Weekly Update: to

by | August 25, 2018

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[Photo of Joyce Arthur]

Even if I didn’t love Joyce Arthur as much as I do, I’d still use every excuse I could to show this sticker.

  • [] John Baird goes on Saudi TV to criticize Trudeau’s handling of dispute

    Wow. I thought Stephen Harper’s bullshit announcement that he’s going to India to “fix Trudeau’s mess” was the most craven political move of the last few weeks. Dunno how I missed this one.

  • [] Canadian Churches Are Being Converted Into Cabarets, Record Stores And More

    While it’s hardly news that church property across Canada is being sold off due to collapsing attendance, this article is so worth the read. Some of the new uses of the old churches are hilariously blasphemous, and the people using them know this, and love it.

  • [] Global Temperatures Will Be Abnormally High From 2018 To 2022: Study

    After just getting off of a terrible heat wave, this is not the kind of news I was hoping to read.

  • [] Several priests accused of sexual abuse in US received treatment in Canada

    The massive scandal following the grand jury report’s release in Pennsylvania has been headline news even in most mainstream media outlets, though arguably they haven’t done justice to the story. Until now, Canadian Atheist has been more or less silent about the story. There really wasn’t anything that needed to be said, other than, “again?” Now, though, it appears the scandal has Canadian connections. Not only were rapey priests “treated” here… some of them actually raped here, too.

  • [] “Joyce Arthur – The power of fake news and anti-choice lies”(Audio: 33:54)

    I’ve written repeatedly about the bullshit “controversy” about the Canada Summer Jobs attestation, and my primary source has always been Joyce Arthur. In this presentation, she describes the entire affair, how it started, how it got spun into a manufactured controversy by anti-choice activists, and how she struggled to dig through the lies to determine what was really going on (spoiler alert: a big load of nothing was really going on, but some people really needed a controversy, so, they made one up).

  • [] “What teachers think of Ontario‘s sex-ed repeal” (Video: 5:04)

    Ontario teachers have become somewhat of a political football in the sex ed curriculum affair. Numerous journalists, myself included, have repeated the claim that teachers overwhelming oppose the Ford government’s scrapping of the new curriculum. I think it’s important to hear it directly from the teachers, including their experience and explanations of why going back to the old curriculum is so dumb.

  • [] B.C. Appeal Court orders new trial for polygamous leader in child bride case

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Will this shit ever end? Let’s be clear about the point we’re at now. It is no longer in question that Oler and Blackmore married child brides. Child brides. Plural. What’s being “debated” at this point is who knew for sure that the underage girls being trafficked across international borders were intended for sex – not just who kinda figured it was likely, because they all knew, but who was criminally certain – and whether taking a child for marriage is only a crime if the whole exchange happens within Canada.

  • [] Saudi Arabia is spreading some crazy rumours about Canada

    It’s amazing to see what we look like through other people’s eyes… especially when those people are apparently looking at with their heads buried deep up their ass holes. So apparently, Canadian “political prisoners” include Jordan B. Peterson – who is currently “imprisoned” on a very lucrative international speaking tour – and Kevin J. Johnston, who is not in prison but who is actually mentioned elsewhere in this very week’s Update for losing a case about hate speech… against Muslims. So, yeah, those guys are totes on the same side as Saudi Arabia here.

  • [] Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer Defends Heckler Affiliated With Far-Right Anti-Immigrant Groups

    Okay, I admit I’m not sure about the exact timeline here, but it doesn’t shake out well for Scheer either way. In case you missed the news, Justin Trudeau was stumping in Québec, when he was heckled by a woman about… something something he should give Québec money back from immigrants something – you can’t really expect coherence from that kind of bigot. (Note: Trudeau was actually being heckled by several far-right people at the same time, but it was only his response to this woman that became news.) He tried to engage with her, but she was just shouting her slogan over and over, so he finally basically said (in French): Madam, your racism has no place here. (See translated transcript.) Now I don’t know whether Scheer’s comments came before or after it was later revealed that the woman actually is a straight-up racist – she’s a member of several far-right, anti-immigrant, and anti-Muslim groups (and separatist groups too!), and she went to the Trudeau event as part of a specifically organized plan to heckle him with their racist shit. But even if Scheer made his comments before this was public knowledge – which would only make him stupid, not outright complicit in supporting the woman’s racism – the fact still remains that his pearl-clutching “concerns” about Trudeau calling a Canadian “racist” are complete horse shit. First, he didn’t call her any names – never mind “racist”; he specifically criticized her behaviour. Second, he did so right after she literally used a racist slur to his fucking face! Even without knowing about the woman’s connections to hate groups, Scheer’s concern trolling is asinine. There was no way he was ever going to have a sensible conversation about immigration with that woman.

