This Week in Religion 2018-02-18

by | February 18, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

“The fruits of the Liberals’ anti-Islamophobia motion, M-103, that called for study and recommendation on religious discrimination in Canada, were revealed Feb. 1. The committee overseeing the issue released their report “Taking Action Against Systemic Racism and Religious Discrimination Including Islamophobia.”

The report has just two recommendations that specifically focus on Islamophobia. The first echoes the report title saying the government should “actively condemn systemic racism and religious discrimination including Islamophobia.”

The second is more substantive suggesting that Jan 29 “be designated as a National Day of Remembrance and Action on Islamophobia, and other forms of religious discrimination.””


“A sea change in the religious landscape of Canada is underway. Led by millennials, Canada is increasingly moving towards a secular culture. “Spiritual but not religious” has become our new normal.

A 2015 Angus Reid poll found 39 per cent of Canadians identify as “spiritual but not religious.” Another 27 per cent identify as “neither religious nor spiritual;” 24 per cent as “religious and spiritual;” and 10 per cent as “religious but not spiritual.”

What sparked this dramatic change in beliefs and self-identification? And what does it mean for the future of Canadian society?”


“Former B.C. Premier Ujjal Dosanjh believes one thing has remained constant since his time in office as the first Indian-Canadian to govern a province.

“Trade still doesn’t amount to much,” he said. “Since the time I was premier, prime ministers and premiers have been going over and yet trade just hasn’t grown as much as it could.”

Two-way trade between Canada and India amounts to only about $8 billion annually — a number Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hopes to improve with an official visit that begins this weekend. He has multiple meetings planned with Indian CEOs and business leaders over the coming days.”


“A Dartmouth, N.S. woman says her religious rights are being violated because her request to have a fully halal menu at her wedding venue is being denied.

Susan Ashley and her fiance Mohammed are planning on a June, 2020, wedding. For their special day, they need a space for 200 guests that includes two adjoining rooms, which is why they chose the Delta Hotel in Dartmouth.

But they say their request that the hotel’s chefs prepare a full halal meal in accordance with their faith is being denied.”


“It’s not politically correct to discuss or even acknowledge religion these days… but I haven’t been shut down yet for speaking my mind, so let’s give it a shot.

According to Statistics Canada, the population numbers relating to religious affiliation across the country are mirrored in Manitoba. Eighty-three per cent of Canadians voluntarily claim to be associated with an organized religion. The percentage in Manitoba is exactly the same. That means that only 17 per cent of our population does not connect with any of the various religious organizations.

I want to point out that I find these facts interesting, not that I think anyone is more right than anyone else. That viewpoint is the crux of most religious conflicts, and we don’t need any more of those.”


“OTTAWA — Jagmeet Singh issued a call-to-arms against inequality as he sought to put his stamp on the federal NDP on Saturday by taking aim at the Trudeau government and foreign web giants while offering a full-fledged defence of taxes and public services.

He delivered the battle cry at the NDP’s national convention and, as Singh’s first major address to the party since he became leader in October, aimed to motivate delegates as they looked to turn the page on the last election and prepare for the next.

“The time for timid is over,” Singh said. “Too many people have felt stuck for too long. People are counting on us. We can’t let them down. We need to win.””


“This year’s Canada Summer Jobs application has taken a national spotlight due to some new rhetoric around human rights, specifically women’s reproductive rights and the rights of gender-diverse and transgender Canadians.

The Government received complaints from several conservative and religious platforms, stating the CSJ 2018 application infringes on a Canadian’s religious and moral beliefs.”


“Since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s last move to affirm abortion rights in Canada — by inoculating the Canada Summer Jobs program against inadvertently funding anti-abortion or anti-LGTBQ activities and propaganda — the often quiet, and largely ignored corners of anti-abortion activism in the country have begun to rumble and demand our attention.

A Catholic bishop in London is boycotting the federal funding program, which gives groups money to hire students for summer jobs. A group of Christian leaders held a press conference and called the Liberal government’s new requirements “communistic.” A Toronto anti-abortion group filed a lawsuit claiming the new rules infringe upon the Charter rights to freedom of conscience and religion. And now there’s a petition in the House of Commons to undo the changes.

The pushback is unlikely to sway the prime minister, who has been accused of ignoring the rights of the religious in Canada (many religious Canadians, it should be noted, are pro-choice).”


“A Dartmouth woman claims a local hotel is infringing on her freedom of religion by not offering appropriate food for her wedding reception.

Susan Ashley says the Delta Hotel in Dartmouth has denied her request to have halal food at the venue, something she says is needed for a traditional Muslim meal.

“It wouldn’t have been a big issue, and I honestly feel that it infringes on my human rights,” said Ashely. “I can’t say enough how upset I am.””


Scott Douglas Jacobsen founded In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal.

One thought on “This Week in Religion 2018-02-18

  1. Shawn the Humanist

    I think the Globe & Mail article about populism is making a mistake. It seems to rest its case on Trump supporters having differing opinions on the economy. It then infers that economics is not the issue. Just because they don’t agree on that issue, doesn’t mean economics isn’t a huge factor.

    If they had a safe, secure and well paying job they may be more distracted by luxury rather than commiserating over their fears. The nativist factor may not motivate them if they sense things are okay, reality aside. I think there is a reason prosperous regions are more liberal.

    I may be biased as I’ve long worried that increasing inequality might lead to mass turmoil any decade now. Probably since I learned about the French Revolution in history class.

    And yet, I do agree that you cannot ignore or dismiss those nativist concerns. They are part of the trouble, even if not the ultimate cause. And undoing that would take a lot of stability over a long time. So we need to attack that proximate issue now.


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