidents in the Board meetings themselves that required police intervention.

  • Québec Bill 62

    In an astoundingly misguided move to silence the grumbling of anti-Muslim bigots in the province, the Québec Liberals passed a bill that bans face coverings for those giving or receiving public services. The bill was so unclear, and the Justice Minister’s “clarifications” so contradictory, that no one understands what is really banned and what isn’t, but there were protests and outrage nevertheless, and legal challenges already underway.

  • Québec City mosque shooting

    A white, francophone, political science student hopped up on far-right memes, anti-immigrant, anti-feminist, and anti-Muslim rhetoric walked into a mosque and shot at the worshippers in the back as they were bent over praying, killing six and wounding nineteen. That was just the beginning of the tragedy and struggles the mosque attendees would face, including months of threats and even arson attacks; bigots would even thwart attempts to bury the victims.

  • Trinity Western University law school case

    Private evangelical school Trinity Western University claims religious freedom to impose a homophobic “community covenant” on its students, but also wants law societies across Canada to give them automatic accreditation, even though that would fly in the face of the societies’ freedom to not support homophobia. The case, which may be the most important for religious freedom in Canada in decades, was heard at the Supreme Court in December, and has already triggered some unprecedented actions.

Person of the year

This award goes to the person who had greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought in 2017. The recipient won’t necessarily be Canadian, or atheist, but being Canadian and atheist will certainly help their chances.

And the nominees, listed alphabetically, are…

  • Joyce Arthur, for her efforts at ending the flawed notion that refusing to provide legal health care services is the same as conscientious objection in a military context.
  • Evan Balgord, for his outstanding journalistic work reporting on the far right in Canada.
  • Daphne Bramham, for her tireless coverage of the messy Bountiful polygamy cases involving Winston Blackmore.
  • Eiynah, for her courage and perseverance in standing up to anti-Muslim bigots in the skeptical and atheist movement.
  • Beverley McLachlin, for her years of service as a champion of the humanist values of reason and compassion in Canadian justice.
  • Julie Payette, for her bold embrace of science and reason, making herself a role model for young Canadians to look up to.

Stay tuned for the winners!

I will announce the winners with a post for each category, one a day, starting .

In the meantime, feel free to speculate about who will win! And please do suggest other deserving nominees in each category.

Also, I’d love suggestions for other categories. They won’t be categories this year, but I may make them official categories next year! I’m only looking for positive categories – so nothing like “Asshole of the Year”. But funny or outright silly categories are certainly welcome.

So take this time to get your tuxes and gowns ready for the red carpet. And congratulations to all the nominees!

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