This Week in Canadian Religion 2018-07-01

by | July 1, 2018


By Scott Douglas Jacobsen

In 1982, Dominion Day officially slipped into history, when an almost empty parliament acknowledged a change that was already in common parlance: that the first of July is Canada Day.Yet Canada Day could benefit from a revival of our national holiday’s original civic purpose. Amid suggestions the national celebrations in Ottawa have come adrift—with Maclean’s own Paul Wells telling Canadians to stay home—why not reinvigorate Canada Day as a celebration of the Canadian union?

Dominion Day retains some historic resonance not just because of mere nostalgia, nor because of its alliterative quality, but because the Dominion for so long embodied the idea of Canadian union. The 1867 constitution speaks of a “Union” of the provinces—and “Dominion” was the name that embodied that union.

When the Fathers of Confederation met in London in 1866, there was literally no name or rank for the new Confederation. We might have been the Kingdom of Canada, or the United Provinces of Canada; both were given serious consideration. But in the end, the provinces formed “One Dominion under the Name of Canada.”

The suggestion of Dominion was all-Canadian, from Samuel Tilley of New Brunswick, inspired by a beautiful phrase in the Book of Psalms: “He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, and from the river unto the ends of the earth.”

Today, the physical achievements of Canadian unionism are our most obvious inheritance from the old Dominion—union from sea to sea to sea, from Cape Spear to Vancouver Island, to Ellesmere in the high Arctic. From the streamliner cars of transcontinental trains, to the polished steel letterboxes of the Canada Mail, to the sombre monuments of our wars, artifacts of the Dominion of Canada abound.”

“A statement from the Prime Minister Of Canada, Justin Trudeau.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on Canada Day:

Happy Canada Day! No matter where we are, today, as Canadians, we celebrate Canada and the people who have built the country we love.

We’re 37 million – strong in our differences, proud of our diversity, and united by our dreams. From one generation to the next, Canadians have brought our country’s promise to life, with hard work, bold vision, and determination.

They’ve grown the strong middle class at the heart of our success – and today, Canada’s workers are the backbone of our country. “Canada’s workers build the roads and bridges that get us to work on time and back home again. They put food on the table for families from coast to coast to coast. Some are young people starting their career, or newcomers bringing fresh talent to the workforce.”


“OTTAWA — An Ontario business says it will take the Liberal government to court over the conditions attached to the federal Canada Summer Jobs program, arguing they violate freedom of speech.

Tamara Jansen, spokeswoman for a newly formed group called Free To Do Business Canada, says a number of other companies are also expected to challenge the government’s controversial attestation requirement.

She said Sarnia Concrete Products Ltd., was the first to challenge the requirement in Federal Court as part of her initiative.

Organizations that applied for funding under the program were required to attest that both the job and the organization’s core mandate respect individual human rights, including reproductive rights and the values underlying the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The core mandate means the primary activities undertaken by the organization.””


“Two former leaders of a fundamentalist religious sect in Canada were sentenced this week to house arrest and probation following their nearly unprecedented convictions on polygamy charges, according to multiple news outlets.

Between them, the men had 29 wives and more than 160 children, France’s AFP reports.

Winston Blackmore and James Oler were each found guilty in British Columbia last July of one count of polygamy, according to the Associated Press. Blackmore has 149 kids, the Canadian Press reports.

On Tuesday Blackmore, 61, was sentenced to a six-month conditional sentence served under house arrest and then a year of probation, the Canadian Press reports. Oler, 54, was ordered to serve a three-months conditional sentence, also under house arrest, followed by a year-long probation.”


“The portion of Quebec’s religious neutrality law that dictates when Quebecers must leave their faces uncovered in order to receive public services has been suspended for a second time, only days before it was slated to go into effect.

Quebec Superior Court Justice Marc-André Blanchard issued the ruling Thursday, handing another victory to civil liberties groups that argue the law discriminates against Muslim women who wear niqab s or burkas.

Blanchard said Section 10, which pertains to face coverings, appears to be “a violation” of the Canadian and Quebec charters, which “provide for freedom of conscience and religion.””


“Winston Blackmore and James Oler were sentenced to six and three months of house arrest, respectively, the lawyer said. They were convicted on one count of polygamy each last July.

Both men are former bishops of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, a breakaway Mormon sect within Bountiful, a religious community in southeastern British Columbia.

Blackmore’s defense lawyer, Blair Suffredine, said he thought the sentence was “a little higher” than he had hoped it would be but “not dramatically unreasonable.”

Suffredine said that Justice Sherry Anne Donegan “found it aggravating” that Blackmore continued practicing polygamy after 2011, when the British Columbia Supreme Court decided to uphold Canada’s laws prohibiting polygamy.

Suffredine said his client found himself in a dilemma between abandoning his large family and continuing to break the law.

Oler was not represented by a lawyer.”


Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the Founder of In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal and In-Sight Publishing. He authored/co-authored some e-books, free or low-cost. If you want to contact Scott:

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