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Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Former chiropractor ordered to pay $100K related to anti-vaccine posts

    I stopped following this story back in March, thinking I’d seen just about everything it had to offer. But it’s turned out to be a gift that just keeps on giving. So, quick summary: A few months back there was a flurry of activity by provincial quackery oversight bodies – including naturopathic, homeopathic, and chiropractic bodies – to crack down on more overt quackery peddled by their members. (It was triggered by a naturopath boasting publicly about feeding saliva from a rabid dog to a child because she thought the child was a werewolf. Yeah, really.) One of the people caught up in the crackdown was Dena Churchill, a chiropractor from Halifax who published a blog under the name “DrSexyMom” (yeah, really). What did Dena Churchill do that violated the standards of her profession (loose though they may be, given that her profession was chiropractor)? Pfft, what didn’t she do? She was a nutcase antivaxxer who peddled conspiracy theories about the government using water fluoridation for mind control, that bras give you cancer, and that you can cure all kinds of ailments by squirting hot coffee up your ass. I mean, seriously, if a chiropractic body can look at what you’re doing and say “that’s some incredible pseudoscientific bullshit you’re pushing there”, you really have to be pushing some incredible pseudoscientific bullshit. The Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors took the situation of one of their members pushing absurd, anti-scientific nonsense so seriously that they… well, they just asked her to remove the evidence from public view, then that would have been fine and all. But Churchill refused because… well, I mean, I think we’ve already covered that she’s fucking crazy. The College reluctantly decided to actually do an investigation and pursue charges of professional misconduct… and only then, after realizing that, holy shit, they College was actually going to do something about her flagrant abuse of her “medical” credentials, did Churchill finally shut down her practice and surrendered her licence. The statement she was forced to sign was fucking hilarious: she had to admit that she was – and I’m going to quote exactly here: professionally incompetent as a result of incompetence arising out of mental incapacity. Yeah, seriously: the Nova Scotia College of Chiropractors made her admit she was too stupid to be a chiropractor. Glorious. Okay, but her professional misconduct had been so blatant, and so public, that she couldn’t make it all go away by just giving up, saying “mea culpa”, and walking away – she still had to face professional misconduct charges. She agreed to a settlement on those, too, hoping to avoid what could have been massive fines. Didn’t work, though. Well, the fines were reduced, but she still has to pay $100k, because she was such a massive pain in the ass to the College, and such a huge embarrassment to the profession (yeah, I know; I laughed as I wrote that, too). Despite all this, she’s apparently still allowed to use the title “doctor”! So please, do remember to address her as “Doctor professionally incompetent as a result of incompetence arising out of mental incapacity”.

  • [] Health News In The Age Of Goop

    Apparently there is literally only a single full-time health reporter in all of Canada. That’s just one of the many amazing revelations that comes out of this interview. André Picard is a font of fascinating information, and – more importantly – insight about the way we talk about health care in Canada. (Another relevant Canadaland podcast this week: their Short Cuts included a segment about Québec’s religious accessories discussed by a Jewish man and Muslim woman. You can guess how that went, even without being told the title of the show was “Fuck You For This One, Québec”.)

  • [] Photo Shows Maxime Bernier Posing With Members of a Violent Anti-Immigrant Group at People’s Party Event

    Predictably, after taking pictures with guys wearing Northern Guard patched vests – one of whom is flashing the “white power” sign – Bernier shrugged and said the usual “I take pictures with lots of people; how am I supposed to know who they all are?” At this point, that shit just can’t fly anymore. They were literally wearing patches that explicitly identified them with a violent hate group. If this man doesn’t have the mental wherewithal to be able to keep track of major Canadian hate groups – and Northern Guard is one of the most militant of all the islamophobic hate groups, who have talked about doing armed “patrols” – then how can he possibly be fit to be PM? Someone should just walk right up to Bernier with a fucking KKK hood, and ask for a picture. Let’s see how innocently clueless Bernier is then.

  • [] [VIDÉO | PHOTOS] Le crucifix retiré du Salon bleu de l’Assemblée nationale

    The article text is in French, so apologies if you can’t read it. Just focus on the video at the top. What you’re watching is the removal – at long last – of that giant fucking crucifix that’s been hanging over the Québec legislature since the dawn of the Duplessis era. Credit where it’s due, after initially refusing to take down the crucifix and playing the tired, old gambit that “it’s not a religious symbol but rather a cultural one”, the hypocrisy became too much for the Legault government to bear. As the video shows, the removal wasn’t really that big a deal in the end.

