Weekly Update: to

Here’s your Canadian Atheist Weekly Update for to .

  • [] Court orders Montreal religious group to provide kids’ names, citing schooling concerns

    This is shady as hell. Apparently a bunch of kids were just… invisible to the province – authorities had no idea they were being “educated” by the group. This could be a simple case of incompetence, but especially considering their tendency to turn girls into helpless, socially-isolated baby factories, this is something we really need to be keeping a close eye on.

  • [] Controversial conscience rights bill for Alberta physicians voted down

    The bill isn’t technically dead, but it’s practically dead. It just attracted too much attention for the UCP to waste any more political capital on it. This is a victory, but it’s a small one, and the anti-choice crowd will certainly be trying again.

  • [] New Brunswick uses notwithstanding clause in 2nd bid to pass vaccination bill

    Oy, this is a bit of a messy situation. On the one hand, I totally support the spirit of what Cardy is trying to do. He’s trying to get a bill passed that would say either your kid is vaccinated, or they don’t attend public school, and there’s no religious or philosophical exemptions. Which is great… but he’s had a hell of a time of it, understandably. His first attempt got bogged down when anti-vaxxers put on a hell of a show in public consultations, swaying MLAs with emotional stories and turning them off the testimony of experts. Given that, now that parliament’s starting up a new session, he’s understandably set on not being derailed by bullshit again. But invoking the notwithstanding clause? Eeeh… I’m really not comfortable with that. It’s also completely gratuitous at this point – there are no indications that there are even any reasonably fundamental-freedoms-based challenges to mandatory vaccination for public school students. Why invoke the nuclear option – one that will make the bill require renewal in five years’ time – without any evidence that it’s necessary? Why not just pass the bill without it, see if it gets struck down by a Charter challenge, and only then use §33? It really just seems like a stunt – I wouldn’t be surprised if the notwithstanding bit gets removed along the way as a faux “compromise” measure.

  • [] B.C. tables historic Indigenous rights bill in move to implement UN declaration

    This has been a hell of a week for British Columbia. I take my hat off, and salute thee, our westernmost province, for putting the rest of the country to shame. In addition to the change to legislature prayers (see the later item), they have really flipped the bird at the federal government with this measure. The feds, for all their pro-reconciliation rhetoric, have been hemming and hawing, and dragging their feet and making excuses for why implementing UNDRIP is just legally “impossible” in Canada… to which Horgan simply said: “… hold my beer.” Will this bring pressure to bear on the feds to do something about UNDRIP? I kinda doubt it. But still… congratulations British Columbia. You’re a credit to the federation. 👏

  • [] Majority support merging school systems in Ontario

    This is not new information. Indeed, this is one the lower estimates I’ve seen for support for amalgamation – I’ve seen some surveys go as high as 70%. Then again, in this overview, Abacus is giving a lot more weight to the “don’t know/don’t care” demographic than I usually see – if you ignore them, then yeah, it’s basically a 70–30 split in favour of amalgamation. Remarkably, the only demographic in favour of keeping separate schools is… Catholics. But even then they’re only 53% in favour! Interestingly, this is a very rare case where the older demographic has a more progressive view than the younger one. Abacus speculates that this is just because older Ontarians have seen many more years of bullshit caused by public Catholic schools.

  • [] The Politics of Faith: Does a leader’s personal religious practice hurt or help with voters? It depends

    I know what you’re probably thinking: “Another faithy survey by Angus Reid and Cardus? Yawn.” Okay, sure, but there’s actually some interesting results in here. I’ve heard a lot of speculation that Jagmeet Singh’s religion may have been the primary contributor – if not the actual cause – of his poor election showing. Turns out… maybe not! Turns out that religion may have been more of a liability for Scheer than Singh. Which, really, makes sense – Singh has never made his religion an issue in his job, while Scheer absolute has. Other than Québécois and old men, no one really seemed to find Singh’s religion all that much of a liability. It’s not really mentioned in the discussion, but religion was also a problem for… get this… Elizabeth May.

  • [] Prayers replaced by ‘prayers and reflections’ in BC Legislature

    Nice! It may seem like a small change, and perhaps not much of an “improvement” (rather than extending prayers to include “reflections”, wouldn’t it better to just get rid of prayers), but this is progress. This kind of slow evolution is how very conservative and slow to change bodies advance… so this is advancement. And the BCHA haven’t given up! They’re still keeping the heat on the Leg by continuing their analysis of the prayers (and, now, reflections as well).

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