Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

[A colourized world map, showing results of the 2018 Freedom-of-information rating scores.]

As depressing as it is to be in the middle of the pack, it’s doubly depressing once you realize we were once the gold standard.

  • [] ‘It Just Really Sucks. It Kills Me’: Transgender Families Unnerved by School Board Race

    It bears repeating that as important as it is to keep tabs on the religious right’s efforts to get into power at the provincial and federal level, it’s at the municipal level and below – such as school board elections – where they are the most threat. You may think that they have less power there, and thus can do less damage, but there are two ways that thinking is fallacious. First, there’s the issue of death by a thousand cuts: small though their power may be at the lower levels of government, it’s still power, and they still do damage, and there are a lot of them. They can do a lot of damage in aggregate. The second issue is that politicians at higher levels of government take their cues from the lower levels. For example, a provincial premier is going to be less moved by the concerns of people who show up during election season then vanish until the next election, and more likely to notice the people who actively take part continuously in the low-level issues and politicking of things like municipal councils and school boards.

  • [] An Ad Running in Saskatchewan Says Residential School Trauma Is a Myth, & I’m Pretty Sure No One’s Noticed, Nevermind Concerned?

    Unbelievable. I am continually amazed by racism, and the warped worldviews it lurks in.

  • [] Quebec’s election frontrunners are frozen in climate denialism

    With so much coverage focusing on the parties’ positions on immigration and systemic racism, this is really getting lost in the noise.

  • [] ‘Monsters, demons’ and naked kidnappers: More details emerge in bizarre Alberta incident

    The publication ban has made getting more details on this case difficult, but at last we’re hearing more about this truly bizarre story from last year. Turns out they weren’t just crazy, naked, apocalyptic, Jehovah’s Witnesses… they were crazy, naked, apocalyptic, Jehovah’s Witnesses who were trippin’ balls.

  • [] “The power of logic: How math can help you win your next argument”(Audio: 23:34)

    Seeing the title, I thought this was going to be a silly argument about how cold, logical, reason is better than “emotional” debate… but I was quite surprised. There is actually a very interesting point about debate and argumentation here, and ideas for how we could do them better.

  • [] Pope acknowledges abuse scandals have outraged, driven people away

    Oh, I bet you thought – on reading that headline – that Pope Francis was finally getting a very, very belated awakening of self-awareness. I bet you thought: “Well, it’s about fucking time, Frankie, but it’s good that you finally joined us in reality.” Oh, ye of little faith – and I mean that both literally and affectionately: this may come as no surprise, given our past experience with religious leadership… but Pope Francis isn’t quite as woke as The Globe and Mail would have us believe. Just dig a little deeper in the article, and you find: And Francis said it’s unfair to judge the cover-up with today’s standards in the same way it’s unfair to judge the forced conversion of indigenous peoples during the colonial era or even the use of the death penalty….

  • [] A Guide To Faith Goldy And How (Not) To Report On Her

    Holy crap, this is an incredible piece. Obviously the focus is on Goldy, who is really just a fringe loony whose bark far exceeds her bite, and Canadaland’s bread-and-butter is media criticism, so this is primarily about how media should cover people like Goldy. But there is so much in there for the average person – both in terms of information about who Faith Goldy really is, and in terms of how to understand the relationship between the media and people like her.

  • [] Ontario Student Walkout Proves It’s Time To Lower The Voting Age

    I’ve said many times on this blog that – in Canada at least – the kids are doing okay. Just about any time there is a survey on Canadian attitudes or beliefs, the younger demographics put the older demographics to shame. And whenever there’s any kind of youth activism in the news, the kids are always on the right side; the walkout mentioned in this item is no exception. Even if all that weren’t true, giving younger people the right to vote makes a lot of sense from a rational perspective. In fact, it’s hard to come up with a sensible argument against it. Kids are maturing faster and younger than they ever have, and 16 and 17 year-olds today not only have access to far more information than their peers of previous generations, they read it; politically-charged comedians like John Stewart and John Oliver are their jam. The government’s decisions impact them, too; they deserve the right to vote.

  • [] ‘A lot of hate and bigotry around’: Church terminates sign contract over refusal to post gay-positive message

    What is it with billboard companies in Canada being run by Christians?

  • [] A matter of faith: Families explain why they support religious schools

    For clarity, the schools they’re talking about in this piece are privately-funded religious schools; in Ontario, religious schools receive zero public funds (except the public Catholic system, obviously). So there’s no basis for objecting to these schools or the decision to send their children there on the grounds of taking any public money; and if parents want to pay for these special schools, that’s their choice. However, I think it’s important to hear – right from the horse’s mouth – why some of these parents are choosing these private religious schools. The reasons are about as dumb as you’d expect.

  • [] B.C. pastors launch campaign against SOGI 1 2 3

    When religious leaders are naming themselves as bigots, it’s hard to know what to do sometimes. We’re supposed to be the ones pointing out what assholes they are; when they step forward and boldly advocate their own intolerance, it’s disorienting – on the face of it they’re doing our jobs for us, but at the same time, you can’t help but wonder if they’re actually playing four-dimensional chess on you and there’s some angle you’re missing… because people can’t be that bold-facedly stupid, right? You’re just left kinda standing there with a bemused expression, going: “Okaaaaaay…?”

  • [] Canada Drops 6 Spots To 55th In Global Freedom-Of-Information Rankings

    On the one hand, I want to say: don’t panic. Our decline wasn’t because of anything we did, but rather because other countries have improved while we haven’t significantly updated our access to information laws since the 80s. On the other hand, even before we dropped six spots we were still just #49 – for fuck’s sake, Russia is #43! That’s something we should really be working on; it should be much easier to get information out of our government.

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