  • [] Ottawa looking at Criminal Code reforms to deter ‘shameful’ conversion therapy

    Well, I’m impressed. After a decade of Harper, and now Ford, I’d gotten too used to Conservative governments – I’d forgotten what it’s like to have a government that can actually be reasoned with. Originally, when asked to do something about conversion therapy, the Trudeau government issued a disappointing statement passing the buck on the issue, claiming it wasn’t their jurisdiction. For that, they were rightly pilloried for their cowardice and laziness. Well… they listened. At least, it looks like they might be listening (there’s that cynicism again). It was probably embarrassing to not only have their bullshit thrown back in their face by everyone with even a modicum of understanding about how law works, but to also be shown up by municipalities, which managed to find ways to ban conversion therapy with even just the very limited powers they have. The Liberals are now making noises suggesting they will institute some kind of ban. This might be a good time to contact your MP, and press them on the issue.

  • [] How the conservative right hijacks religion

    A little backstory is necessary to really grasp the context here. A couple weeks ago, an article by a US senator titled “Democrats Need to Talk About Their Faith” made the rounds. I didn’t think there was anything interesting about it – the Senator is the typical God-bothered American who just happens to be a Democrat, and wants more people to think that isn’t weird. The tactical debate is also irrelevant to me, and arguably to Canada in general – our politicians haven’t really made pandering to the Jesus freaks part of the process of getting elected. But the article got people talking about why the Senator was so freaking wrong in his thesis: Democrats don’t need to talk more about faith, Republicans need to talk less about faith. Making faith a part of politics is the starting point for institutionalized discrimination – or to put it in the way many people put it: it only makes sense for a Democrat to talk about their faith if that Democrat happens to have the right faith. The advice won’t work for a Muslim Democrat, let alone an atheist one. Now we come to this piece, which puts a Canadian spin on the Senator’s point. It’s also a more nuanced spin, pointedly trying to avoid the stigma of “religion” by segueing to “spirituality”, and then watering it down even further to just “connection experience”. Not to poison the well, but for the sake of disclosure, I thought most of Sosteric’s points were drivel… but I’m curious to see what others think, because he did have some good points. Sosteric is right that we can’t simply pooh-pooh away the experience of spirituality, or the craving for it that people have, or the motivation to action that it creates. He’s also right that the conservative movement has very effectively hijacked religion for its political agneda. And he may also be right that the best way to understand the former and combat the latter is for more people to study religion… though probably not in the way he seems to be advocating. What do you think?

  • [] Canadian Anti-Hate Network to Publish Names of 250 Neo-Nazi Party Members in Canada

    Okay, this is indisputably the funniest story of the week. So, there is now a (new) neo-Nazi party in Canada: the Canadian Nationalist Party, whose head is named Travis and I swear I’m not making that up. They just became recognized as an official federal party by Elections Canada. But that’s not the funny part. When you register as an official party, you are required to present a list of (at least) 250 party members. Elections Canada then contacts those 250 people to confirm they support your party becoming an official party. Thing is… all of this is public information: your party’s application to Elections Canada is public information as is the list of the 250 people who vouched for it. Travis didn’t understand this when he started the process of creating his officially-recognized neo-Nazi party. Travis misread an Elections Canada rule about never releasing… voter… lists. But those who vouch for a party during its registration are not voting… they’re merely confirming that the party isn’t just a scam to get government funding by creating a fraudulent political party. Their names are supposed to be a matter of public record, because they’re the way we confirm that the political party we’re giving public funds to isn’t just a scheme, but an actual political party that represents the interests of a substantial group of people (at least 250 of ’em). So the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, beautiful souls that they are, called up Elections Canada… and asked for the list. And they got it. And they published it: the names and cities of 250 Canadian neo-Nazis. That deserves a slow clap of admiration. Oh, but it gets better! To quote the Canadian Anti-Hate Network: If any of members of the Canadian Nationalist Party want to avoid being named and facing the social consequences of supporting a neo-Nazi party, they can email Elections Canada at info@elections.ca to withdraw their support. They even link to the Elections Canada email address! 🤣 So the neo-Nazis have to decide whether to face the social consequences of their beliefs… or withdraw their support, which will mean the Canadian Nationalist Party won’t become an official party. And I haven’t even got to the best, and funniest, part! You see, Travis apparently promised his supporters that they’d be anonymous. Now he has to make some frantic calls and do some ’splainin’! I can’t wait to see how this plays out – I’ma be sittin’ back, munchin’ popcorn, just enjoying the show. Expect a lot of people to plead “I didn’t know they were Nazis!” (then you vouched for them, allowing them to get government funding, dishonestly… which is probably a crime), and lots of concerned hand-wringing from the “freeze peach” crowd.

  • [] Why Canadians need to wake up about populism

    Holy shit, this is a brilliant essay. Lots of people confuse populism with democracy – understandably because populists deliberately conflate the two as part of the strategy – and either can’t grasp or refuse to accept that the kind of authoritarian populism now sweeping the world, and Canada, isn’t new… that we already fought a war because of it. A world war. The second one. This piece explains what populism is, where Canadian populism came from, and – perhaps most importantly – where it’s likely to end up.

  • [] Anti-abortion film Unplanned is a disgusting piece of propaganda that may endanger the health of women

    Now this is a hell of a review. It also includes a pretty scathing criticism of the theatre companies that decided to show it.

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