Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .
 “How a sexual assault victim’s lawsuit set a precedent that alarmed the Catholic Church”(Audio: 30:21)
Wow, there is a lot in this interview/discussion worth listening to. MacLeod and Talach are brutally frank throughout. Talach in particular is devastating in his criticisms of the Catholic Church… and he knows what he’s talking about, too, as he points out how he’s been dealing with this shit under three different Popes. At one point he says flat-out that the Catholic Church never does the right thing, actually startling Enright.
 “40 Tonnes of Kibble” by Doug Bayne & Trudy Cooper (Oglaf)
I can’t fault Noah’s logic here. In fact, I wonder how the fable might have gone differently if God had left it up to humans which animals got on the Ark. Maybe today we’d have less mosquitoes and more unicorns?
 Nova Scotia Passes Presumed Consent Law For Organ Donation
This is really awesome. Nova Scotia is (I believe) the first place to switch to presumed consent not only in Canada, but all of North America. (Or at least it will be, after the long transition period.) I’ve written before about why presumed consent makes so much sense. The new regime in Nova Scotia won’t be perfect, because religious relatives could still step in and veto your desire to be an organ donor after you’re dead. But it’s still a huge improvement, and one we can hope other provinces will adopt as well.
 Crown wraps up closing arguments in British Columbia child bride case
James Oler is the lesser-known lackey of Winston Blackmore. This trial isn’t about polygamy, it’s about trafficking children for underage marriages. The trial is over now, but there hasn’t been a ruling yet (that I know of).
 New CRA guidance a step torward freer speech for charities
Canada’s charity laws are in dire need of an overhaul, and the BC Humanist Association has been on the government’s case to do something about them. The federal government has released some badly-needed new guidelines about charities, and this BCHA release give a good summary of why changes were needed, what the CRA got right, and where there might still be some problems.
 New gay rights coin divides LGBT community — and outrages social conservatives
For those who aren’t up on this story: the Canadian Mint is making a special loonie to commemorate the 1969 decriminalization of homosexuality. Naturally the anti-gay bigots are furious about this, but fuck them; they don’t matter. What’s more interesting is the opposition by LGBTQ advocates. They object to the narrative that the 1969 repeal really meant that things changed for gay Canadians, because the police still harassed, arrested, and charged gay people for decades after… they just did it using other laws, like laws against “indecency”. They make an interesting point that we shouldn’t blind ourselves to the messy reality in the name of celebrating “milestones” that had little practical meaning. More importantly, they have a lot of things to say that we really should listen to and learn about regarding the history of LGBTQ persecution in Canada.
 Quebec’s secularism bill violates Canada’s “equal rights amendment”
This is the official magazine of the Canadian Bar Association, so I think it’s safe to say that they know what they’re talking about when it comes to law. And in this article they point out that even if Legault tries to shield Bill 21 from a Charter challenge using the notwithstanding clause… it might not work. The notwithstanding clause only protects against Charter challenges using §2 (fundamental freedoms) and §7–15 (legal rights and equality rights). Not included in that is §28:
Notwithstanding anything in this Charter, the rights and freedoms referred to in it are guaranteed equally to male and female persons.If a case can be made that Québec’s religious accessories ban is targeting religious women particularly – more than religious men – then it could still be vulnerable to a Charter challenge under §28. And here’s the thing: Legault and his dumb-ass cronies have done a fabulous job, via their public statements, of making the case that despite its obfuscating language, Bill 21 is specifically about Islamic veils.
 God Exists for British Columbians, But Few Attend Religious Services
BC is an odd province, religiously, having a sound claim to being the least religious province in Canada, while simultaneously arguably being one of the most religious. It’s probably the case that while people are abandoning organized religion faster there than anywhere else in Canada, they’re not going directly to atheism from there, but rather embracing more personal or new-agey forms of faith. This latest data from ResearchCo seems to back that hypothesis up: while 61% say they believe God exists, only 3% attend church regularly, and only 2% consulted a religious official for advice.
 Defunding Catholic schools could help solve Ontario’s sex-ed woes
I haven’t seen this link made before, but it makes sense. Catholic schools have an important voice in deciding the province’s sex ed curriculum, because they are public schools – the province really does have to accommodate them so long as they’re under the province’s jurisdiction. But if the separate school system was abolished… well, then, the province wouldn’t be under any more obligation to accommodate them. The Catholic opinion would just become yet another voice in the cacophony of opinions, with no more weight than anyone else’s.
 Quebec Secularism Bill Won’t Change What We Wear
Okay, let’s set aside the infuriating mislabelling of the bill as a “secularism bill” (come on, HuffPo!), the people who the bill will have the most affect on the people who we hear from the most rarely. So here’s a chance to hear their voices… and they have some really interesting things to say! My favourite part has to be when the interviewer suggests to Bouchera Chelbi that she might just be wearing the hijab because she’s “submissive”, and Chelbi just laughs in her face.
 “Armoured Skeptic Falls for Notre Dame Conspiracy Theory” (Video: 7:23)
Oy, this is embarrassing, but this guy seems to represent what passes for “rational” in the Canadian atheist community. For those who don’t know, Greg Fluhrer is one of the more popular YouTube atheists (already bad news in and of itself) who goes by the moniker “Armoured Skeptic”. He’s also a Canadian. Unfortunately, he’s not a particularly good representative of Canada, or Canadian atheism. This week he went on Twitter and blamed the Notre-Dame fire on… ISIS. Yup. Real evidence-based, rational thinker that one is, eh? In his “defence”, he later back-pedalled, saying that when he said the fire was started by ISIS, he didn’t mean that the fire was started by ISIS. No, no, you were reading too much into his words by reading his actual words. He really meant it was started by… the (French, leftist-populist, anti-austerity) Yellow Vests! Of course, for those who care about evidence and reality, the real culprit appears to be a short circuit. But hey, that doesn’t necessarily mean Armoured Skeptic is a complete clueless asshat. After all, maybe the wiring was Muslim.
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Keep up the good work!
This is one atheist Canadian who appreciates you efforts.
Dennis Robinson (Fletcher)