  • [] Farber: A win in the fight against defamatory hate speech

    This is a very cool ruling, and Mohamad Fakih really does deserve credit for having the guts to fight the case. Canadian hate speech laws have always protected groups against racist attacks (once they rise to a certain level of nastiness, and so on – it takes a lot for something to rise to the level of hate speech), but until now there has not been any real jurisprudence regarding racist attacks against individuals. Individuals have always been able to do something about threats, slander, and libel, but you could scream the n-word at someone all day and they couldn’t do anything about it. Or you could make blog posts or videos – as Johnston and Bannerjee did – bad-mouthing them with all manner of racist names and claims, and the victims couldn’t do anything. (It’s the same idea as what Penn & Teller did with Bullshit!; they couldn’t call people “frauds” or “liars” without inviting lawsuits… but they could call them “asshole” all day without fear.) This ruling could make it much easier for victims of personally-targeted hate attacks to fight back, because the standards for defamation are much less stringent than for hate speech. It’s still okay to call people “asshole”. But it may no longer be okay to imply that someone is a rapist or a terrorist because they’re Muslim.

  • [] Ontario launches site for tattling on sex-ed teachers bucking Ford-ordered curriculum

    I mean, on the one hand, I perfectly understand why the Ford government is doing this. Teachers have been more or less universally vocal that going back to the old curriculum is stupid. And even ignoring ideological concerns, most teachers simply don’t have the materials from the old curriculum anymore – they probably couldn’t teach the old curriculum even if they wanted to.

  • [] Identity politics resurface as Quebec election gets underway

    I can almost feel decent Québécois bracing themselves, gritting their teeth in anticipation of the shitty, nasty political campaign they’re going to be dealing with.

  • [] ‘It wasn’t me’: Disgraced Catholic priest denies touching boy in 1970s

    I mean… what do you even say to someone whose defence against a charge of raping a child is: “I’ve already told you all the children I raped, and that child wasn’t one of them.” You might even be tempted to believe him… but read a little further, and he straight up admits he can’t really remember all the kids he ra― I mean, taught.

  • [] Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for woman activist, rights group says

    To be clear, the activists facing the death sentence now do not include Samar Badawi – the activist who triggered the diplomatic “spat” between Canada and the Kingdom. Canada, to its credit, has not backed down from standing up for Badawi, and has now spoke up in defence of Israa al-Ghomgham and the others.

  • [] Globe editorial: Canada should not be so alone in criticizing Saudi Arabia

    This editorial is probably intended to make up for the extremely shitty opinion piece they hosted last week. Granted, they couldn’t possibly manage to stand up for decent principles without also closing with a cheap shot against the Liberals (remember, the deal they mention was actually set up by the Harper government). But, sadly, it is The Globe and Mail after all: low bar.

  • [] Do churches pay property taxes in BC?

    It looks like the BCHA is doing a series where they really dig into the nitty-gritty of which religious properties pay property taxes in BC, and who exactly is giving them breaks. Unsurprisingly, it’s a lot more complicated than you’d think. But some of the revelations are intriguing. Applying pressure at the provincial or federal level is daunting… but it’s not all that hard to apply pressure are local levels, and it turns out that may be where some of the tax breaks are coming from.

  • [] On the unpopularity of “populism” in Quebec

    Another item this week is a CBC piece warning about the coming nastiness in the Québec election. This piece, rather than focusing on what the parties are going to do, focuses instead on how the average Québécois feels about it… and it turns out that most are pretty fed up with the political nastiness.

  • [] The Court of Law v. The Laws of Climate

    This is a fascinating piece about the collision between law and activism, and particularly climate activism. I’m not sure I agree with some of its points – I don’t agree that the necessity defence makes any sense for anti-pipeline activists, for example – but the article does make a great case that the scales of justice are not exactly balanced here.

  • [] Every Ontario ministry now banned from talking about climate change

    Oh, for fuck’s sake. Of all the stupid ideas the Ford government could have picked up from the Harper administration, I would have assumed muzzling scientists was just too stupid to be among them. Now, the Ford government has denied that it that it ordered this policy, but given Ford’s dodgy relationship with reality and truth, there are a lot of reasons to doubt the denial. First, information about these letters came from multiple credible sources. And Ford’s environment minister Rod Philips has straight up admitted the letters are real, and apologized for them. The most charitable guess I’m going to allow them is that this was a bureaucratic fuck-up where one hand didn’t know what the other was doing, and some eager-but-none-too-bright asshole thought this would make the boss happy.

  • [] Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Is Coming To Canada And Some Doctors Aren’t Thrilled

    This might surprise you to hear, but I’m actually kind of stoked about this. Goop’s best and brightest critics are all Canadian… this is less like a manipulative huckster rolling into a vulnerable, exploitable hamlet of suckers, and more like the unwary village idiot wandering into the dragon’s maw. Hell, I’m half-inclined to start a crowdfunding campaign to buy tickets for Timothy Caulfield and Jen Gunter… and if it brings in enough, I’d send the whole Left at the Valley team too as well!

  • [] Federal Conservatives To Weigh In On Whether To Reopen Abortion Debate

    No, this item is not a Beaverton article. Yes, it is 2018. There’s a reason the Conservatives dropped the “progressive” from their name, it seems. You gotta admire the Orwellian sleight of hand that comes with saying you want to reopen the abortion debate because you’re the “party of choice”.

  • [] Children’s books are adding to science’s gender problem

    I’ve actually noticed this trend myself. Not so much in picture books – I don’t get to see many of them – but I am surprised that so much even very recent media targeted at children just looks so… archaic… in its depictions and sensibilities. Girls are this way and boys are that way, girls do this kind of thing and boys do that kind of thing… I’m no expert on children’s education or media, but shouldn’t we be past all that essentialist crap in 2018?

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